Tech Tips – Securing Your Cell Phone or Tablet

It is easy for phones and tablets to fall into the wrong hands. While making sure your phone or tablet is on or near your person at all times is helpful, accidents do happen. If you have a cell phone or tablet you should think about protecting it in case it is lost or stolen. Fortunately, this is relatively easy and we will walk you through the process.


LockTip 1: Enable A Password

The easiest way to secure your smartphone or tablet is with a password. Most of these devices come with password protection. Here is how to use it on some of the more popular mobile operating systems. We will, instead, focus on the more popular mobile operating systems and how they’re password (or password-like) security works.




iPhone PasswordIt’s very easy to set a passcode on iOS, but it only consists of four digits. Fortunately, if you’re running iOS4 or higher, you can set a password instead.

To set your iOS password or passcode:

  1. Open the Settings application.
  2. From there, choose General and then choose Passcode Lock.
  3. Turn it on and enter your new password or passcode.

If you wish to only use the four digit code option, do not use one of the most common PINs.



Android SwipeAndroid’s additional security comes in the form of a swipe pattern.

  1. Go into your Android’s settings;
  2. choose Security, and then Change Unlock Pattern.
  3. Check Require Pattern and you’ll be able to enter a swipe pattern.

Making a swipe pattern is basically like connecting the dots. Don’t create an obvious shape. Coming up with something easy won’t do much to help, so figure out a complex swipe pattern you can remember. Once you’ve got it, you’ll be able to enter that pattern on your home screen to unlock your Android smartphone. Alternatively, if you’re running Android 2.2, you can opt for a standard PIN or password if you doubt the security of your swipe pattern.



Windows 7 Phone

Windows 7 PhoneIn Windows Phone 7 you’re able to set a lock screen password.

To do this:

  1. Flick left to go to your application list and press Settings.
  2. From there, press Lock & Wallpaper.
  3. Assuming this is your first time entering a password, turn on the Password option.
  4. Enter a new password twice.
  5. Do this and press Done to save your changes.




Data WipeTip 2: Wiping Data

Another precaution that you can take is to enable a data wipe utility on your phone or tablet. Should your device become lost or stolen, certain providers have a remote wipe capability. This means that you can go to your computer and wipe all the data from your stolen device. Essentially, you lose the device but your data is safe.



For iOS you will need a few things to successfully remote wipe your device. This requires that you enable “Find My iPhone.” Where do you find this setting?

  1. First, open the Settings app
  2. Then choose “iCloud” from your options.
  3. You will then see an option called “Find My iPhone.” Switch that to the “on” position
  4. Go to and log in with your AppleID that you use on your iPhone/iPad
  5. Click “Find My iPhone”
  6. A map will load that gives the general location of your phone
  7. Click the little blue “i” for more options
  8. One of the options is to remote wipe your phone!



For Android OS, the approach to remote wipe is a little more indirect. You’re better off adding remote wipe via the Mobile Defense app. It’s free in the Android Marketplace and you can wipe your Android phone from the Mobile Defense web site, much like with iCloud and Find My iPhone.


Windows 7 Phone

In Windows Phone 7 you can easily remote wipe your device with Outlook Web Access. If you have synced your phone with Microsoft Exchange, this is easy to do. Once in Outlook Web Access:

  1. Go to Options
  2. Mobile Devices
  3. Wipe All Data From Device

A dialog box will pop up to prevent you from accidently deleting your phone’s data. Select OK and that is it! This will also work with any phone synced up to an exchange account.


If you have questions, please contact the Service Desk.

Author: shsuservicedesk

The IT@Sam Service Desk is part of the Client Services group of the Division of Information Technology Services at Sam Houston State University.