How to Encrypt Your iPhone

a person holding an iPhone

Looking for a quick guide on how to encrypt your iPhone?

In today’s digital era, we practically do everything on our smartphones. We shop, hang out, and even do business transactions online. While this sounds convenient, lots of your personal data are at risk once your phone falls into the wrong hands.

Thankfully, encrypting your iPhone is now easy. You can even get it done in a minute. iPhone’s built-in encryption system is called Data Protection. And it can help protect the information stored on your phone against malicious individuals trying to access it.

Today, we’ll guide you through the process of protecting your phone data. We’ll cover some of the questions you may have about iPhone encryption. Plus, we’ll list down step-by-step instructions on how to do it. Here’s how to encrypt your iPhone. 

Let’s get started! 

1. What Does It Mean to Have Your Data Encrypted?

Before we move on to how to encrypt your iPhone, let’s discuss first what it entails. Encryption turns data into a seemingly random collection of characters. That way, it’s difficult for malicious individuals to access information on your iPhone.

iPhone’s built-in encryption system protects your data at all times. Hackers who are physically near you will have a hard time. The same goes for those who will attempt to access your iPhone data through a cellular network, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth connection. 

passcode

But keep in mind that unlocking your iPhone using a passcode or Face ID will decrypt the data. When a malicious individual gets a hold of your phone while it’s unlocked, they can access your information. So be wary of leaving your phone unlocked. 

2. Which Data Is Protected?

Once you’ve enabled your iPhone’s Data Protection, you can expect the system to encrypt the following type of information and activity:

locked device
  • Saved usernames and passwords
  • Wi-Fi internet settings and preferences
  • Web browsing history on Safari
  • Phone and iMessage history
  • Photos and videos
  • Health data 
  • Contacts, reminders, notes, and other Apple app data

Bear in mind, though, that Data Protection works only on local Apple data. Malicious individuals can still gain access to data stored on third-party apps. The same goes for the data you’ve synced to your iCloud account, unless the backup is encrypted, too. 

3. How Can You Encrypt Your iPhone?

You can enable iPhone’s built-in Data Protection with a simple lock-screen passcode. The process only takes a minute or two, so there’s no excuse for you not to do it. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, navigate your way to the Settings menu.
  2. Select Face ID & Passcode.
  3. Tap the Turn Passcode On option. 
how to encrypt your iPhone
  1. On the next screen, set a numerical or alphanumeric passcode. You can also choose the Custom Numeric Code option to create a longer numerical passcode. But Apple recommends picking the Custom Alphanumeric option. A long passcode with numbers and lower-case letters is more difficult to break.
  2. Lastly, return to the Face ID & Passcode screen. Scroll down to the bottom. You should see the phrase “Data protection is enabled.”

Once you’ve set the passcode, your iPhone will be encrypted every time you lock it. It’s best practice to change your passcode regularly. That way, you prevent unauthorized access by an individual who knew your passcode at one point. 

4. How Can You Improve iPhone’s Data Encryption?

Apple deserves credit for making data encryption a standard feature on iPhones. But despite that, you have to be aware of some security gaps you have to fill in. 

Again, iPhone’s data encryption protects information linked to first-party Apple apps and services. It doesn’t include data and activities associated with third-party apps.

VPN on iPhone

Here’s how to further improve the security of stored personal data on your iPhone:

  • Enable two-factor authentication on as many apps and accounts as possible.
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple apps and accounts.
  • Choose client-side encryption for emails, like Virtu.
  • Use third-party apps with end-to-end encryption.
  • Consider setting up a VPN on your iPhone to keep your web browsing secure.
  • Keep apps and the device itself up-to-date. 

5. Can You Encrypt Backup iPhone Data?

It’s good to have data on your iPhone safe. But don’t forget about your backup files. If you regularly back up on iCloud, encrypting data backup is automatic. Still, use a long passphrase to boost data protection.  And be sure to keep that passcode safe. 

iCloud backup

iTunes, on the other hand, doesn’t encrypt backups by default. You can activate it if you enable the “Encrypt backup” option on the Summary tab of your iPhone in iTunes. Keep the password safe. Restoring from backups is a rare event. But it can be too much of a hassle if you can’t remember the passcode to unlock the backup on iTunes.

This wraps up this quick guide on how to encrypt your iPhone. Hopefully, we’ve helped protect your data from unauthorized individuals and groups. For more iPhone-related guides, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Tell us what you need. We will do our best to create a quick and simple guide to make your iPhone experience flawless.

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