Here’s a good question to ask yourself or anyone else who uses a smartphone. “What would happen if someone stole your phone?” Would you be worried? If not, good for you. That response is either because there’s nothing of value on the phone, or whatever is on the phone isn’t easily accessible, or whatever is on the phone is easily replaced onto another phone.
I’ve known a few friends who have lost their iPhones or had their iPhones stolen. In each case they felt bad, but didn’t worry because of iCloud. Thanks to some timely advice from yours truly, each of those iPhones had been backed up to iCloud a night or two before, and each was set to be erased if there were too many attempts to unlock the phone.
This may be something of a convoluted argument, but allow me to compare the disaster of losing an iPhone– highly mitigated by Apple’s security and backup system– to simply owning and using an Android smartphone. While you seldom hear of anything regarding malware on iPhone, it’s far more common on Android devices; yet people snap them up and continue to use them. It’s almost as if owners of Android smartphones don’t read the news or watch television news.
Last week I read an article from Liam Tung on the latest malware exploit for Android devices. In this case it was malware from applications in the Google Play Store (Android’s counterpart to the iPhone App Store; we can’t call it iTunes App Store anymore).
Despite using machine learning to spot bad apps, Google let 50 of them into the Play Store, allowing the rogue programs to rack up 4.2 million downloads between them… The apps were discovered by researchers at Check Point, who’ve dubbed the malware ExpensiveWall because one of the trojanized apps was called Lovely Wallpaper.
This is a story we’ve heard before. Malware on Android and despite the social engineering aspect of it (the user must give permission for the app to access specific functions) the dangers persist.
The malicious apps are a good reason to enable Google Play Protect on Android. All devices with Google Play installed have the feature. Users who don’t have it enabled may soon find themselves being prompted by apps they install from Google Play to do so.
Here’s the problem and why it relates to the aforementioned stolen or lost iPhones.
Users don’t pay attention or are not sufficiently curious enough to figure out how to implement all the security and privacy options that will help them avoid malware, and get back up and running on their smartphones when disaster strikes (stolen or lost or damaged).
Last month I bought a new iPad Pro. Seriously, with the Dock running on iOS 11, with Slide Over and Split View, we’re getting close to a Mac in usability and functionality. But what was more striking was how I could switch from one iPad to another.
My old iPad had been backed up to iCloud the night before. How do you get the new iPad Pro set up the same way? iCloud. I setup the iPad Pro using my iCloud account and went out to dinner. When I came back everything on the new iPad Pro mirrored what was on the old iPad. I had to enter a few passwords here and there and allow some permissions, but altogether it was a minute of extra effort.
You can do the same for a new iPhone or a new iPad, bought, lost, stolen, or damaged. No worries. Just make sure to use the iCloud backup system and your new device gets set up just like the old device.
Unfortunately, despite all kinds of backup routines, the Mac does not have an iCloud backup and restore option, and Time Machine is lame compared to a cloned backup. macOS Sierra and how we use our Macs is somewhat more complicated than iOS on iPhone and iPad, but Apple helps us avoid malware and catastrophic disasters, but we’re still required to make the right choices.