I've lost count of the number of horror stories that I've come across resulting from someone handing their iPad to a child. It seems that while children love iPads, they can also cause untold damage, including dropping the tablet onto a hard surface or down a toilet, deleting your apps and data, spending thousands of dollars on in-app purchases on "gold coins" and "smurfberries", and even using your precious tablet as a makeshift toboggan (yes, it has happened).
While we tech and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) types put elaborate systems in place to prevent hackers from infiltrating our digital kingdoms, it seems that we give little thought — or preparation — to what an innocent-looking toddler can do to your hardware, software, and data.
But what can you do to protect your digital empire against a child? Well, quite a lot, to be honest. Here's a rundown of what you can do to lock down your iPad, and prevent sticky fingers from causing you headaches.
Note that this advice applies to iPads and iPhones running iOS 6, and the iPad mini.
Get a robust case
Never hand an iPad to a child unless it is in a robust case (or you don't mind footing the bill for a new one). While most cases only protect a little more than half of the device — most leave the screen totally vulnerable — it is still a lot better than nothing.
I recommend something chunky and robust, such as the G-Form Xtreme. The case for the iPad is pricey, at $79, but it does offer excellent protection for the device.
Back up your data
Make sure your iPad is backed up, either synced with iTunes on a PC or Mac, or to iCloud.
Take no chances with your data.
Apple has included a lot of cool features to help you lock down iOS from snoopers and prying eyes, and many of these settings will also help protect your iPad from a child.
These tools are hidden away in Settings > General > Restrictions. The first thing you need to do on enabling restrictions is to set a passcode, which can be different from the PIN code you use to access your iPad.
As a minimum, I recommend switching off Safari, and the ability to install and delete apps (deleting apps can also delete any associated data). I also suggest you switch off in-app purchasing, and set Require Password to "Immediately".
You can also set age restrictions on things such as movies and music if you want.