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Enable Activation Lock in iOS 7
iOS 7 includes a new feature called Activation Lock, which makes it almost impossible for anyone to use or sell your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch once it's gone missing or has been stolen.
It starts working when you turn on Find My iPhone in iOS 7 Settings > iCloud > Find my iPhone (see previous Gallery item). With Activation Lock, your Apple ID and password will be required before anyone can:
- Turn off Find My iPhone on your device
- Erase your device
- Reactivate and use your device
Activation Lock has been heralded by big city police departments (like the NYPD) as a potential deterrent to the increase in "Apple Picking" -- snatch and grab iPhone thefts in the United States.
Activation Lock keeps the data on your device secure, even if it is in the wrong hands. It also improved your chances of recovery dramatically. Even if you erase your iPhone remotely, Activation Lock prevents another user from reactivating it without your permission -- effectively destroying its resale value.
To take advantage of this new feature, simple keep Find My iPhone turned on (Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone), and remember your Apple ID and password. One word of caution: there's no way to override Activation Lock if you forget your password and are unable to reset it.
There's an Activation Lock overview and Frequently Asked Questions document in Apple Knowledgebase document ht5818. I also recommend that you read these tips on how to prevent Activation Lock from potentially bricking your iPhone.
Enable Auto-Lock and Passcode Lock
If you leave your iPad in a taxi or on an airplane, anyone can pick it up and look through your email, contacts and photos -- and that's probably the least of your worries. A simple way to avoid unnecessary data exposure is with a Passcode Lock. You can enable it in Settings > General > Passcode Lock. A Passcode Lock is useless if a thief grabs your iPad while it's awake.
I also recommend enabling Auto-Lock which locks your iPad after a defined period of inactivity. If you're super security-minded (or General David Patraeus) I recommend that you also disable the 4-digit "Simple Passcode" in lieu of something more complex. According to Agilebits, developer of the excellent 1Password, a four-digit passcode can be cracked in 20 minutes, while an eight character passcode comprised of lowercase letters and the spacebar will take 1,000 years to crack.
Purchase the AppleCare+ Protection Plan
If you didn't buy the AppleCare+ Protection Plan (APP) for your iPad or iPhone at the time of purchase, don't sweat it. You can purchase the Apple extended warranty -- which I highly recommend -- for up to 30 days after purchase. In addition to extending the technical support period from 90-days to two years, the new AppleCare+ package offers adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage (even if it was due to negligence), subject to a $79 service fee.
In the past, the old AppleCare (before they added the "+") didn't cover drops, shatters, or liquid submersions, but the new AppleCare+ does -- again, subject to a $79 deductible. Anyone's who's ever shattered their iPhone screen or baptized it in the toilet, sink or pool will agree that paying $79 is a lot better than the $269 Apple charges for an "out of warranty" service on an iPhone 5/5s/5c.
AppleCare+ must be purchased within 30 days of iPhone purchase and requires inspection of your iPhone and proof of purchase. You can no longer purchase AppleCare after an incident has occurred. So it's best to purchase AppleCare+ before you leave the store. If you buy an iPhone and AppleCare+ online, Apple will auto-enroll you so there's no additional work required to active your coverage.
If you're still on the fence, I recomment an article in Macworld by Jonathan Seff published on September 9, 2013 called Is AppleCare worth it?