I’m not much of a one for names or flash, but it was love at first touch. It made life and work and travelling easy.
After Matt’s bike was stolen in Portugal (another tough lesson) we were being more vigilant than normal when we arrived in Seville.
It happened very quickly. One second the Ipad was there, the next it was gone. All the photos and the data and the Ipad itself, whoosh. Gone. Now came the first lesson.
We may ooh and aah at how clever Apple is to allow us to remotely disable an Ipad and track its location when stolen. But a bogstandard thief knows that as soon as the Ipad connects to the internet (whether intentionally or just by picking up a free (or otherwise) signal) its location will be given away. Unless you have 4G, in which case the location is viewable simply if it’s on.
What you do, we now know, if you are a thief, is switch it off quickly, attach it to a computer to restore it back to zero ie wipe the data, and bobs your uncle, a fresh new Ipad to sell on. In Seville that’s often at the market beside the stadium on a Sunday so we’re told. Easy.
If the Ipad has iOS7 (as opposed to 6 or less), the thief has more of a problem. The data can be wiped, but the Ipad won’t turn back on without entering the Apple ID and password. So the Ipad is basically defunct, unless you’ve put a sticker on the back with the Apple password on it. You still lose your Ipad and your data, but the Ipad is harder to resell.
Generally, and I hope this is right, if your Ipad is nicked and you have a password, your data is relatively safe. After several attempts with a wrong password, the Ipad locks for increasing numbers of minutes. Unless your code is something like 0001, and the thief goes systematically through the possible combinations, it would take an awfully loong time with lockdowns etc before they hit the jackpot.
The owner can elect – remotely – to have the data erased immediately the Ipad connects to the internet (it’s very sad pressing the erase button on all those photos, but better safe than sorry). Or the Ipad’s location can be shown, it can be made to play a little tune, or show a nice message like “please go to the police station”. You can even add a contact phone number.
Now all of that is very sweet in the kind world of honest finder picking up an Ipad and wondering who to give it back to. But for thieves on the Plaza Espagna, and elsewhere, well they don’t really give a – about either your data or the Ipad’s return.
In our case, a typical one as we now know, the computer stayed off. It will no doubt be making its way down to the second hand market, data erased.
So what else could we have done as regards the security of the Ipad, or what did we do right? All easy to say in retrospect. I am by no means a computer expert, in fact I am fairly, really, rubbish.
We could have upgraded the operating system to iOS7 (free for older Ipads, already on there for newer ones). iOS7 has been out for about 4 weeks. It’s easy to upgrade. Some free space is needed on the Ipad, just for the download, which is why I had put off doing it (too many photos using up memory). Again in retrospect I could have used icloud for the photos, even temporarily, see below, and installed iOS7.
We had a password. And it was set to lock after the shortest possible time. This can be a pain when working and the Ipad keeps switching off through inactivity, but 10 or 20 minutes is a whole lot longer for a thief to access your data (indefinitely access it, if they use the Ipad enough to avoid an inactivity lock, or even just play a little slideshow of your stolen photos).
Some advocate not using a password. Because then the thief can easily access the internet, and that’s what triggers the location device and the alarm/erase etc (whatever you have remotely asked it to do). Depends if you value the data more than the Ipad or the Ipad more than the data.
No denying that the Ipad was a big expense, but I valued my data more – because I made another pre-theft mistake. There were two fantastic, memorable months worth of photos on the Ipad from the beginning our trip. Thank heavens for the blog which has allowed us to keep some of them (and there are a few photos on Neil’s camera). There was a whole heap of stuff for work. There were notes about loads of things which I’ll never remember again. And emails sit open for anyone to see by clicking on the mail button.
We do back up. But our last back up was at the house before we left on our trip. In fact a couple of weeks before we left because we were pretty busy and backing up didn’t but maybe should have been more of a priority.
And there’s the cloud. I should have used it. There were two reasons I didn’t. Firstly, I was unsure about data security and who might be able to access the cloud. So I didn’t use it.
Secondly, I didn’t really understand the difference between my icloud ID/address and my iTunes/app store ID/address. I thought there were, and had to be, the same. But they don’t. As a family we have one Apple ID which we all use. I didn’t know that my Apple ID could be one address and my icloud another.
I still don’t think that I really understand. But I’ve been told that the FBI can’t manage to hack into icloud, and that’s good enough for me.
So in retrospect, I would have set up on icloud and made sure at least photos (for me notes, contacts and calendars too) are stored there. And also made sure icloud was kept regularly backed up, like every few days.
I did use the “clear cookies” and “clear data” option in Settings, regularly. And I’m glad I did. If a thief does manage to access your data, there’s a risk that prestored data, like your surname or credit card number could get into the wrong hands. I actually clear cookies and data for a very specific reason, as well as for general net security. Ryanair.
Try looking for a flight to somewhere on Ryanair, check the price, and then try later and check the price again. Or try finding a return flight a few days after buying a one way. Both of the later prices are often surprisingly higher. Cookies. The last time this happened was a couple of weeks ago. I did a quick search, the outward flight was quite expensive, the return a bargain at under 30 euros. I booked the outward, and went back onto the website later to book the return. Almost 60 euros. I cleared cookies and data and checked the price again 2 minutes later. Under 30 euros. Exactly the same flight.
There’s a lot more been learnt the past couple of days than just computery stuff. I’ve been reminded how lucky I am to have the family I have.
Katie left a note on the table at lunchtime with a wee message and 35 euros. To go towards a new Ipad. She has a total of 65 euros savings with her on the trip. Bless.
The boys jumped into action as soon as the iPad was stolen, logging into icloud, securing/erasing data, setting the tracking device and the message (just in case someone nice finds your Ipad, or you’ve been the victim of a very dim thief). They asked about password changes and explained the things a thief could/might/couldn’t do. And what my erase/message etc options were. All without consulting a manual.
And everyone’s helped out with another round of trips to the police station. It’s as hard in Spanish as it is in Portuguese. Although in Portugal the “tourist” police spoke 5 languages and give (Neil) a lift to the main police station to fill in the reports. In Spain, the one’s we came into contact with couldn’t really care less. Theft seemed to be just the norm. Especially on Plaza Espagna, so beware.
It’s also been a stark reminder of how much I rely on technology. To store books and work resources, as a camera and photo album, to store all our travel tickets and booking information, as a calendar, for taking notes, as an alarm, for music, to communicate. That came about of necessity – weight and space are at a premium both for work and in the campervan. I’m not sure that I’d want to change that.
But there is one thing I do need to get in check. My need to know everything, right now. What other film was he in? What kind of tree is that? It’s great to be able to find out straight away, and it’s awful. So long as there is an internet connection we can find out almost anything, anytime. The pool of information we have around us is gigantic. Mercilessly gigantic. For someone who loves learning and finding out about things, it’s hard to put on the brakes.
I watched this TED video yesterday, no it must have been the day before because my Ipad was pinched yesterday.