Thursday, May 14, 2015

Secure Your Apple Watch - It's Not As "Theft Proof" As Your IPhone

The Apple Watch inventory was very small when the device launched a few weeks ago, but supplies seem to have improved. Fans that pre-ordered are now receiving various models and early reports & reviews are unfolding.

The watch is elegant and the stock Apple apps, in general, work well. Unfortunately, the third party apps are clearly version 1.0 - maybe even beta. This is to be expected, since most developers did not actually have the hardware while developing the first generation Apps. No doubt, positive changes will now surface quickly.

Apple has made it possible for users to secure data stored on the watch, but they did not include the anti-theft features that are now standard on the IPhone. When Apple pushed out IOS 7 they included a new feature called Activation Lock. With this feature, a stolen IPhone became useless because a "bad guy" needed the Account Credentials (Apple username and Password) of the original owner, in order to activate and reuse the phone - even after a "hard reset". This "Kill Feature" reduced thefts in large cities, markedly.


Unfortunately, as of this date, Activation Lock has not been implemented on the Apple Watch. A "bad guy" can grab the watch, reset & erase it, and then pair it with a different IPhone. Hopefully, Apple will correct this situation with an update, soon. So, what can a new owner do? While you cannot, presently, protect from theft, you can and should protect the data and private information stored on your Apple Smartwatch. Here's how:

  1. Open the Apple Watch App on your IPhone.
  2. Click on Passcode.
  3. Make sure you are using a Simple 4 digit (toggle on) or Complex (toggle off) passcode. You must have a Passcode in order to use Apple Pay on your watch.
  4. Toggle on Erase Data. This will erase all data on your Watch after 10 failed passcode attempts - protecting you data from prying eyes.

In case you are concerned about the loss of valuable data - your Apple Watch periodically stores a backup on your IPhone.