iPad security – not as strong as you might think

I was going to start this post off praising Microsoft’s security, but I’ll need to leave that for another time. First I must first complain about Windows. This morning, as I do almost every morning, I took my laptop from where I had left it and docked it. You see, my setup is such that I’ve got a keyboard, mouse, monitor and webcam hooked up to the docking port for my aging Lenovo T400.

I pressed down hard to dock it because sometimes not all devices get correctly hooked up to the docking port. I have no idea why, I imagine there are shorter pins that aren’t quite able to reach the laptop while their taller brethren saunter over with ease. Instead of the familiar three beeps, I heard just two. We could pause for a moment and think about how awful an experience it is to dock and be greeted with a serious of beeps, but that would be a digression from my digression. My keyboard and mouse worked fine, but the monitor couldn’t see Windows.

Swearing gently under my breath I undock, clear the warning about my webcam not undocking correctly, and try again. And again. And again. Eventually I give up and just reboot the machine. June 11th can’t come soon enough.

My iPad security fail

iPad security - not all you'd hope for

iPad security - not all you'd hope for

This weekend I finally convinced myself that I needed to order the iPad formerly known as 3. In truth, my iPad 2 was quite capable of doing everything I needed, but happily my friend’s desire to purchase my lovingly cared for iPad 2 coincided nicely with my weakness for new technology. With my new iPad on it’s way, I set my sites on preparing my old iPad for conveyance to my friend.

My intent was to give him a clean, reformatted iPad. Devoid of all the music, videos, apps and various other cruft I had accumulated over the year. Being security conscious, I diligently set out to find a secure way to reformat my iPad. It seemed simple enough, go to iTunes, reformat and you’re done.

I started the process, and about 30 minutes later I had a shiny, clean iPad ready for a new home. Or so I thought. My paranoia kicked in, so I restarted my iPad just to confirm that it had been appropriately formatted. Everything looked good, I got the iPad welcome screen that would walk me through setting up my iPad.

I think at this point any reasonable human being would assume that the iPad was properly formatted. Any reasonable human being would be wrong. A few hours after I gave it to my friend he asked me, “Did you mean to leave you Apple credentials on your iPad?”. In a little bit of shock I stuttered, “No”, as my mind quickly raced to everything my Apple credentials could unlock, it’s linked to my credit card, you can view personal details about me – yikes!

Thankfully I had given it to a friend who deleted my credentials even before he told me of my security faux pas. Things could’ve been worse had I sold it on Craig’s list.

I’ll close with some advice I wish I had been given:

When you reformat your iPad, confirm that your Apple credentials are removed!

3 Comments

  • 1
    MC
    November 17, 2012 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Hello! I stumbled on this site and have a silly question: what exactly does it mean to get rid of your apple credentials, and more to the point, how does one do this? I’m about to sell my ipad to someone. Thanks!

  • 2
    November 17, 2012 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Go to settings, choose store, click your email address and sign out. This should do the trick.

  • 3
    Azrael
    October 31, 2014 - 7:48 am | Permalink

    This is an Apple blunder after blunder. I still can’t believe companies that make mistakes like these still survive. I recently lost the wifi capabilities of my iPhone 4s just after the warranty expired. They wanted me to pay them to fix it. Tell me how in the blazes I could have ruined my wifi chip due to wear and tear? This is a manufacturing defect. Warranty or no, they should fix it for free.

    I understood that this was not a potential problem of the iPhone 4s alone but all Apple devices during the time of iPhone 4s including the iPhone 5. Probably the way they designed the wifi chip.

    Apparently, someone discovered a short term solution for it: blasting the device with a blow dryer to heat up the area where the wifi chip is set. Still, this was not fair exchange, even when the EULA indirectly stated the user was on his own upon signing.

    Typical of Apple, they didn’t care about the wifi problem. They went on to design the next iDevices, indirectly suggested you buy the new one, indirectly suggested you throw away the old one, and indirectly suggested you earn enough money again to buy the next new design.

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