Check Your Password and Touch ID If You’re Divorcing

password mobile security smartphone fingerprint scanningGenerally speaking, when you’re involved in marital conflict (divorce, separation, etc.), you should immediately change the password to your email, work computer, tablet and of course, your phone. We also discussed this  in The 7 Deadly (Tech) Sins of Divorce – Part 1 and The 7 Deadly (Tech) Sins of Divorce – Part 2.

Smartphones are everywhere, most people have one. The most common smartphones are either Android (from Google) or the iPhone (from Apple). My focus is the iPhone. I use ‘iPhone’, ‘phone’, and ‘smartphone’ interchangeably.

iPhones come pre-installed with a huge amount of technology (including apps) that anyone involved in family conflict (lawyers, friends, family and litigants) should be aware of. Today I’m talking about the technology preloaded on your phone, ready to use as soon as you take it out of the box. Software that has to be downloaded (whether free or paid) will be the subject of later articles that will link back to this one. I have an iPhone 6S (running iOS 9.2) but much of the information here applies to any iPhone as long as it runs iOS 8.0 or greater.

Always Use a Password

We have all known someone who learned their husband was cheating by reading his texts or someone that discovered his wife had been to a lawyer by reading her calendar. The fact is, I have clients who have found themselves in similar situations, and many more cases just like them.  While neither situation in and of itself defines a divorce case, knowledge of those facts is game-changing, and the one thing that would have prevented any of these discoveries is password management. The problem with passwords is that they are underutilized and when they are used, they are used incorrectly.

Check Your Touch ID

If you have not been using a password, now is the time to start. Why? Because if you leave your phone lying around, your spouse may very well thumb through it. And speaking of thumbs!

If you have Touch ID (the fingerprint scanner) capability on your phone or iPad, make sure yours is the only fingerprint the device will recognize. When enabled you do not need your password and Touch ID can even be used to make purchases, so you really need to make sure it’s secure.

Go to your Settings and scroll down to Touch ID & Passcode. Plug in your existing password and then you will be on the Touch ID security page. If you want, this is where you can disable Touch ID and change what you can use Touch ID for. This page is also where you can see if anyone else has added their fingerprint. Under FINGERPRINTS it should just have ‘Finger 1’ and that ‘Finger 1’ should be you. The next section down is where you can turn the passcode on, change the passcode, and determine when the passcode will be required, all as relates to setting or disabling Touch ID. I recommend setting this to immediately, for obvious reasons.

Below that section are more security measures you can and should employ as they relate to the passcode for the phone generally (not just the passcode for enabling Touch ID). You can allow certain items to be seen when the phone is locked (or do not allow any items…which I, of course, recommend), determine how long after use until the phone requires the passcode again, and you can also do things like direct that all data on your phone be erased after 8 failed passcode attempts. You should absolutely do this last one.

Tech Definitions

Smartphone – A cellular phone that can perform many of the functions of a computer. With this phone you can access the internet, edit or crate documents in Word and Excel, utilize social media, etc.

Operating System (OS) – Software that supports a computer’s basic functions. A significant distinction between devices is, of course, their operating systems. [The Android has a Linux-type operating system, Apple also uses a Unix based operating system, referred to as iOS (typically together with the version number, such as iOS 9].

– CiCi