When you establish a secure passcode on your iPad, the expectation is that no one can access any information without knowing said code. There are cases where this is not necessarily true. In fact, any user account on the Mac that you use to sync your iPad can fully access all of the data stored on your iPad without knowing the passcode, including the Guest account.
iPad passcode configuration
Even though it isn’t 100 percent foolproof, securing your iPad with a passcode is a good first step for security. On my iPad 2, I configured security to use the longer alphanumeric passcode, and I make sure that it will lock the iPad immediately when the cover is closed by doing the following:
- Open Preferences and navigate to the General settings.
- Set Auto-Lock to 2 minutes.
- Turn the Passcode on and set Require Passcode to “Immediately.”
- Turn the Simple Passcode off.
- Turn Erase Data On to wipe the iPad after 10 failed logon attempts.
After you sync your passcode protected iPad with your Mac, you should notice that any user account on that Mac can still access the data on your iPad using any of the following methods. Attach that same iPad to any other Mac that has not accessed any data on that iPad in the past, and you will get an error indicating that the device is protected with a passcode.
Protecting your data in the real world
You may be surprised at how easy it is to access your iPad’s information even after you’ve set up a passcode when it’s connected to a Mac. If you really don’t want others to have access to your information, there isn’t much you can do short of setting a hands-off policy. You may want to sync your iPad to a dedicated Mac which only you have access to. Anyone with access to both your iPad and the Mac it syncs with can see all of your data. You can avoid potential theft worries by keeping the iPad and Mac in separate cases, and by disabling the guest account on your Mac so that a user has to know your passcode to login.