I travel with my iPhone a lot, and I worry about the data I have stored on the phone. I have synchronized my emails, contacts, and other personal data on the phone—if it were to be lost and it fell into the “wrong hands,” I would be in big trouble. Is there something I can do that would cause the phone to “self-destruct” if someone tries to enter an incorrect password enough times? I’m serious—I can’t have my data getting into my competitors’ hands.
If I was clever. I'd pull out the Mission Impossible theme at this point when you talk about self destructing phones that's of course what comes to mind. I wonder if you perhaps are taking your data a little too seriously on the other hand we spend so much time talking about security. I have to believe there are reasons to keep your data locked up in this tight.
On the iPhone, the first thing you should think about doing is switching from a four digit pass code to a six digit pass code which you can easily do. Or you can easily set up an alphanumeric pass code which isn't even digits and makes it more difficult to choose. You get that information under the settings and then Touch ID and pass code and then change pass code options. Now once you do that. It makes it much harder for someone to figure out your pass code.
There's also a built in feature on your iPhone. After five failed attempts to enter a pass code the iPhone locks for one minute. After one more attempt that is six attempts the phone locks for five minutes. One more that is seven bad attempts and the phone locks for fifteen minutes any more attempts will lock the phone for an hour. That will severely slow down anyone trying to guess your private code.
If you really want it to be so that if they enter their password wrong a number of times your phone self destructs this nuclear option is also available. Go to settings and then Touch ID and pass code and to your current pass code. Scroll to the bottom of settings and select the erase data option. That's all it takes. So if they enter the wrong pass code a certain number of times your phone will just erase itself. If that's what you need to have happen. You can make it happen. We also suggested if you go that route you back up the data on your phone. So you don't lose it should you forget your own pass code. That would be very sad.
So should you need it you can make it happen. We just go with a four digit pass code at least that's what I do and that should be enough for most people.