Stephen Collie Enterprises New Zealand

Unbeknownst to a majority of crypto-enthusiasts, one of the most exciting features of the recently-implemented Lightning Network is one of the least discussed: the ability to build decentralized-like apps (known as Lightning Network Apps or LAppps) on top of the Lightning Network main net.

But Bitcoin isn’t turing-complete & doesn’t have smart contracts?

No matter. Due to brilliant off-chain implementations via the Lightning Network, the day has arrived where the Bitcoin blockchain supports “decentralized apps;” this is due mainly to the innate infrastructure of multi-signature, off-chain transactions through LN’s payment channels.

A payment channel is a bi-directional, off-chain connection between exactly two nodes (users/parties) that allows for lightning-fast (thus the name), transactions. Once both nodes, or users, close the channel, the final balance is mined & all that’s added to the Bitcoin blockchain is a single transaction with two signatures.

A single node, however, can have multiple of these two-way channels open at any time. Additionally, logic can be introduced on top of a single node, making said node known for hosting payment channel to create a type of automatable service or game. An image below shows all LN nodes as of Thursday, September 13th at 5:08 pm:

LAPPs Lightning Network Apps

LApps Overview

The fact that Lightning Network apps (“LApps”)  are now available on the Bitcoin blockchain address two noticeable common points of discussion. First, it’s no small secret that a lack of  “decentralized apps” within the Bitcoin ecosystem is one of, if not the, loudest criticisms against Bitcoin.

In fact, in many cases, it’s the single reason Ethereum, Lisk, Cardano & a plethora of blockchain platforms exist in the first place: to create & offer a blockchain-based smart contract & decentralized app environment. Suddenly, Bitcoin is quietly but quite literally closing in on the single-largest supposed competitive advantage.

What does this mean for Bitcoin? Massive incoming adoption on multiple fronts: incoming blockchain developers, current Bitcoin hodlers & possibly other platform blockchain veterans. At a point in the not-too-distant future, it is an unlikely, but now possibly scenario that a majority of current dapp & smart contract engineers abandon their current blockchain of choice for the soundest of them all. Only time will tell; however, for now, no noticeable development communities have shifted sides.

Additionally, a second major benefit of LApps is that since they’re built on the lightning network, they’re inherently structured for micro-transactions. Microtransactions drastically lower the barrier to entry; which again solidifies the notion that LApps are going to see a major influx of users & developers in the near future.

The current use cases for end users in Bitcoin world are, well, quite limited to financial activities; funding/managing wallets & exchanges. Not only does LN widen that variety, it packs a double-punch by focusing in on affordable experiences.

The real question regarding adaptability will ultimately stem, per usual, from the actual engineering output: how many LApps are in production?

LApps Directory

LApps are very much in their early days. The unofficial launch happening over Q1 this year as Blockstream introduced the micropayment processing API, Lightning Charge for the Lightning Network that utilizes Blockstream’s c-lightning implementation. Using a REST API that is accessible through JavaScript and PHP libraries, Lightning Charge makes it easy for web developers to accept Lightning payments for their content, goods, and services. In addition to Lightning Charge, a Scala implementation of LN also supports LAapps (more on this later).

Despite the relatively recent origins,  a solid number of LApps have already been publicly deployed; all released LApps can be found in the official Lightning App Directory. Blockstream, the Bitcoin consulting behemoth with a significant amount of Bitcoin Core developers, quite publicly came out in support of LApps. In the latter half of March, Blockstream held a “Week of LApps” event dedicated strictly to the development & deployment of LApps. This intermittent development event alone resulted in seven LApps deployed – some of which are covered below. A qualitative, rudimentary categorization of public LApps, along with a few linked demo summaries can be see below:

Point-of-Sale & Vendor LApps

Accepting Bitcoin payments is a no-brainer for e-commerce platforms or custom web apps – however high fees & unpredictable confirmation periods previously made accepting Bitcoin an evangelical business decision at best. With LApps leveraging the Lightning Network, suddenly the two largest objections against Bitcoin adoption from an online business dissipate. It therefore follows that point-of-sale & vendor apps have taken the center stage as LApps begin rolling out:

  • Nanopos — A simple point-of-sale system for fixed-price goods
  • WooCommerce Lightning Gateway — A comprehensive e-commerce application that integrates with stock-management and order-tracking systems
Lightning Nano POS

Content Creator LApps

A common use case for additional blockchain & supplementary tokens is the publishing, managing, & licensing of original digital content. How many dapps fall into this category? One doesn’t have to look too far to find a blockchain/token for publishing blog poststracking music metadata, or managing illustration artwork. Theoretically, any, original content medium likely has a launched (or failed) decentralized app. LApps undoubtedly unlock almost-free, frictionless payments with the largest cryptocurrency of them all – but without a standard form for digital tokenization, does the same level of incorrigible asset-tracking exist for content creating LApps?

Below are a few example of content-creating web apps built on top of the mainnet lightning network:

 

Experimental Recreational LApps

This third category of LApps represents experimental LApps that are mainly examples of existing technologies with lightning payments enabled. Let’s recall that the Lightning Network doesn’t necessarily enable decentralization as much as they enable frictionless Bitcoin payments – which certainly unlocks a vast amount of use cases previously economically infeasible to test out. 

  • Lightning Jukebox — A fun demo that reimagines a classic technology for the Lightning Network
  • Nanotip — The simple tip jar, rebuilt to issue Lightning Network invoices

As seen above, a handful of minimal viable LApps are now live spanning across multiple use cases. The LApp ecosystem, while now publicly in-use, is admittedly still in its infancy stage – this does not take away from the extraordinary leap forward for Bitcoin that is the Lightning Network. Other blockchain platforms have beaten Bitcoin to the punch (particularly Ethereum’s ERC20 ecosystem), it’s likely that we see developers build copy-cat LApps of popular dapps – perhaps an equivalent CryptoKitties? Or a prediction marketplace to compete with Augur?

In order to catch up with the aforementioned examples, much work is needed. For now, no off-chain LN solution exists for tokenizing standards such as ERC20 or NEO5. Without digitizing assets through tokens (forget ICOs), can LApps really directly compete with decentralized apps?

Currently, two of the many LN implementations are seeing the majority of LApp activity. First, Eclair, which is a Scala implementation of the Lightning Network built by ACINQ. Eclair hosts four LApps including the flagship Eclair desktop app. Second, is the more popular LN implementation C-Lightning, which is, as the name suggests, a “C” implementation. C-Lightning LApps are built on the C implementation of the Lightning Network, they fall under the Elements Project.

Summary

As one can see in any explorer, the Lightning Network is very much no longer in it’s theoretical or even alphas-stage – this is a successful, exponentially growing, off-chain Bitcoin solution. Unfortunately, no tool exists within the Lightning ecosystem that tracks the adoption of specifically LApp nodes within the Lightning Network main net; but I”m sure someone is working on that as I finish this article out, the LN ecosystem, is after all, evolving at lightning speeds.

A colleague of mine posed the question “why build with Solidity on the Ethereum Virtual Machine while a regular web stack with Ubuntu hosting a Lightning Network LApp node can offer a competing, perhaps even better, end user experience?” While I remain neutral in LApps & dapps directly competing until/if the LN ecosystem accounts for tokenising assets, the latter half of that quote highlights what developers should keep in mind as both ecosystems mature.

The early & late majority of decentralized app adopters will not care whether their transactions are off-chain, out-chain, confirmed in multi-verses, hashed with Musk1024 or anything else – they simply want the smoother UX experience enabled with this supposed blockchain thing that uses the frictionless, magical digital money.


This article by Jesus Najera was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Jesus Najera is the CEO & Founder of SetOcean, a Fort Lauderdale-based agency-incubator focused on blockchain, cryptocurrency, and machine learning technologies. He’s a contributing author at PERC360, Coincentral, & an editor of the SetOcean medium blog. You can find him in the “All Things Cryptocurrency” Facebook group or hacking away at Setcoins, their latest product release – a powerful cryptocurrency research platform.

With a cyber-attack every 39 seconds, you’ve got a good reason to fret about your hard-earned money and investments. In fact, as hackers continue their onslaught, you may long for the days of the physical leather-bound wallet. Bitcoin is great – unless it’s stolen.

But you aren’t out of luck with security options. Other crypto enthusiasts understood the potential security gap early on and developed hardware wallets.

These days, it’s not about when the tech will arrive – but which one to choose. TREZOR and Ledger are leading brands in this arena. But which hardware wallet is best for you?

Crypto Hardware Wallets

Crypto owners have an immense selection when it comes to choosing a wallet. Not only are there web-based options, but there are also desktop, mobile, hardware, and even paper wallets.

The one type of wallet that concerns us in this post is the hardware wallet. Both TREZOR and Ledger fit into this category.

Trezor

Think of the hardware wallet as a safe. Unlike its software companions, the hardware wallet stores your private keys on a USB drive. In other words, your private key is stored offline. Score one for security!

The only time your money is online is when you have the device plugged in and you are making a transaction. And even then, these devices contain numerous security protocols to help keep your funds safe.

TREZOR vs Ledger

So what about these two wallets anyway? We’re getting there. In order to better evaluate TREZOR vs Ledger, we need to look at a few factors: What coins they support, how easy they are to use, compatibilities, extra features, and what users are saying.

To get a glimpse of everything these brands have to offer, we’ll be looking at their premium products – TREZOR’s Model T and Ledger’s Nano S.

Let’s start with the basics.

Supported Cryptocurrencies on TREZOR and Ledger Nano S

Your first concern should be whether the hardware wallet supports your chosen coins or tokens. This is probably the biggest difference between TREZOR vs Ledger.

Both support the some of the most popular crypto assets–Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, and ERC-20 tokens. But TREZOR clearly takes the lead here with support for 689 coins and tokens, compared to Ledger’s 41 (at the time of writing). However, there are a few coins you cannot find on TREZOR: Ripple, Stellar and Monero being the most popular of those missing.

Features

As you can imagine, when it comes to hardware wallets, security is paramount. Each device comes with its own list of coin-safeguarding features.

Let’s take TREZOR’s Model T. This wallet is a full-color touchscreen device. It includes three primary features for recovery: A PIN entry, a passphrase entry, and it offers a device recovery as well. In addition, it provides U2F authentication (2 Factor Authentication), GPG encryption, SSH encryption, a password manager, and support.

The Ledger Nano S has its own set of safety protocols and features. Unlike TREZOR’s Model T, the Nano S isn’t a touchscreen device. Rather, you use buttons to commit to commands. In order to safeguard your crypto, this device ups the game with a secure PIN-protected chip for your private keys, and the use of BOLOs – individual shields around each individual app on your device. According to the site, this makes the Nano S tamper-proof and incredibly secure.

Ledger Hardware Wallet

Both devices are compatible with software wallets, such as MyEtherWallet and MyCrypto–depending on the coin or token. While Ledger lists significantly fewer coins and tokens, and appears to connect to fewer wallets than TREZOR, its Google Chrome companion app provides more features that may be useful.

The Public Speaks

When in doubt, it helps to check what others are saying. However, public sentiment is overall positive for both platforms and both devices.

While the Ledger’s Nano S appears slightly low-tech and only allows for 2-4 coins at a time, it makes up for these issues in ease of use and installation. The TREZOR Model T largely suffers from a higher price point $170 compared to Ledger’s $120 and may be a bit more time-consuming to set up.

If social proof is really what you’re interested in, TREZOR has been featured on major publications, including Forbes, Coindesk and CNN.

TREZOR vs Ledger – Who Takes the Cake?

It would be satisfying to have one single winner here – but that’s not possible. Both platforms are secure, compatible with hundreds of coins and tokens, and provide awesome customer support.

In the end, the question isn’t which hardware wallet is better – it’s what’s best for you. Double check if your coins are compatible with either device – then choose based off price point or desired features. While Ledger’s “tamper-proof” device seems appealing, don’t forget the layers of encryption and protocols wrapped up with the TREZOR models.

If you’d like to do a deeper dive on either wallet, check out our TREZOR review guide and Ledger Nano S review guide.

Not even sure if you want a hardware wallet? Why not check out the best bitcoin wallets of 2018?


This article by Kelsey Ray was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Kelsey Ray Banerjee is a professional content writer and digital marketer specializing in blockchain, forex trading, and sustainability. When not writing, you can find her traveling, reading, or on Twitter.

In May 2014, a group of Russian hackers launched a malware attack against iOS device users, which locked their devices. The group demanded a $100 ransom from each victim to unlock the afflicted devices. While the attack affected a large number of users, it appeared to mostly affect users who had not used a passcode to secure their devices.

Hacked Phone

Later that year, a September report told of celebrities who had their iCloud accounts hacked, leading to the release of revealing photos of those same celebrities. The photos were first posted on a 4chan message board.

Of course, the internet being the internet, the images quickly spread to the rest of the web.

These are just two of numerous instances where bad guys gained access and control of an iOS user’s device. Such stories can cause a chill to run through the average user’s body.

However, in both cases, the access was gained due to users not protecting themselves properly. They had neglected to either lock down their device with a passcode, or – in the celebrity photos hacks – they used weak passwords and committed the cardinal sin of password reuse.

In this article, I’ll guide you through what you can do to protect your device and all of that valuable personal and business data that you have stored on it. I’ll show you how to protect your device from prying eyes and keep it updated to the latest version of iOS.

I’ll also take a look at how to back up your iOS device, set it up to unlock with just the touch of a finger, and even how to make sure all of your personal data is removed before you sell or donate an old device.

In addition, I’ll take a look at how to password-protect notes in the iOS 11 Notes app and keep track of all of the other passwords you use. Before I’m through, you’ll also know what jailbreaking is, and the pros and cons of doing it to your device.

1 – Enable Auto-Lock and Set the Timeout

One of the first things you should do for any iOS device is turn on Auto-Lock and set a reasonable amount of time to pass before it Auto-Locks. Auto-Lock can be configured to engage for time periods of “30 seconds” to “Never.

Auto-Lock sets the amount of time that will pass before your unattended iOS device will shut off and require a passcode or fingerprint on a Touch ID to unlock the device. To enable Auto-Lock and set a timeout period for it to engage, do the following:

1. Open the Settings app on your device.
2. Tap the “Display & Brightness” menu option on the main Settings menu.
3. Tap the “Auto-Lock” menu option in the “Display & Brightness” menu.
4. In the “Auto-Lock” area, you can opt for any of the following timeout options: “30 Seconds,” “1 Minute,” “2 Minutes,” “3 Minutes,” “4 Minutes,” “5 Minutes” and “Never” (not recommended).

iPhone iOS Display & Brightness
iPhone iOS 11 Auto Lock
iPhone iOS 11 Auto Lock Settings

How you set the timeout period depends on how you use your device. If you always have your iPhone in your hand and use it constantly, you might want to set auto-lock to a longer period of time. Those users that simply check mail every once in awhile, or only use it a couple of times a day, might want to set it to a shorter period of time.

Fun fact: I once worked at an Apple Store located in the Southwest part of the United States. A fun pastime for mischievous employees at the store was to find an unlocked iPhone another employee had left unattended. Soon, the unsuspecting employee was receiving text messages and Facebook comments wondering why he or she hadn’t told their loved ones about their Spider-Man bed sheets or their entire collection of My Little Pony DVDs before now.

2- Turn On Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security for your iCloud login and associated devices. It ensures your account can only be accessed on devices and computers that you trust. Any time you log in to a new device or computer for the first time, you’ll need to provide your password and a six-digit verification code that will automatically display on your already-trusted devices.

iPhone iOS 11 2Factor Authentication
By entering the code, you indicate that you trust the new device. This drastically improves the security of your account, as even if someone has your password, they won’t be able to supply the six-digit verification code.

Turn On Two-Factor Authentication in Settings

If you’re using iOS 10.3 or later:
  1. Go to “Settings” -> “[your name]” -> “Password & Security.”
  2. Tap “Turn on Two-Factor Authentication.”
  3. Tap “Continue.”
If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier:

  1. Go to “Settings” -> “iCloud.”
  2. Tap your Apple ID -> “Password & Security.”
  3. Tap “Turn on Two-Factor Authentication.”
  4. Tap “Continue.”
iPhone iOS Settings iCloud
iPhone iOS Settings Password & Security
iPhone iOS 11 Settings Two Factor Authentication

After completing the steps above, you’ll be asked for the phone number where you want to receive verification codes. The codes can be sent via text or a phone call, so any type of phone number can be entered. When you tap “Next,” Apple will send you a verification code. Enter the number to verify the phone number and turn on two-factor authentication. For more information about two-factor authentication, and to learn how to set it up on your other Apple devices, visit the Apple Support website.

3 – Use “Find My Phone”

You love your new iOS device. You take it everywhere you go. Uh-oh! You’ve lost it. Now what? No worries – you enabled “Find My iPhone” on the device, right? Find My iPhone allows owners of an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, Mac or AirPods to find the lost device, accessory or computer by displaying the item’s last known location on a map viewable on another iOS device or computer.

iPhone iOS 11 Find My iPhone

This can help if you weren’t sure exactly where you lost the device. The service also allows you to get the device to play a sound, which is handy if you think it may have slid under a seat cushion or fallen into a drawer. (Hey, it happens!)

You can also remotely lock and send a message to your device, informing the finder of the device as to how they can contact you.

As a last resort when all else fails, you can send a command to the device to wipe itself clean of all personal information. The device remains linked to your iCloud account, preventing anyone else from resetting the device and using or selling it.

Enabling Find My iPhone

1. Open the Settings app and tap “User Name.”

2. On the “Apple ID” screen, tap the name of your device. Mine is “Bigger and Badder.” It is also labeled as “This iPhone 8 Plus,” as seen in the screenshots below.

iphone iOS 11 Settings iCloud
iPhone iOS 11 Device Name

3. On the “Device Info” screen, tap the “Find My iPhone” menu option.

4. On the “Find My iPhone” screen, make sure the “Find My iPhone” toggle switch is set to “on.” (The background of the button will be green when it’s turned on.) Also, make sure the “Send Last Location” toggle switch is set to “on.”

iPhone iOS 11Device Info Find My Phone
iPhone iOS 11Device Info Find My Phone

Now, if you lose your iOS device, you can view its location on a map, message anyone who may have found the device, or lock or erase it if need be. Also, since the “Send Last Location” option was turned on, your device will automatically attempt to send its location to Apple if the device’s battery reaches a critically low level.

Using Find My iPhone to Find a Lost Device

If you lose your iPhone or iPad, visit the iCloud.com website on your computer or another mobile device to view its location. There, you’ll be able to see the device’s location, tell it to make a noise to alert you to its nearby whereabouts, or lock or erase the device. Visit iCloud.com and log in with your iCloud credentials.

iCloud Sign in

From the main iCloud.com menu, click the “Find iPhone” icon.

iPhone iOS 11 iCloud Menu Find iPhone

A map will display, showing all of the devices, computers and accessories you have enabled “Find My iPhone” on. To narrow the view down to the device you are searching for, click the pull-down at the top of the map labeled “All Devices.” Click the name of the device you are searching for. Only that device will display on the map.

iPhone iOS 11 Find My iPhone Map

From this view, you can:

  • Tell the device to play a sound to alert you or anyone nearby to its location
  • Put the device into Lost Mode, which will lock the device and display a phone number where you can be reached, as well as a message of your choosing on its screen
  • Erase the device

You can also use the “Find My iPhone” app on an iOS device to find another iOS device, an Apple Watch, a Mac or AirPods. The app allows you to:

  • Locate an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac on a map
  • Play a sound for two minutes at full volume (even if the device is set to silent)
  • ​Remotely lock a device with a passcode
  • Display a custom message on the Lock Screen
  • View recent location history of the device while in Lost Mode (iOS devices)
  • Get driving directions to the device’s location
  • Remotely erase all content and settings on the device
  • View the device’s remaining battery charge
iPhone iOS 11 Find My iPhone Device List
iPhone iOS 11 Find My iPhone Device Location Map

4 – Keep Your Device Updated to the Latest Version of iOS

To ensure you are protected from any security holes or other issues with your iPhone or iPad, you should always keep your iOS device updated to the most recent version of the iOS mobile operating system. Apple releases a major update of their iOS operating system, alongside the debut of their new flagship iPhone handset, each fall.

The new operating system always offers new features as well as fixes for any security holes that may have been discovered over the previous year.

The company also makes periodic “point releases” during the rest of the year, which are intended to fix any issues found in the operating system by researchers and users.

Apple and security researchers, from time to time, find security flaws in iOS. (All operating systems have security holes – it’s just a sad fact of modern computing.)

Apple regularly updates iOS to plug those security holes. Upgrading to the latest version of iOS is easy and can be performed either over-the-air or via iTunes. Before updating your iPhone or iPad, always make sure you have a recent backup of the device, just in case any issues arise.

I’ll show you how to back up your device in the next section.

Updating an iOS Device Over-the-Air

Your iOS device can be updated “over-the-air,” which means it can be updated directly through its Wi-Fi connection. The update downloads to the device and is automatically installed.

iPhone iOS 11 Software Update

To install an over-the-air update, do the following:

1. Plug your device into a charger and make sure it’s connected to the internet via Wi-Fi.

2. Open the Settings app and go to “General” -> “Software Update.”

3. If an update is available, details about the update will be displayed here. Tap “Download and Install.” 

Note: if your iOS device is running low on space, the update process may ask to temporarily remove some apps to gain more space for the update process. The apps will be reinstalled following completion of the update.

4. To update immediately, tap “Install.” If you’d like to install at a later time, tap “Install Tonight” or “Remind Me Later.” If you tap “Install Tonight,” your device will update while you sleep – just remember to plug it into a charger before slipping into dreamland. 5. Your device will ask you for your passcode – enter it.

The update will now proceed. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the speed of your internet connection and the size of the update.

Updating an iOS Device via iTunes

If you don’t have a Wi-Fi signal handy, you can hook your iPhone or iPad up to your PC or Mac through a Lightning cable and update it via iTunes. (Your computer will need to be connected to the internet in some manner or other for this to work.)

iPhone iOS 11 Update via iTunes

1. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed on your PC or Mac. 2. Connect your device to the computer with a Lightning cable. 3. Open iTunes and select the iOS device you want to update. 4. Click “Summary” and then click “Check for Update.” 5. Click “Download and Update.” 6. If requested, enter the passcode for the device. 7. Wait for the update process to finish.

5 – Back Up Your Device Regularly

For any computer or mobile device, the best advice I can give anyone is to keep it backed up. There is no better feeling if and when your iOS device dies (or if you just want to buy a new model) than knowing you have a recent backup you can restore from. Backups save hours, perhaps even days of trying to remember what was on your iPhone. (And you WILL forget something important. There is no doubt about that!)

As mentioned in the previous section, you always want to have a backup handy, just in case something goes wrong with an iOS update. As an example, Apple’s iOS 10.3 update made a huge change, especially for a “point” update. Version 10.3 converted the file format for storage on iOS devices from the 30-year-old HFS+ file system to the new Apple File System (AFS).

While not many issues were reported with the conversion, you can be sure the folks who did have issues were glad to have had a backup handy!

Set Your iOS Device to Back Up Automatically

The easiest way to keep a recent backup of your iPhone or iPad is to set it to back up to iCloud every night automatically. iCloud Backup will store a copy of the information on your device, allowing it to be quickly restored if needed.

Here’s how to set up iCloud Backup:

1. Open the Settings app and go to: “Settings” -> “User Name” -> “iCloud” -> “iCloud Backup.” Make sure iCloud Backup is turned on.

2. Each evening, connect your iOS device to a power source.

3. Make sure the device is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

4. Make sure the device’s screen is locked.

iPhone iOS 11 iCloud
iPhone iOS 11 iCloud Backup
iPhone iOS 11 iCloud Backup Now

If you find your device isn’t backing up automatically, it may be due to a lack of space in your iCloud storage account. When you first set up iCloud, you automatically receive 5GB of free cloud storage. While 5GB is usually enough to back up an iOS device, that storage can also be used for other purposes, such as storing photos and videos, documents and other data from various iCloud-enabled apps.

Check your iCloud storage space by opening the Settings app on your device and going to “Settings” -> “[User Name]” -> “iCloud.” There, at the top of the screen, you’ll see how much iCloud storage space you have remaining. A handy gauge shows you what exactly is taking up space in your iCloud Drive.

iPhone iOS 11
iPhone iOS 11 Manage Storage
iPhone iOS 11 iCloud Storage

If needed, you can purchase more iCloud storage space by tapping the Storage Gauge and then tapping “Change Storage Plan.” On the next screen, you can buy more iCloud storage space.

Backing Up Your iOS Device to Your Computer via iTunes

You can also keep a backup of your iOS device on your PC or Mac by using iTunes. I always back my iPhone up to both iCloud and iTunes to double-down on the chance of having a good backup to restore my device if needed.

iPhone iOS 11 Backup via iTunes

To back up your iOS device to iTunes, do the following:

1. Open iTunes on your PC or Mac and connect your iOS device to the computer via its Lightning sync/charging cable.

2. Your device may ask you to enter your device passcode or to “Trust This Computer.” If it does, follow the onscreen prompts.

3. Click on your iPhone or iPad when it appears in iTunes. 4. If you have Health and Activity data from either your iPhone or your Apple Watch, you’ll need to encrypt your backup. Click the “Encrypt” box and enter a password you will remember.

NOTE: make sure you can remember your password, or write it down and store it someplace safe. If you can’t remember this password, you won’t be able to restore from your encrypted backup.

If you don’t need to save your Health and Activity data, you can proceed to the next step.

5. Click “Back Up Now.”

6. After the backup process ends, you’ll be able to see on your computer’s screen if the backup was successful. The name of the device, along with the date and time of your backup, will be listed.

6 – Set Up Device’s Passcode & Touch ID or Face ID

No matter where you use your iPhone or iPad, it’s never a good idea to leave it unprotected by a device passcode or fingerprint lock via Touch ID. At the very least, you should lock your device with a passcode, and if your device was manufactured in the last few years, you should also lock it with a fingerprint through Touch ID – or in the case of the iPhone X, Face ID.

Setting or Changing the Passcode on Your iOS Device

First, we’ll take a look at creating or changing a passcode that can be used to lock your iOS device. It only takes a few moments to set one up, and it offers an excellent layer of protection from nosy parties who may want to get a look at what you have stored on your iPhone or iPad.

iPhone iOS 11 Touch ID and Passcode
iPhone iOS 11 Passcode Screen
iPhone iOS 11 Passcode Change

To set a passcode, do the following:

1. On your iOS device, tap the “Settings” icon to open the Settings app.

2. In the Settings menu, look for the “Touch ID & Passcode” menu option (it’s about two screens down). Tap the menu selection when you find it.

3. If you already have a passcode set, you’ll be asked to enter it.

4. You’ll now see the Touch ID & Passcode screen. Scroll down until you see the “Change Passcode” menu option. Tap that.

5. Again, if you already have a passcode set, you’ll be asked to enter it.

6. On the next screen, you’ll see a prompt to change your passcode. If you so desire, you can enter a six-digit passcode on this screen, enter the code one more time, and a new six-digit code will be set. However, you can also set a custom alphanumeric code of any length, a custom numeric code of any length or the traditional four-digit numeric code.

7. Once you have decided which type of passcode to use, enter it. You will then be asked to enter it again a second time to confirm it.

iPhone iOS 11 Passcode Setting
iPhone iOS 11 New Passcode Setting

Setting Up Touch ID on Your iOS Device

Check this list to see if your iOS device supports Touch ID:

  • iPhone 8 Plus

  • iPhone 8

  • iPhone 7 Plus

  • iPhone 7

  • iPhone 6S Plus

  • iPhone 6S

  • iPhone SE

  • iPhone 6 Plus

  • iPhone 6

  • iPhone 5S

  • iPad Pro (both the 12.9" and 9.7"

  • iPad Air 2

  • iPad Mini 4

  • iPad Mini 3

  • iPad 5th Generation (Released 2017)

If your device is included in the list above, you can enable and set up Touch ID on your iPhone or iPad, allowing you to unlock your device, use it to log in to apps, and pay for goods and services both online and (with your iPhone) at participating merchants.

iPhone iOS 11 Touch ID and Passcode
iPhone iOS 11 Add a Fingerprint

To set up Touch ID, do the following:

1. On your iOS device, tap the “Settings” icon to open the Settings app.

2. In the Settings menu, look for the “Touch ID & Passcode” menu option (it’s about two screens down). Tap the menu selection when you find it.

3. If you already have a passcode set, you’ll be asked to enter it.

4. Just a little way down from the Touch ID & Passcode screen, you’ll see the “FINGERPRINTS” section. Tap “Add a fingerprint” in this section.

5. Your iOS device will now instruct you to scan a fingerprint. Most people use their thumb for the first fingerprint – but if you’re in the right mood, go ahead and use your middle finger. (Just remember – you might need to use Touch ID in mixed company.)

6. Lay the pad of the decided-upon finger lightly onto the Home button. (Don’t actually press the Home button, or it will cancel your scan.)

7. When the device has performed the first scan of your finger, it will vibrate. Lift your finger and then bring it down lightly onto the Home button again. You’ll need to repeat this process until your iPhone or iPad has read enough of your fingerprint to recognize it.

Pro tip: Move your finger a bit for each scan and come in at a slightly different angle each time. This will allow you a bit of flexibility as to how you can lay your finger on the Home button when you need to unlock your device or pay for a purchase via Apple Pay.

8. Your device will also ask you to adjust your finger and scan the edges of it. I usually hold my finger at almost a 90-degree angle for this part of the process. Continue to press and lift your finger, just as before, until the process is complete.

iPhone iOS Touch ID Setting
iPhone iOS Touch ID Setting Complete

After completing the scan of your first finger, you’ll be taken back to the “Touch ID & Passcode” menu. I usually name the fingerprint I just scanned. To do that, tap the print whose name you wish to change, then tap the “x” to delete the current name and then enter a new name. I name them according to the finger, like “Right Thumb,” but I suppose you could call it anything you want. (Okay, “This Little Piggy Went to Market” it is.)

You can now repeat the process for up to four more fingers. However, you might consider allowing a trusted individual, such as your spouse, to scan a fingerprint. Doing so will enable them to unlock the device in case of emergency. (This is particularly well-advised for butchers, who could lose a digit or five in a tragic bologna-slicing accident.)

Once your fingerprints have all been registered by your device, you can then rename them, as mentioned above, or delete any of them and scan a different digit. When you’re back on the “Touch ID & Passcode” menu, you can set the following operations to be used with Touch ID.

iPhone Unlock

When this toggle switch is set to on/green, you can use any of your registered fingerprints to unlock your iPhone using Touch ID in place of entering your passcode.

Apple Pay

When this toggle switch is set to on/green, you can use any of your registered fingerprints to authorize Apple Pay payments at participating merchants.

iTunes & App Store

When this toggle switch is set to on/green, you can use any of your registered fingerprints to authorize purchases from the iTunes Store or App Store in place of typing out your iTunes password.

Setting Up FACE ID on Your Phone X

If you own an iPhone X, you won’t have the option to set up Touch ID, as the iPhone X doesn’t come equipped with a Touch ID sensor or even a Home Button. Instead, Apple’s latest and greatest flagship handset boasts a new technology called Face ID.

iPhone X iOS Face ID Settings

Face ID scans the iPhone X user’s face to unlock the device, allow purchases from the iTunes and App Stores, and to allow Apple Pay payments. With a quick glance at the screen of the iPhone X, the user can enable all of the same types of tasks that a passcode or Touch ID did on previous iPhone models. For more information, visit the Apple Support website.

To set up Face ID on your iPhone X handset, do the following:

1. Go to “Settings” -> “Face ID & Passcode.” If prompted, enter your passcode.

2. Tap “Set Up Face ID.”

3. Position your face directly in front of your iPhone X and tap “Get Started.”

4. While looking straight into your iPhone, move the device until your face is inside the on-screen frame.

5. When prompted, gently move your head to complete the circle. 6. When the first Face ID scan is complete, tap “Continue.”

7. Gently move your head to complete the circle for a second time, just as you did in the steps above.

8. When Face ID setup is complete, tap “Done.”

If you didn’t initially set a passcode, you’ll be prompted to create one to use as an alternate way to verify your identity if needed. You can choose the features that you want to use Face ID with, or reset Face ID, by going to “Settings” -> “Face ID & Passcode.”

7 – Use a Password Manager

In other articles, I have discussed the value of using a password-management app on your computer or mobile device. iOS is no different. With the hundreds of website and app logins you likely need to remember, a password manager keeps you from being tempted to backslide into one of the worst online sins: password reuse. I have long used a password manager on both my Mac and my iOS devices, and I depend on it daily to help me maintain my numerous online logins. Although there are various password managers available today, my app of choice is 1Password.

To find out more about other password apps, just search for “password manager” in the App Store.

1Password

1Password is a popular password-management app developed by AgileBits. The app is cross-platform, meaning it works on Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, so they have you covered for all of the popular computing platforms. I use the macOS and iOS versions of 1Password on all of my devices. Both apps support syncing over iCloud, so no matter where I add a new login or change a password, both devices always have the latest versions ready for me to use.

Password managers allow you to save the various logins and passwords you create and use on a daily basis and then recall them for use via a single password. This encourages users to use a different password for every website or app, avoiding the sin of login/password reuse on multiple sites.

iPhone iOS 11 1Password
iPhone iOS 11 1Password Logins
iPhone iOS 11 1Password Management

Most password managers, 1Password included, are not one-trick ponies. Instead, they offer a number of helpful features, storing secure notes and other types of information, all protected by encryption. Many password managers on the iOS platform also offer the ability to be unlocked via the convenient Touch ID or Face ID features available on recent iOS devices. This removes the requirement of remembering even a single password, reducing the unlocking process to simply pressing the fingers you used for Touch ID or glancing at the screen with Face ID.

8 – Password-Protect notes in the iOS Notes App

While I’m on the subject of password-protecting things, let’s take a quick look at the Notes app. It’s one of the built-in apps in iOS and has had the ability to protect notes via password and Touch ID since the release of iOS 9.3.

Set a Password for a Note

iPhone iOS 11 Note Screen
iPhone iOS 11 Lock ed Note Screen

You can easily password-protect older notes, as well as new ones, with just a few taps. Here’s how:

1. Open the Notes app on your iOS device.

2. Open or create the note you’d like to protect with a password.

3. Tap the share icon in the upper right-hand corner of the display.

4. Tap the “Lock Note” icon in the Share menu.

5. Now, either enter a password or use Touch ID to protect the note.

6. If you select the password option, and this is the first time you’ve locked a note with a password, you’ll be asked to enter a password that will lock this note and all future notes.

Note: If you forget this password, you will be unable to unlock your locked notes.

7. To open a locked note, tap the note you wish to view and then tap “View Note” on the note screen. The Notes app will prompt you for a password or fingerprint.

How to Reset Your Password for Notes

You can change the password for notes via the Settings app.

1. Open the Settings app and then tap the “Notes” menu option.

2. In the Notes settings, tap the “Password” menu option.

3. Tap the “Change Password…” option.

4. Enter your old Notes password, then enter your new password – twice – in order to verify it.

5. Set a Hint to help you remember the new password.

6. Tap “Done,” which can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

iPhone iOS Notes Password
iPhone iOS Notes Password Change
iPhone iOS Notes Password Reset

You can also tap the “Reset Password” link on the Password screen and enter a new password that will only affect new notes. All old notes will still be locked with the old password.

9 – Don’t Jailbreak Your Device

Ever since the early days of the iOS operating system, there have been iPhone users who have jailbroken their devices. Jailbreaking is best described as running software that removes the Apple-imposed restrictions on an iOS device. This allows users to download and install apps and system utilities from sources other than Apple’s official App Store.

Jailbreaking proponents brag about the ability to use an iOS device however they want, with none of the restrictions Apple imposes on the standard “jailed” iOS operating system. They cite, and rightly so, that iOS doesn’t offer the same freedom of features like those provided by less-restrictive mobile operating systems, such as Android. S

omewhere around iOS 6 or 7, I jailbroke a device I had just replaced with the latest and greatest iPhone that was currently available. While I enjoyed playing with the new abilities and options that jailbreaking opened up to me, I soon realized that I would never be comfortable jailbreaking my daily driver device.

iPhone Device Jailbreak

Call me old-fashioned, but I enjoy the “jail” a stock iOS device is kept in, as it also keeps me safer from malware and other hazards I might face when using a jailbroken device. iOS jailbreaking dates back to 2007 and the original iPhone.

For the first year of its existence, the iPhone and its operating system (not yet called iOS) restricted users to the stock apps that were installed at the Apple factory. Users also had access to clever, yet limited, web-based apps that developers came up with. These limitations soon began to chafe many users, who decided to break the rules and find a way to develop and install apps onto their new preciouses, without the approval of the folks in Cupertino.

As jailbreaking has grown in popularity, Apple has waged a constant battle to shut down known jailbreaking methods. They do so by updating their iOS mobile operating system in order to close security holes the jailbreaking methods make use of to break the device free from its bonds. Once Apple releases an update, the jailbreaking community then examines the new code for any security flaws that it can exploit to jailbreak the device once again. The chess game continues to this day.

The advantages of jailbreaking are attractive to users, due to the freedom it offers them to install apps that would not normally be allowed on their device. However, that same freedom offers a new batch of hazards that the users would not usually be required to face. Jailbreaking and using unauthorized software opens iOS devices up to the possible installation of malware and viruses that would normally be caught by Apple’s rigorous app review process.

The Cydia App Store, where most jailbroken apps are downloaded and installed from, does not require the same close review for inclusion in the store. This allows bad actor developers to slip in code that could possibly steal your personal information.

iPhone iOS Cydia

Software piracy is also a problem on jailbroken devices, as the lack of controls allows for easier installation of pirated apps, thus depriving developers of their rightful earnings. While software piracy is also present on stock iOS devices, the methods used are usually more complicated than on jailbroken devices, making it less attractive. Users who have jailbroken their iOS device and then have issues with it, requiring them to visit an Apple Genius Bar for service, may find themselves turned away. An Apple support article about jailbreaking notes that the company “may deny service for an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorized software.”

Apple Service People

For the reasons above, I urge you not to jailbreak your iOS device. As iOS has been updated over the last few years, Apple has added numerous features to the mobile operating system that were once only available on jailbroken devices. There are, in my humble opinion, simply not enough reasons to jailbreak a device these days. Wikipedia offers quite an informative entry on iOS jailbreaking, which goes into much more detail about the subject than available space allows me to offer here. I suggest interested readers visit the Wikipedia webpage for more information about the subject before deciding whether or not to jailbreak their device.

10 – Wipe Your iOS Device Before Selling or Donating

One really great thing about iOS devices is that they hold their value fairly well. This means that by selling your old device, you can recover a nice chunk of the purchase cost of your new device. When I bought my iPhone 8 Plus, I got $300 off the price of the new device by trading in my old iPhone 6 Plus. Before selling your old device, you should always take the time to wipe the device of all of your personal information. The process also resets the device, so it will be ready for the next owner, with no fear of them being able to access any of your information.

Note: before wiping your old iOS device, always make sure you have a good backup of it, so you can restore your apps and settings to your new device. That makes things a bit easier – unless you just particularly enjoy starting over from scratch with every new device.

To wipe a device and get it ready for its next owner, do the following: If you are wiping a device running iOS 10 or later, be sure to sign the device out of iCloud. Otherwise, the device might remain in Activation Lock, making life tougher for the next owner. How to sign out of iCloud and the iTunes & App Store:

1. If you’re using iOS 10.3 or later (this works with iOS 11 too), tap “Settings” -> “[your name].”

iPhone iOS Settings iCloud

2. Scroll down and tap “Sign Out.” Enter your Apple ID password and tap “Turn Off.”

iPhone iOS 11 Settings Sign Out
iPhone iOS Apple ID Sign Out

1. If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap “Settings” -> “iCloud” -> “Sign Out.”

2. Tap “Sign Out” again, then tap “Delete from My [device]” and enter your Apple ID password.

3. Go to “Settings” -> “iTunes & App Store” -> “Apple ID” -> “Sign Out” -> “Sign Out of iCloud and Store.”

Once that has been accomplished, do the following to erase your iOS device and restore it to its original factory settings:

1. On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, go to “Settings” -> “General” -> “Reset.”

2. Tap “Erase All Content and Settings.” (If you turned on “Find My iPhone,” you might need to enter your Apple ID and password.)

3. If asked for your device passcode or Restrictions passcode, enter it. Then tap “Erase.”

iPhone iOS Settings General
iPhone iOS Settings General Reset
iPhone iOS Erase All Content and Settings

Once the device has wiped itself clean, it should reboot and display the familiar “Welcome” greeting you saw when you first set the device up straight out of the box.

Action Steps

We’ve taken a look at quite a bit of information in this article – but nothing you can’t handle. While we’ve shown that it can be a dangerous world out there, we’ve also seen that it’s quite simple to take the steps needed to protect you and your device from the perils of the world. To keep your iOS device and all your personal data safe, always do the following:

Enable auto-lock and set as short a timeout period as is feasible.

This prevents anyone from possibly getting a look at your device and what it holds if you happen to leave it lying around.

​Turn on Two-Factor Authentication.

This ensures that even if someone guesses your iCloud password, they can’t use it to log in to your account via another device or computer without knowing a unique verification code that is only sent to devices that you trust.

Turn on “Find My iPhone.”

This highly useful feature of iOS allows you to find your iPhone or iPad if you’ve misplaced it – or worse, it’s been stolen. Using Find My iPhone, you can locate, lock and even erase their device, all remotely through a convenient web interface.

Keep your iOS device updated to the latest version of the iOS operating system.

When a new update is ready, your device will let you know. Updating usually only takes a short amount of time, and the process can even be set to run overnight.

Make Regular Backups of Your iOS Device.

Keep your device backed up. Make regular backups, both to iCloud and to your computer via iTunes. If you have a recent backup, life will be a lot easier when you need to restore your current device, or when you buy a new one.

Use a strong passcode, and on compatible models, your fingerprints via Touch ID or your face via Face ID.

This prevents anyone from picking up your unattended device and browsing your info.

Use a password manager.

If you’re using a unique password on every website or online service you use, keeping track of all those passwords is mind-boggling. A password manager protects your login information behind a single password, making it much simpler to keep track of everything.

Protect your Notes app with a password or Touch ID.

Sure, you might not need to protect this week’s grocery list, but you know that there’s plenty of info you’ve jotted down in the Notes app that prying eyes shouldn’t see.

Don’t jailbreak your iOS device.

This is a personal decision. I’ve decided it’s not worth it to me, due to the security risks. I cannot stress this enough: if you jailbreak your device, the security perils far outweigh any benefits you might gain.

Always wipe your device and set it back to its original factory settings before selling or donating the device.

This ensures no one will gain access to your information and allows the new owner to get a fresh start with the device.
By making use of the 10 handy tips I’ve laid out in this article, you can ensure you’ll be protected from hackers, be able to find your device if it is lost or stolen, keep your data safe from being monitored and make a well-informed decision as to whether or not to jailbreak your device. Stay safe, my friends.

This article by Bill Hess was previously published on Pixelprivacy.com

About the Author: Bill Hess is the Founder of Pixelprivacy.com

AI and Blockchain – Super Cool or a Little Creepy?

If you’re a tiny bit freaked out by the enormous potential of AI and blockchain, you’re not the only one. When Dolly the sheep was cloned in the 90s, a pertinent question arose. Just because we can, does it mean we should?

Just because AI and blockchain technologies combined may stop crimes before they happen, replace human jobs with robots, and assign every “thing” in the stratosphere an identity–does it mean they should?

Are AI and blockchain combined super cool or a little creepy? Let’s take a closer look.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI and blockchain and are obviously two very different foundational technologies. AI uses machine learning to analyze complex data models, identify patterns, and recreate them, eventually mimicking the actions of a human being. Sophia the robot? Right. And yes… a little creepy.

Hanson Robotics may have treated the world to a dose of AI at its very best. But not everything that involves Artificial Intelligence is as visually stunning, unfathomably expensive (or mentally disturbing) as Sophia.

So, if you’re worried about robots wiping out the human race, you can probably relax for now. You have to admit, as creepy as the spontaneous jokes and flawless facial expressions were, they were also pretty cool:

AI isn’t all about making robots come to life either. In fact, we’re constantly using AI in daily applications, perhaps without even realizing. Think LinkedIn and its predictive text chat, Siri or Alexa, for slightly more subtle examples of AI without the paparazzi.

Blockchain

Without diving too deeply into the particularities of blockchain (you can read more about it here if you want to), its main characteristics are decentralization, transparency, immutability, and ability to govern autonomously with smart contracts.

Through blockchain technology, we can send funds from one country to another without worrying about conversion fees in next to no time. We can speculate on the future price of Bitcoin, track items in the supply chain, store public records securely, eradicate poverty, wipe out corruption, trade energy credits, give power back to musicians, and hundreds of other extremely cool things.

But blockchain has a few characteristics that can give the hibigeebies as well. Smart governance can be hard to get your head around, the idea that code is law, and that at some point in the future, it’s likely that IoT technology and blockchain will create autonomous things with no living person behind them.

“What happens when something goes bad? Who is responsible?” asked Malta’s Steve Tendon in his interview with us. “These questions need new laws to be addressed.”

When AI and Blockchain Work Together

There are several ways in which Artificial Intelligence and blockchain can work together, to help each other reach their full potential. For example, we’re still a long way off smart governance while issues exist with smart contracts. Namely that they’re only as good as the developer who programmed them and they cannot leave room for good faith or human interpretation. Perhaps through machine learning and AI, smart contracts can reach their full potential and autonomous societies can exist.

AI - Internet of Things

The decentralized nature of blockchain technology also means that AI computing power can be spread over nodes to drive down the cost and make it more accessible to all.

But, perhaps the main common thread between AI and blockchain is actually data. Sophia said in her speech, “think of me a smart input-output system.” Good AI is only as good as the data fed into it. This is where teaming the two technologies can get really useful (and really cool, as well).

Rather than an army of Sophias being poorly programmed and driverless cars crashing into pedestrians, blockchain can ensure that the data given machines is high-quality. And verified through its cryptography and immutability.

Since AI depends on meaningful data, blockchain could soon be a huge enabler to allow machines to learn faster and more efficiently. Not just Sophia, but financial transactions, smart contracts, predictive text, and more.

Some Everyday Examples

Intelligent Trading Foundation and AiX are examples of trading platforms that use AI and blockchain together. Making use of deep recurrent neural networks to make predictions on price movements of cryptocurrencies. By harnessing the latest AI tech, they can figure out whether the price of cryptocurrencies will go up or down. By using AI for intelligence and blockchain for trading, these platforms can provide the latest in technology on a secure platform.

DeepBrain Chain is an AI computing platform powered by blockchain technology to integrate computing resources that are currently scattered all over the world. Seeing a pattern? DATA.

DeepBrain Chain He Yong

In the energy industry, companies like Electrify are using blockchain to support AI and improve the efficiency of their network operations, reducing energy bills by as much as 25 percent. Blockchain can ensure the security and privacy of the data they process using AI and also provide enough data to make rigorous Artificial Intelligence possible.

In finance, AI and blockchain work together to improve efficiencies as well. Artificial Intelligence can automate the repetitive tasks and blockchain can secure the data. And the list of cool (and creepy) projects goes on.

The Takeaway

We may not have a Bladerunner situation on our hands or a Minority Report in which we find ourselves massacred by robots or slammed behind bars before committing a crime. But still, there is something a little ominous about a robot that looks like a human saying, “you be nice to me and I’ll be nice to you.”


This article was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Christina is a B2B writer and MBA, specializing in fintech, cybersecurity, blockchain, and other geeky areas. When she’s not at her computer, you’ll find her surfing, traveling, or relaxing with a glass of wine.

 

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