Keep your friends close and your logins closer

As computers evolve so do their security, and mobile phones are no exception.

Lately we have seen an increase in the number of customers requesting help recovering their devices from a locked state.

Whether we can help or not depends on the level of security that is stopping the user accessing their device.

For instance, if the device displays your username but you don’t know the password, there’s usually a way to recover it.

And if the device is only asking for a password, pin or pattern, there’s a good chance we can wipe the device clean to allow you to use it again.

However, the top-most level of security is where a handset has been linked to a specific account, such as an iCloud or Google account. It is in these instances that only the service providers (Apple or Google in these examples) can help in regaining access.

“If your device is linked to an email address that you may one day lose access to, change it.”

If your device is linked to a specific account, you need to make 100% certain you know the username and password for it. If your phone is ever reset (for instance, if it crashes and requires a reset), you will need to re-enter the username and password. If you do not have this information then you could be left with a paperweight, unless the service provider can help.

Is this type of security a problem?

When used correctly, account linking is an almost impenetrable level of security that discourages theft. Sadly, many people are in such a hurry to use their new devices that they don’t realise when they’re agreeing to it, and may then have difficulty reversing it if they don’t memorise the correct login details.

To avoid encountering this type of problem, we recommend checking your device’s settings to find out what account it’s linked to, if any. Ensure you know the full email and password for this – perhaps by going to the provider’s web site and logging in.

Remember: you need to know the full email address, including the part after the @ symbol. And passwords are always case-sensitive, so make sure you know where the capital letters are.

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, if your device is linked to an email address that you may one day lose access to (for instance, if it’s provided by work or a broadband provider), you should change it to an email address that you will never lose access to, such as gmail.com.

Don’t let it happen to you!

Found others with the same problem as yours? It’s not unusual

As a repair centre, our customers often research problems before bringing their devices in for repair. It’s perfectly sensible: if it’s a simple fix, why not try to resolve it yourself?

Well, we happen to like helping people, and are happy to be your first port of call. It not only helps us gauge the popular faults that people are faced with, but also prepares us to help the next customer who has the same problem in a timely fashion.

When researching, customers are almost certain to find forum posts that list similar faults. This concerns people immediately. Have they picked the wrong device? Is there an inherent fault with their phone? Will there be a recall?

The answer to those questions is almost always ‘no’. The sad truth is, every device has some type of fault, and therefore a matching forum post. And search engines like Google will point you straight to those forum posts to hopefully give you a solution.

The moral of the story is: when you search online for the fault you’re facing, don’t be alarmed if you find what you’re looking for.