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Is it really wise to PIN-lock your iPhone?

I just read a great story about a guy, Sam, whose iPhone had been stolen more or less right out of his pocket. Eventually he managed to track down the thief, using MobileMe and other web services to scare the shit out of him…

Well, I’m not going to re-tell his story. He did a good job telling it himself over at his blog.

What I want to do, is raise a question. Sam’s story made me think a lot about what I would do, should my iPhone ever get stolen or lost. I wouldn’t want a thief to read my mails or view my pictures so I set up a PIN lock for my iPhone. Something I had never down out of pure laziness and for reasons of convenience. Now I’m running around typing in my four digit PIN code every time I want to do something with my iPhone – and after three days I have to say: it doesn’t really annoy me anymore.

But it is this first line of defense really a good one to use? Should someone steal my iPhone WITHOUT a PIN lock, he’d probably use it for hours, maybe days before completely resetting it to its factory defaults, giving me the opportunity to track him down via „Find my iPhone“, one of MobileMe’s services. I also might be able to find out whom he called using my phone, thus getting the names of his friends/relatives and, maybe eventually, even his own name. I don’t know what the German police would say to Sebastian Schack, P.I., should I present them with name, street address and maybe even more of my iPhone’s thief – but I would assume, chances would be quite good to get my gadget back.

Now, having this PIN lock thingy set up, I’m not so sure how the story would go. Without the PIN code the iPhone would be useless to any thief (or dishonest finder) and, should he be any tech savvy at all, he’d probably do a complete reset of the iPhone as soon as he gets home…

So what to do?

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