How the iPod touch is the Most Secure Way to Communicate

Forget the idea of the iPhone as the most secure communication device. It isn’t, because it is a phone, and phones (by design) leave constant trails behind: They constantly check for the cell tower with the strongest signal to inform the network where to route calls and data, an article published by Wired explains. So what’s the most secure device to communicate, then? The answer: the iPod touch.

ipod touch

Yeah, you read it right. And here is why: It doesn’t have a cellular connection or a SIM card, which means zero phone records associated with it, so it already has a major privacy advantage over any other phone.

But that’s not all. Here’s another reason: If you have Wi-Fi, you can communicate with anyone using an encrypted app. But until then, you may want to consider other factors as well. We know that iOS has been designed with security at its core, but it is in your best interests to keep the system up to date.

You can achieve a high level of privacy if you use a six- (plus) digit passcode, because, you know, anyone with the right tool can brute-force the default four-digit code. Another important step is to turn off any automatic iCloud backup feature, so your data won’t be broadcasted. Yup, that means no iCloud backup, no photos, etc.

It is highly recommended that, if you want to keep your device secure, you dedicate this device to that single purpose. So don’t use it for anything else, meaning you can read your emails or browse the Web from another device. Finally, you need the right apps for encrypted instant messaging and voice calls. Signal is highly recommended, but you can also use Telegram or any other encrypted apps recommended by security researchers. And, by the way, you can do this with your Wi-Fi-only iPad as well.

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  • P1l0t3

    “So don’t use it for anything else, meaning you can read your emails or browse the Web from another device”…
    Then it is just a secure gaming pad ? Or over price secure book reader ?

  • K.

    “…for encrypted instant messaging and voice calls…”

  • Peter Pottinger

    If the app encrypts the data why would it matter if it goes over wifi or mobile?

  • I think they’re assuming someone wants complete anonymity. If you’re using a cellphone, your messages might be secure, but your location could still be tracked through the cellular provider.

  • Peter Pottinger

    And you have the mistaken belief the internet protocol is any more anonymous?

  • Personally I don’t really care. But I think the point of the article was that there’s less that can be tracked. If all you’re using on the iPod is a secure messaging app, I would think it’s unlikely you could be tracked through that usage, or at the very least, it would be much harder to find you than going to a Telco with a subpoena.

  • Peter Pottinger

    “I would think it’s unlikely ” I don’t need to “think” I can tell you it is very likely and very easy to examine tcp/ip packet headers and other information on any traffic sent over the net to determine the geographical location of orgin.

    so in short, using data is no more or less secure than using the internet.

  • definingsound

    A phone stays connected to cell towers constantly, and subscriber location information is kept available by telco’s for 3+ years, because of the large number of legal requests for those records. Similarly, the text/voice messages are time stamped and stored, so that a single subpoena can actually be used to develop a narrative for use in an investigation, showing both a person’s communication and location.

    The smarter iphoneincanada readers that knock over banks, hack ATM’s, commit armed robbery; all switch their cell phones into airplane mode, on the days they plan to “work”.

    Ivan is suggesting to those same readers that they can actually use an iPod touch to coordinate their activities on “work days”, with almost zero risk of providing a narrative of their location and conversation.

    Pottinger, let’s pretend you’re working on a case. You need to pinpoint someone’s location from 10 months ago. You are suggesting to look for IP packets of a mobile wifi device. IP packets are not stored anywhere, so your assertion that you can find them using IP packets is false. IP packets only exist for the fleeting moments between request/delivery. Your best investigative bet would be to provide subpoena’s to every wifi Starbucks/McDonalds that your person of interest might have been to on “work day”, and demand the MAC address records from their router, from 10 months ago. And if that identifying information was somehow retrieved, would a defence lawyer be unable to explain the McDonald’s visit?

  • I had no idea some of our readers are capable of such sophisticated and nefarious activities… 😀

  • Peter Pottinger

    You don’t need to explain it to me, I worked for an ISP for years and I am myself a software developer.

    Almost everything you have said is incorrect. Ip requests are routed through dozens of routers and servers of which almost all of them contain logs of the traffic and can be put together, like humpty dumpty. Do you think simply using the internet is going to stop the feds from a subpoena?

    I would get into more detail but its going to be almost impossible to have a real conversation with somebody so ignorant of how the internet protocol works

  • definingsound

    Pottinger, it seems we are thinking of tracking different types of crime. Your methods can track someone performing criminal activities on the Internet. Hackers and such. It sounds like you are referring to just “finding” the person at all. You are talking about “the feds” (RCMP?), I am talking about normal everyday police. Police trying to gather evidence on a different kind of person, one performing “physical presence” criminal activities, where evidence is being presented by the crown to a jury. To a jury, phone location + text messages are very convincing. A humpty dumpty assembly of router logs showing weak association with physical crime locations will not convince even the most tech-savvy of juries.

    I don’t believe Ivan’s article implied that an iPod touch could be a secure internet device. He didn’t write about TOR, he didn’t suggest that hackers should consider the device for the times they need to “work”. No, the article clearly references instead that it can be used as a secure phone-alternative.

  • Peter Pottinger

    Semantics aside, using mobile data is no more secure than using a cable modem and vice versa. Please don’t fool yourself into believing this.

    If somehow you are suggesting that in the event of a crime the police would simply “give up” because obtaining evidence of a crime is difficult or that juries would be presented with only “weak association with physical crime locations” as the full case, I would suggest you stick with being a law abiding citizen.