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> a few attempts to unlock it with a fake fingerprint, and then they'd have to enter my code. And if they fail to enter my code 10 times, the phone is wiped.

Are you saying that random people can pick up your phone when you go to the bathroom, touch the home button 3 times, and then enter "1111" 10 times, and wipe your phone? Is there some protection against this?

It starts throttling attempts before going full lockdown. But, yeah, don't leave assholes alone with your phone.

There's some aphorism about "assholes" and children which my brain thinks fits here but that same brain won't recall what it is.

Anyhow, my initial thought was, perhaps not an asshole but a child? I could see a child playing with the phone and wiping it in quite short time. But other commenters pointed out it's not the default and there's cloud back-up it doesn't seem a major problem.

The attempts go up quickly. First try, wait a minute. Then 5, then 10, then 30 mins, then an hour, 3 hours, a day, a week etc.

My friend's 12-month old baby reset the unlock code on her mother's phone and they ended up having to wipe it completely in order to recover.

This is completely unrelated, but why do people say "12 months", "18 months", and "24 months" rather than 1 year, 1.5 years, and 2 years? I don't get it. I'd understand if they're younger than a year old (eg "My son is seven months old!"), but not once the age can be expressed in years.

It's a really neat question, and as a new-ish parent I've given it some thought. In fact, there's even another layer to it: shortly after birth, people tend to count in weeks rather than months.

My guess at an answer is that human beings are more comfortable thinking about numbers that are small integers (between 1 and 20 or so?), and that (roughly speaking) we often want to be able to give a bit more precision than you'd get from just "1" vs. "2".[1]

So for baby growth, parents will talk about how many days old their child is for the first week or so, and then use "weeks" for the first few months, and then use "months" until they're around 2 years old. (There's also a real sense in which the pace of child development seems to progress on a sort of log scale: change is very rapid at first, but gradually slows down. The use of different age units seems to roughly parallel that.)

As an aside, this same human preference is presumably also why the English developed different units for (say) inches, feet, and miles rather than using one of those units for everything. [Side note: is there any common English unit between yards and miles? I grew up using "blocks", which is handy, but that's pretty city-specific.]

[1] By "precision" I'm thinking more or less about "relative uncertainty". If you assume that an integer value is accurate to within +/- 0.5, then the percent uncertainty on 1 or 2 is so large as to make the information almost useless, while the implied uncertainty on a big number like 50 is probably smaller than is justified for most contexts.

Chains & rods are what first sprang to mind, but I don't think they were ever common. The definition of 'furlong' from http://physics.info/system-english/ makes it seem like it could have been in common usage:

  Literally, the length of a furrow. A sensible length for
  farmers that later evolved into the acre, which is discussed
  later in this section. A standard furrow is 220 yards long
  or ⅛ mile
Google's ngram tool makes it seem like it was never a contender with the yard, mile, or league.

Furlongs still are in common usage in certain applications. Horse racing, particularly.

Blocks is a good one, although it's not a formal unit, I generally tend to associate it with about a 1/10 of a mile.

Babies grow fast, so there can be a fairly large difference between twelve months and fourteen months, or fourteen months and eighteen months. You can't express those values well in decimal format, so you can't discuss milestones and development in decimal format. My experience is that people usually switch over to years once the child is older than two.

Because there's a lot of difference in development even from month to month, so the extra resolution is needed.

I've read the other replies and my answer is pretty different. I think this has to do with a fact that up until 24 months many toddler-targeted things are spoken of in such fashion:

- Clothes are sized in months 0-3, 3-6 etc.. - During doctor visits you discuss developmental milestones expressed in months.

Etc. You get used to it, since at that age the development of a child is extremely condensed and years simply don't provide enough resolution.

Because numbers like the following are less clear:

- 1.0833 years old: 13 months

- 1.4166 years old: 17 months

- 1.8333 years old: 22 months

So, is it easier to use years on the clean decimals and months whenever it gets hairy, or to just settle on months?

Protection against what ? That is the desired behaviour of most people. And if it isn't then you can simple disable the behaviour.

It's not like you will lose data since it is backed up to iCloud.

I think you misunderstood. The person entering bogus passwords is not a thief, but an otherwise trusted prankster. For example, a brother.

This has always been available as a setting on iOS and it is not the default. Most companies though will install a profile which enables this to a custom value of retry attempts if you add the company email (typically exchange ) account to your phone

> Protection against what ?

Um, protection against random people wiping your phone maybe?

How do you expect the phone to distinguish between "password entered 10 times incorrectly by asshole" and "password entered 10 times incorrectly by thief"?

If this is a problem with your circle of friends: find new friends, or disable this feature.

Even without TouchID, iirc on previous iPhone models entering an invalid password 10 times would trigger a wipe. So not a new threat -- just balancing maintaining the confidentiality of your data with the DOS risk.

Well, you do have to explicitly turn that option on. It's in no means a default.

If you use the iPhone Configuration Utility, you can even reduce the attempts down 2 before it wipes itself.

I guess it's useful in circumstances where the data on the phone is more valuable than the phone itself.

That is no different than the current situation - enter the PIN code in wrong enough times and phone locks down. There's just an additional (print reader) barrier in the way

Yes, backup your data.

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