Security is something that we may overlook more than we should. We carry around extremely sensitive information in our pockets, and yet we act like our iPhones are secure enough on their own. Don’t get me wrong; Apple is doing its best to keep all of their devices as secure as possible. However, none of its efforts matter if we don’t take our time to check what kinds of information we’re giving to third-party apps (or to Apple itself).
There are a lot of things you can do to keep your iPhone as secure as possible. Simply exploring its privacy settings will show you a bunch of information that you might not want to share.
If you don’t even know where to start, here are six settings you can change to keep your private information, well, private.
Don’t Trust Most Third-Party Keyboards
Keyboards are a dime a dozen on the App Store. There are a bunch of companies offering keyboards with different styles and functionalities. Some of them are reliable, but you need to be careful when you use a keyboard from a developer you don’t know.
When you use a keyboard, you grant it full access. This means the developer can transmit any type of information they get from the keyboard. This includes your address, credit card, and any other sensitive information you type using their keyboard.
To check what keyboards you have, go to Settings, then General and select Keyboards. The first keyboards you see should be the ones provided by Apple, below those two are the other keyboards you’ve installed. Tap on them to grant or deny full access.
Choose Which Apps Have Access to Your Information
Sometimes, apps will ask you for access to certain types of information that it doesn’t really need, or that you just don’t want to share. More often than not, this could be a mistake from the developers. Still, it’s recommended that you check which apps can access your information.
Head over the Privacy section of your iPhone’s settings. There, you’ll see a bunch of categories that different applications have requested access to. You can tap on these categories and see which apps have access to that information. You can also disable their access completely.
Stop USB Accessories from Staying Connected
Having your iPhone connected to something else via USB can make it vulnerable to certain types of hacking. If you have to plug your iPhone into someone else’s computer or device, blocking that connection after a while could be a great way to secure your data.
This feature works by blocking the connection via USB to your iPhone if it’s been more than an hour since you last unlocked it. To enable this, you need to go to Settings, scroll down to Touch ID & Passcode, and select USB Accessories at the bottom of the list.
Manage Which Apps Use Location Services
Location Services is another option in the Privacy section of your iPhone. This feature uses GPS, Bluetooth, crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers to determine your exact location and then use it in the apps that need it.
While some apps, like Google Maps, need Location Services to work properly, there are other apps that don’t necessarily need access to keep working.
In your Privacy settings, tap on Location Services. You can see which apps can use your location, or disable this feature altogether. Although, doing so will limit the functionality of many apps that need your location to work.
Limit Ad Tracking
Have you ever Googled something only to see it seconds later as an ad? These are called targeted ads, and they’re basically how websites are able to offer free content to readers like you.
But, although targeted ads might be necessary for websites to function, it can feel a bit weird when they know exactly what you’re looking for.
Your iPhone has an advertising option that uses your information to deliver better-targeted ads. While Apple states they don’t provide third-parties with your personal data, you can still disable this option.
In the Privacy option in your Settings, scroll down and tap on Advertising. Once there, toggle the Limit Ad Tracking feature.
Turn off Significant Locations
Significant Locations is a feature you might want to look into. When turned on, Significant Locations lets your iPhone and your iCloud connected devices learn what places are significant to you. This means that your iPhone will learn which places you visit the most.
Apple says this is used is to provide helpful information to different apps like Calendar and Maps, but these apps work just fine without this feature on.
If you want to disable this feature, go to your Privacy settings and tap on Location Services, then scroll down and select System Services. Scroll down once more and select Significant Locations. Use the Significant Locations toggle to turn the feature off if you desire.