The iPhone is a modern marvel — an impressively powerful device that fits in your pocket. Your smartphone can transform the way you work or play, increasing efficiency, enjoyment, or both.
But smartphones have a dark side as well. They carry so much information about us, and yet they aren’t hard to lose.
There are all sorts of smartphone-related privacy concerns that we should all be thinking about. Unfortunately, too many people fail to consider the importance of privacy on their phones.
Apple has long touted its commitment to privacy and proper handling of user data. And the company does a far better job than some of the competition.
But did you know that some of the most important iPhone privacy settings may be disabled on your device? You may have shut some off years ago and not realized it, and others are turned off by default.
If you’re looking to enhance the way you use privacy settings on iPhone, the info below will help you do so.
Review Location Services
The first step in reining in your iPhone privacy settings is to check Location Services. It is in the settings app, under Privacy.
Several years ago, it came to light that many apps were tracking users way more than they had any reason to— even when the apps weren’t running. But beginning in iOS 13, Apple started to make this user-hostile practice more obvious to its users.
For the ultimate in privacy, simply toggle Location Services off. However, you’ll lose a great deal of functionality this way. Many apps have a legitimate reason to use your location while you’re using the app.
A restaurant app, for example, can have your food ready on time or even brought out directly if it knows you’re at the restaurant. But very few, if any, apps should have blanket access to your location data.
If you can’t turn off Location Services entirely, take the time to look at the list of apps in this window. Set apps that need access to “While Using.” That way, they can see your location when you open the app, but not once you exit.
If you can’t think why an app should need your location, turn it to Never or Ask. Only a select few apps should ever have “Always” selected.
Tightening up who can see where you are is a huge first step in utilizing iPhone privacy settings to their fullest. Next up: Tracking.
Did you know that many apps try to track your activity in other apps and on the web? Many users don’t realize this.
Once again, there are situations where this behavior makes sense. But many apps do it in ways that seem unnecessary or even underhanded.
In iOS 14, Apple made changes to what happens behind the scenes with tracking. For maximum privacy, click on Tracking (in the Privacy menu within the Settings app). Toggle “Allow Apps to Request to Track” off.
You’ll see a note that some apps will still try to track you in other ways. But turning off this toggle stops them from using a sneaky approach.
Review Each Remaining Section
In the Privacy page within the Settings app, you should see a relatively long list of clickable items below Tracking. We know there are a bunch, but each one shouldn’t take very much time.
Click on each of these sections to see which apps can access this area of your iPhone. The first one is Contacts. Review the apps that are listed and toggled on.
Do you see any apps listed here that you don’t think you should have access to your contacts? Turn them off using the toggle button on the right.
Take the time to review each category, but pay special attention to these:
Many iPhone owners have photos on their devices that they don’t want just anyone seeing. Make sure you trust the apps that can see your photos and disable any apps that don’t need that access.
The same goes for Bluetooth, Microphone, and Health. You don’t want just anyone locating you, listening in, or seeing your health information.
Thanks to Apple’s efforts in iOS 13 and iOS 14, iPhone users now have greater control of their privacy. Follow the steps in this quick guide to controlling your privacy better by using the iPhone privacy settings to their full potential. By taking control of your privacy, you can start reclaiming ownership of your digital data, gaining security and peace of mind.
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