In today’s digital world, you can never be too careful when it comes to your privacy. There will always be something or someone trying to steal your sensitive information. Apple gives you a full set of privacy-focused options on your iPhone. Here are 9 essential iOS security settings you should change right now.
1. Reduce Your Auto-Lock Timeout
The faster your iPhone’s screen locks, the less likely someone will be able to access it (especially if you leave it somewhere behind, by accident). To avoid your information being seen by the wrong person, you can reduce the auto-lock timeout by going to “Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Auto-Lock.” We recommend setting this option at 30 seconds.
2. Remove Lock Screen Access to Widgets & Notifications
Even if your iOS device is locked, someone can easily see your information if they swipe right to access your widgets and notifications. To remove those from your lock screen, go to “Settings -> Face ID & Passcode -> Allow Access When Locked.”
This is where you can disable certain types of information (and features) from showing up on your lock screen. We recommend disabling “Today View,” “Notification Center,” and “Wallet.”
3. Turn Off “Share My Location”
You know what they say, sharing is caring, but maybe not when it comes to your location. The less information you give out, the better. To prevent your iPhone from tracking your location, go to “Settings -> [Your Name] -> Find My -> Share My Location,” then flip the switch to disable this feature.
4. Block Cross-Site Trackers via Safari
You would be surprised by the number of online trackers that collect sensitive information. Pretty much any website has trackers, but many use them for malicious purposes. You can put an end to this practice and update your iOS security by going to “Settings -> Safari -> Prevent Cross-Site Trackers.”
While checking Safari’s settings, we also recommend enabling the “Fraudulent Website Warning” feature. And in case you’re easily annoyed by pop-ups, this is where you disable those as well.
5. Disable Diagnostics & Usage Data
It’s also a good idea to turn off diagnostics-related data since this is information on how you use your iOS device that can also be shared with app developers. If you want to keep this information private, go to “Settings -> Privacy -> Analytics & Improvements.”
This is where you’ll find a whole range of options, letting you decide when and what you want to share with Apple and third-party developers. If you want to keep your privacy under control, there’s no reason to leave any of the features you’ll see there enabled.
6. Prevent App Tracking Requests
The latest version of iOS brings a very interesting feature that puts an end to tracking via apps. That means you can now decide whether to allow certain apps to collect and track your data or want to stop this practice altogether.
Navigate to “Settings -> Privacy -> Tracking,” then flip the switch next to “Allow Apps to Request to Track” to disable this feature. If you change your mind at any moment, you can always return to this feature to re-enable tracking requests or grant access to individual apps.
7. Disable Notifications Preview
The notifications preview can be very useful in many cases. However, it can also be dangerous, as anyone that happens to pass by just as the notifications come in can see them. To protect your privacy, disable them by going to “Settings -> Notifications -> Messages -> Show Previews.” You can either disable this feature or set it to “When Unlocked.”
8. Limit Ad Tracking
It’s no secret that our information is used to show ads that we may be interested in. If you don’t want your information to be shared at all, go to “Settings -> Privacy -> Apple Advertising,” then disable the “Personalized Ads” feature.
9. Auto-Delete Messages
With so many things to do, you could easily forget to erase certain messages (even though they’re encrypted if you use iMessage). Why not let your iPhone do the work for you by auto-deleting your messages? To set this up, go to “Settings -> Messages -> Keep Messages -> 30 Days.” Do note that this will delete all messages, not only the sensitive ones.
You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your digital privacy. The tips mentioned in this article on upgrading your iOS security will keep your information away from others. However, make sure to stay in the loop regarding what’s next for iOS in terms of privacy, as we expect additional privacy-protecting options to reach our phones later this year.