Apple’s privacy and security features are one of its main selling points. They are an important reason why iPhone fans remain loyal to the brand. Moreover, Apple improves these features on every iteration, so the iOS 16 has even better privacy features and is even more challenging to hack than before.
With every update, users have less and less to do to improve their privacy, except for installing a VPN to protect their everyday phone use from snoopers. However, there are still a few Apple privacy settings that you can tweak if you want optimal iPhone privacy and security.
Sharing & Access
Sharing is a mega-useful function that saves time and lessens data usage. Still, a quick review could shock you when you see how many people have access to info on your phone. Keep tabs on who has access to your “Find My” calender, shared photo albums, and shared notes via your list of contact:
Go to Settings >> Privacy & Security >> Safety check >> Manage Sharing & Access. Click Emergency Reset if you want a fresh start.
It’s critical to keep your phone’s software up to date to protect you from exploits and new threats. You can set your phone to receive updates without the hassle of notifications and reminders automatically:
Go to Settings >> General >> Software Update >> Automatic Updates >> Toggle the Security Responses & System Files button to “on”
Don’t Auto-Join Wi-Fi networks
Wireless carrier networks sometimes set up public Wi-Fi networks for users’ convenience. Your iPhone is set to treat them as known networks and will automatically connect when you encounter any. But hackers sometimes set up malicious hotspots that impersonate your carrier’s hotspots. If you accidentally connect to their network, they will get access to everything on your phone. To protect your iPhone or iPad from automatic connections:
Go to Settings > Wi-Fi>> Tap next to the Wi-Fi network >> Turn off Auto-Join.
Prevent apps from tracking your exact location
Not all apps need to know your exact location at every moment, and unless they depend on this information to provide a service that you specifically requested, there’s no need to give them that information. So instead, select the useful ones (Waze, Uber, Doordash, etc.) but block the rest until they’re needed:
Go to Settings >> Choose the app (e.g., Instagram) >> Location >> Toggle off Precise Location. The alternative to this is to up VPN split tunneling for your iPhone.
Set up VPN split tunneling for your iPhone
Split tunneling VPN allows you to choose which apps need VPN protection but allows the ones you trust to access the internet directly. Any app that carries private or sensitive information should connect via the secure tunnel of your VPN. Trusted apps need not go via the VPN tunnel, especially the apps for local services (delivery, etc.) that require access to your precise location.
That’s a very important setting if you travel regularly, especially if you travel abroad and use international carriers or Wi-Fi suppliers. And while you’re there, you’ll need a VPN to access local and home content because connecting from an unknown international location may get you locked out of your account at some critical moment.
Split tunneling lets you maintain two separate connections simultaneously. You could use inverse split tunneling, which encrypts your whole connection by default and only permit trusted applications to access the internet directly. Alternatively, you can use app-based split tunneling to pick the apps you want to route via VPN while the rest of your traffic remains unencrypted.
How to enable split tunneling, for example, on NordVPN: Go to the NordVPN app settings (cogwheel icon in the top-left corner of the map screen) >> VPN connection >> Select Split tunneling >> Choose the apps to exclude from your secure VPN connection.
Get rid of unnecessary apps
The rule of thumb for app permissions is that all apps want access to everything, even if they don’t need it, and then they sell or fail to protect your data. It’s irritating and invasive, and it’s best to deny permission and uninstall these intrusive apps. Nevertheless, one should do some housekeeping every few months and check the permissions you granted your apps when you installed them:
Go to Settings >> Apps >> Select each app in turn and toggle permit or deny.
Check all your privacy settings at once
There is a way to mass-manage your apps rather than going through them individually:
Go to Settings >> Privacy >> Tracking >> Toggle off the Allow Apps to Track setting. However, be aware that apps like Google, Facebook, and other platforms where you have an account may still be able to track you as part of their all-encompassing, impenetrable user agreements.
Always keep Privacy in mind
Not even Apple can protect you from oversharing on social media, sharing sensitive data via insecure apps, and careless behavior on the internet. It’s a good idea to remember that Big Tech – and bad guys – may be watching you!