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How to Increase Privacy on iPhones

by Tracy Knauer •

These days, iPhones offer many more privacy features out-of-the-box than they used to. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to make Apple iOS more secure and private than it already is. Here are additional steps you can take to increase iPhone privacy.

  1. Disable browser cookies. Turn off cookies in the Safari browser. This may be inconvenient, but it will prevent Safari from keeping you signed into websites. That way, people who get unauthorized access to your phone won’t be able to access password-protected accounts. Disabling cookies will also generally make it harder for websites to track you.
  2. Avoid insecure Wi-Fi. In the Wi-Fi section of Settings, configure your phone so that it asks you before joining wireless networks. This will prevent it from automatically connecting to a rogue or unsecured wireless network. Those connection could lead to data theft when it is exchanged wirelessly without being encrypted.
  3. Use strong authentication. Use TouchID (which uses your fingerprint for authentication) if possible to log in to your phone. If TouchID is not available on your device, turn off the Simple Passcode authentication in iPhone settings and change it to use a password instead.
  4. Don’t use iCloud. Apple iCloud is convenient, and the syncing features are easy to turn on on an iPhone. But if you want to store your data privately in the cloud, you should use a service designed for privacy and security instead of iCloud. (Click here for more on storing data privately in the cloud.)
  5. Secure your email connection. In the Mail, Contacts and Calendar section of Settings, check the configuration for each of your email accounts and make sure they are set up to use SSL encryption. This will prevent your emails from being read by network eavesdroppers while they are in transit. (If you access your email through a Web browser on your iPhone rather than a standalone app, you don’t need to worry about this — but you should make your sure webmail provider uses HTTPS encryption, or you face the same privacy risk.)
  6. Turn on auto-lock. Last but not least, make sure you have your iPhone’s simple auto-lock feature enabled. It will automatically lock your screen when you are away for a fixed amount of time. That may be a small inconvenience, but it adds lots of iPhone privacy.

Comments 1

  1. On the topic of TouchID and Passcode

    -Set “Erase Data” so the phone will be wiped after 10 failed passcode attempts (with this option, I feel comfortable with a non-obvious 6 digit numeric passcode).
    -Under “Allow Access When Locked”, probably all should be deselected, but definitely Wallet and Siri (Siri can give away privacy in sooo many ways).
    -If you feel you may be compelled to unlock the phone (perhaps at a border crossing?) don’t register the most obvious fingers. After 3 failed attempts it will require the passcode. Of course then you may have to deal with ‘requests’ for the code, but at least you’ve closed one avenue.

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