These iPhone features will protect your security and privacy – TechCrunch


A lot has changed in iPhone and iPad security and privacy in just a few years. As security threats have evolved, security features and privacy protections have been built into your iPhone and iPad.

Some of the basics you already know. Keeping your devices up to date with the latest software is key to staying safe and should automatically update overnight when you’re less likely to use them. iOS and iPadOS software also come with a password manager to store your online account credentials. And don’t forget to protect your Apple account with two-factor authentication to keep your Apple and iCloud account data safe.

Fortunately, for most other security settings and features, they are already enabled by default. This means you’re protected from malicious data-stealing cables or forensic devices copying data from your phone thanks to Apple’s USB Restrictions. It also means your phone will detect broken passwords and automatically encrypt your website logins whenever possible.

The top four things to know for optimal iPhone security:

1. Set a longer lock screen passcode

Going from a four digit passcode to a six or more digit passcode will make it much harder for your phone data to be compromised. Picture: Tech Crunch

Many people still use the same lock screen passcode for years, so much so that many still use the legacy four digits to secure their phone. Even if you use your fingerprint or your face to unlock your phone or tablet, your device is only as safe as the code that protects it. Just adding a few extra digits to your passcode will make it much harder for a thief or attacker to break into your phone or tablet and steal your data.

Go to Settings so Touch ID and passcode and enter your current password. When you go to Change password, you can set a longer password of six or more digits. Just hit Access code options, and knock Custom numeric code if you just want to keep the numeric keypad on the lock screen, or Custom alphanumeric code if you want the full keyboard.

2. Stop apps from tracking you unnecessarily

iPhone Security: A screenshot on an iPhone of the Tracking menu in Settings.

You can prevent apps from collecting your personal information by disabling tracking. Picture: Tech Crunch

Apps are often filled with ads and trackers that collect your location data and other device data. Apps often do this to make money. The data they collect can be used to target you with advertisements, or more recently it has been discovered to be used by law enforcement and immigration agencies to track people without having to get of mandate. In 2021, Apple introduced App Tracking Transparency, a feature that gives iPhone and iPad users the option to allow ad and location tracking — or turn it off altogether.

App Tracking Transparency is enabled by default, but you can always check by going to Settingsso Privacyso Monitoring and make sure that Allow apps to request tracking is off.

3. Share photos without locations

iPhone Security: Two screenshots showing sharing a photo on an iPhone by deleting location data.

You can share photos with friends without having to include potentially sensitive location data. Picture: Tech Crunch

Photos taken on your iPhone or iPad also include information about the photo, called metadata, such as the time and date the photo was taken, and the specific location the photo was taken from. This location data helps online services tag your photos with a nearby location or landmark. But sharing photos with associated location data can reveal private locations, such as homes and workplaces, to others you may not want to share that information with. Luckily, iOS makes it easy to share a photo you’ve taken without any location data.

Just head to the photo you want to share in your Pictures app, press the Share icon. If the photo contains embedded location data, it will say Location included. To share the photo without location data, tap Choice then switch the Location disable.

4. Restart your phone once a day

iPhone security: a screenshot of the "slide to turn off" turn on an iPhone.

Restarting your phone can help thwart advanced malware attacks. Picture: Tech Crunch

iPhones have a reputation for being very secure, and judging by targeted state-backed hacks against iPhone owners, no device is perfectly secure. Spyware like Pegasus, which can steal data from an iPhone silently without the user ever tapping a link, and other vulnerabilities can be exploited by previously unknown security flaws in the software from the iPhone.

Although the average person is unlikely to be targeted by some of these powerful hacking tools, restarting your phone can be a simple yet effective way to combat even the most advanced threats. That’s because if malicious code gets through an iPhone’s defenses, it often can’t survive a restart, which wipes its memory when the phone is turned off. Restarting your phone once a week is even advised by the National Security Agency.

Cybersecurity 101 - TechCrunch

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