Five ways to increase the privacy settings on your iPhone

Have you ever been talking or searching for an item and then are suddenly spammed with adverts for it on your social media? Do you find it strange that some apps will know your location even when you’re not using them? Want to make it as difficult as possible for hackers to access your accounts? Then this is the blog for you. Follow these five easy tips and increase the privacy settings for your iPhone.

One: Turn off data sharing with Apple

If you go to ‘Settings’ and ‘Privacy’ you should be able to see an option called ‘Analytics & Improvements’.  Once you click on this button, there is the option to ‘Share iPhone Analytics’. To increase your privacy it is a good idea to toggle this off. Although Apple is transparent about the data it will use if this setting is on, the information it collects includes location information, usage of particular browsers, and apps. While no personal data is collected that could identify you, sending daily diagnostic and usage data is still something to consider carefully. 

Two: Review your Siri & Dictation settings

In the same option to ‘Share iPhone Analytics’ you’ll also see the toggle to ‘Improve Siri & Dictation. If this setting is on, Apple can store and review the audio of your Siri from your device. While you may not use Siri, if this setting is on, be aware that if the phone thinks it hears a command that sounds similar to ‘Hey Siri’ it will send any following audio to Apple. 

For extra protection, you can also review the exact settings for Siri by going to ‘Settings,’ ‘Siri & Search’. Here, you can turn off the ‘Hey Siri’ command it will always be listening for to activate its response. If you scroll down, you will also see a list of all the apps that Siri is compatible with. Although it will take a while, it is also worth clicking on each app in this list to see what permissions Siri has for each and change them individually by turning the toggle off.

Three: Check your AirDrop permissions

AirDrop is a great tool that allows you to send large files and multiple photos between Apple devices much quicker than using email or messages. However, this also leaves you potentially vulnerable to people you don’t know sending you content, which if you click on could give your phone malware. To prevent this you can switch the default setting easily by going to ‘Settings’, ‘General’, ‘AirDrop’ and then making sure the ‘Contacts Only’ button is on.

Four: Examine your App location settings

As with your Siri settings, your location settings will vary depending on the apps you’re using. While it is obviously important that some apps have access to your location, for example Uber won’t be able to pick you up if they can’t locate you, it is important to review the permissions for each app. You may be surprised to see how many companies want to be able to locate you at all times. 

To change your location settings go to ‘Settings’, ‘Privacy’, ‘Location Services’ and scroll down to review each app. If you click on an app you will have up to four options to pick from to select location access. These include ‘Never’, ‘Ask Next Time’, ‘While Using the App’, and ‘Always’. Then you can decide what information these businesses can see with regards to your location. 

Five: Be vigilant about your Browser and Cookie settings

If you use Safari on your iPhone as your browser, you can also change the default privacy settings to better protect yourself from receiving pesky targeted adverts. To check your Safari permissions go to ‘Settings’, ‘Safari’. Here you’ll have the option to ‘Block Pop-ups’, ‘Prevent Cross-Site Tracking’ and get ‘Fraudulent Website Warnings’. Turning all these toggles on should reduce your phone’s ability to take your searches from Safari and use this information to send you targeted adverts on platforms like Instagram. To be extra vigilant, it is also important to make sure that when visiting a website you reject cookies that are not functional, as these will be used for targeted advertising. 

Other browsers that are not connected directly to Apple’s operating system, such as Chrome, will not be affected by this setting. 

By implementing good privacy practices and reviewing your privacy settings, you can take control of what information Apple holds about you, which is essential in this digital age.

Do you have any other topics you’d like us to cover or have any questions? Leave a comment in the section below.

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