Everybody is familiar with Jennifer Lawrence’s story. As we continue to move more and more personal and private information onto mobile devices or on the cloud, we need to put privacy concerns to the top of our priority list. Do you want to keep your iPhone, iPad, iWatch and iEverything safe? Here are the 4 steps to keep your iOS devices safe.
Step 1: Keep Your Passcode Safe
The first thing you need to do after you get your new iOS device is set a passcode. However, the poorly chosen four-digit-password is not strong enough to keep your private information safe. Its too easy for hackers to crack.
How to make your passcode stronger? Go to Settings -> Touch ID & Passcode and slide Simple Passcode Off. Then, create a longer password, which might contain lower or upper case letters, numbers and symbols. Oh here is another thing, don’t forget to keep your passcodes out of the visibility of others when you enter them.
If your device has the function of touch ID, remember to enable it. It’s one of the most secure methods of locking your phone. Your fingerprint is complicated enough that no one can copy it. Again, go to Settings -> Touch ID & Passcode -> Add a Fingerprint. It takes no more than 1 minute and will add a level of safety.
Step 2: Keep Your Internet Browsers Safe
You may have had this experience: you are looking at the content from one site, but the popup ads are from another website you looked at before. The websites know your surfing habits because of the information stored in cookie files.
Tracking, cookies, and browser history.. While these features do enhance your online experience and ease your navigation, they do use and store your private browsing information.
Chrome is many people’s first choice when they surf the Internet. If you use Chrome as your default browser, access the privacy settings by tapping on the Menu -> Settings -> Privacy -> Block Cookies. Clear History and Website Data frequently.
So what about Safari users? You can edit your privacy settings by going to Settings -> Safari -> and enabling Do Not Track, blocking cookies. Remember to turn on Fraudulent Website Warning. Another convenience feature, AutoFill, can let you log in automatically. As a consequence, you don’t need to remember login names, passwords or even credit card information all the time. But this can also make it easier to gain access to saved cards and sensitive information. To keep thieves and hackers away, you can go to Settings -> Safari -> Passwords & AutoFill and disable Names and Passwords and Credit Cards.
Step 3: Keep Your Location Safe
We carry our mobile devices nearly everywhere. Pay attention to what apps have access to your location through your device. It’s really creepy and a huge privacy issue if someone hacks your device and monitors your location.
Too many apps need your location now, and many of them are tracking without really needing to. By going to Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services, you can easily check which apps have access to your location. You might be surprised by the result. Apps like Fruit Ninja, which have nothing to do with location, are also using your GPS. In such case, you can switch from Always to Never without hesitation. Only keep those apps that definitely need your location to function properly, such as Uber and Google maps.
What you need to do next is find the other ways Apple is tracking your device. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the Location Service and tap System Services. Nobody likes to see ads frequently when using apps. To avoid these annoying ads, you can disable Location-Based iAds and Location-Based Alerts, which will use your location to send “relevant” ads to your phone depending on where you are at that time. You can also disable Share My Location and Spotlight Suggestions if it’s not necessary.
Disabling Frequent Locations is also a must for keeping your privacy safe. It uses your frequently visited locations to “provide useful location-related information.” However, if your device is lost or gets hacked, the exact addresses of your home, your work, and probably your parents’ house will be vulnerable. Lastly, remember to clear your location history.
Step 4: Keep Your Photos Safe
It can be frustrating if you cannot find your favorite pictures. However, you will also feel annoyed if you cannot delete a photo. Deleting photos can be really difficult now on iOS devices. If you delete a photo, it will still remain in the album Recently Deleted for up to 40 days. This also takes extra space and makes your device slower. If you are trying to get rid of some photos you don’t want, you have to delete the images three times. To permanently delete the images, first go to the album Recently Deleted -> Select -> Delete All. Then, you need to delete the photos in the easily-hacked iCloud backup by going to the album My Photo Stream -> Select the photos you want to delete-> Delete.
An easier way is going to Settings -> iCloud -> Photos and disabling “My Photo Stream.” You may also notice that iOS device geotags the location when you take a photo or video. Needless to say, this could cause some privacy concerns. Turn Camera to Never in Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services.
Many of these “privacy issues” are first developed to enable smoother and more efficient device use. But some of these features do add risks to your device and personal information. If you want to be as secure as possible, adjust and modify your privacy settings to your liking.
Be careful, hackers are everywhere.