These days, the overwhelming trend among companies is to invade personal privacy, not protect it. But Apple has been a stalwart for keeping personal information, well, personal, for years now. Whether by refusing to give law enforcement a backdoor into iPhones or implementing even more privacy features.
iPhones are known for being more secure than Android phones, not in the least thanks to their closed ecosystem. Yet even with all of those added protection measures in place, no device or operating system is infallible. Not even an iPhone. There’s still plenty of things to do to improve iPhone security and keep photos, videos, messages, and online browsing activity entirely private.
1. Set Up a Phone Lock
Phones are stolen every day, and thinking it won’t happen to you is taking a major risk. At the very least, set up a passcode to keep anyone that shouldn’t have access to the phone locked out. Using either Touch ID or Face ID is even better. Biometric locks are more secure than passcodes because they can’t be guessed or faked.
But even having just a passcode lock in place is much better than having nothing. This might be a good time to activate Find my iPhone since it automatically initiates passcode creation. Plus, this adds another layer of protection in case the phone does disappear.
2. Secure Those Passwords
Passwords are often the only way to keep online accounts and apps private, but they’re sadly also easily stolen or guessed. So people need to take extra precautions with them – both when creating passwords and using them.
So what does that mean? Rule 1 of password protection is to create a unique and secure password for every account. A secure password is defined as one that cannot be guessed, either by a person or by dictionary or brute force attacks. It’s also important that every password is unique because data breaches happen every day where login details are stolen. If other accounts share that stolen password, they’re at risk too.
When it comes to storing passwords, writing them down or using a browser to store them is no good, either. If remembering them all isn’t an option (and these days, that’s practically impossible), then a password manager is the best bet for storing them safely.
Finally, don’t forget to enable two-factor authentication on every account. It will prevent an outsider from getting instant access even if they do manage to get their hands on the password.
3. Always Update the iOS/Apps and Backup Data
Software updates sound mundane and unimportant, but they’re actually a vital part of keeping devices like iPhones safe. Whether they’re for the operating software or any installed app, updates aren’t just about fixing bugs or adding features. They often contain important security updates too.
Ideally, you should install updates as soon as they’re available, preferably that same day. This is crucial because cybercriminals can take advantage of the delay to exploit the phone or app’s vulnerability before it’s fixed. So always let the iPhone install updates right away – allow automatic updates wherever possible.
4. Manage Apps Permissions & Location Services
Whenever an app is first installed on an iPhone, it will ask permission to access one or more (usually several) functions on the phone. This can include things like the phone’s GPS, gallery, contacts, and more. Some apps need to access those functions to work properly, but some ask for more than what’s truly necessary, and it can be an invasion of privacy.
So whenever installing a new app, go through app permissions carefully and turn them off if any seem unnecessary. Just make sure the app still works with them turned off. These can be turned on and off as needed by going to the Privacy tab in the Settings app. It’s also possible to enable functions only when using the app.
Location services are one of the more important things to manage since it constantly gives away the device’s live location. No app needs to know that 24/7, so it’s better to allow it only when strictly necessary.
5. Use a VPN for Additional Safety and Privacy
Virtual private networks, or VPNs, are a fantastic tool for quickly adding a substantial layer of privacy to online browsing and app usage. VPNs encrypt a device’s connection, which means they scramble the data traveling on its internet connection so that outsiders can’t see what’s going on.
On top of that, a VPN also routes a device’s internet traffic through a secure server, which replaces the device’s IP address. The result is anonymous browsing since it’s tough for outsiders to trace the IP back to an individual person.
When looking for a VPN for iPhone security, look for one that has an iOS app and is budget-friendly. Some free VPNs offer support for iPhones, but they aren’t a good choice because they expose information instead of securing it. So stick to the premium ones – many of them offer additional privacy features too.
There’s a lot of justified concern over personal safety and privacy on the web these days. Major data breaches are becoming an everyday occurrence, and big companies continue to gather massive amounts of people’s data. So even though Apple’s products are known for being more secure and privacy-focused, it doesn’t hurt to take a few extra steps to ensure protection.