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Top 15 Privacy and Security Settings iPhone and iPad Users Must Know


Everybody should be able to know how to be in full control of their privacy and security, especially in this day and age. While iPhone and iPad users should have a bit more peace of mind than Android users, developers, websites and even Apple still all collect personal information from your devices. To understand this in greater detail and learn ways to enhance your privacy and security even further on iOS, we’ve compiled plenty of options.

Computerworld put together a nice list of settings you can change on iPhone and iPad. We too have a list of 15 different easy ways to get in control of privacy on iOS. Take a look.

Find My iPhone

Every iPhone user should turn on the Find My iPhone feature just in case you ever lose your device. Do this by going into Settings, then iCloud and selecting Find My iPhone to turn on. You should also turn on Send Last Location so you have an idea of where your iPhone or iPad might be if it dies. If you do lose it, go to iCloud.com or use the Find my iPhone app on a different device and log in with your Apple ID to locate or lock it.

Lock Screen Notifications for Messages and Mail

If your messages or emails sometimes contain sensitive information, you can ensure your notifications never display any of it. Go to Settings, Notifications, then choose either Messages or Mail (or both.) At the bottom, turn on or off Show Previews. As a bonus, iOS 10.2 includes a new option here to show previews When Unlocked, so you see them only in notifications after you’ve unlocked the device.

Use Letters and Numbers for Your Passcode

Looking to beef up your security a little bit even just unlocking your phone? You don’t have to stick with the traditional four or even six-digit passcode combination. You can create a full password with letters, numbers and characters if you wish. Go to Settings, then Touch ID & Passcode. Choose Change Passcode. (First, you’ll have to enter in your current one.) Then tap Passcode Options and choose Custom Alphanumeric Code to set your new, more complex passcode.

Erase Data After 10 Passcode Attempts

iOS has a built-in security setting right in the Touch ID & Passcode category. If someone attempts to unlock your phone with the incorrect passcode 10 times, all data from the iPhone gets erased. Don’t worry though, if you back up through iCloud you should be able to retrieve most of it later on. Just scroll down on that Settings page and turn on Erase Data.

Lock Screen Access

I have one more assignment for you while you’re in Touch ID & Passcode. Turn on or off as many features as you’d like under the Allow Access When Locked section. The options are Today View, Notifications View, Siri, Reply wit Message, Home Control (for smart homes) and Wallet. If turned off, you won’t be able to access these features until you unlock your iPhone or iPad.

Notes Lock

With iOS 10, you can finally lock individual notes. On any note, tap the Share icon at the top right and choose Lock Note. Set a password, which will end up being your one password for all locked notes. Then you’ll need that password to read the notes and make changes in the future.

Two-Factor Authentication

Enable two-factor authentication for your Apple ID, so every time you try to log in on a new device, Apple requires one extra step for added security. That step is to get a verification code sent to you that you’ll have to type in separate from your password. You can turn this on from Apple’s website. Sign in and click Get Started… under Two-Step Verification to set it up.

Auto-Delete Messages

If you don’t need to keep old messages, have iOS automatically get rid of them. Open Settings, then choose Messages. Scroll and tap Keep Messages and choose either 1 Year or 30 Days. Any messages older than your selection will automatically vanish from the device.

Safari Private Browsing

Private browsing mode in Safari lets you browse without keeping records of your history or logins on your device. Just open Safari and tap the Tabs icon at the bottom right. Then select Private. (Note: You’ll temporarily lose all of your currently open tabs.) You’ll know you’re in Private mode when the UI darkens.

Limit Ad Tracking in Safari

If the thought of advertisers knowing too much about your iPhone and iPad usage freaks you out, you can ditch targeted advertising to protect your privacy. Advertisements won’t be tailored to your interests if you do. This toggle is found in Settings. Choose Privacy, then Advertising at the bottom. Turn on Limit Ad Tracking.

Turn Off Location Tracking

Back in the main Privacy settings, tap Location Services, then tap System Services at the bottom. We’re going to turn off location tracking. You can do this for all of the toggles here that start with Location-Based (alerts, Apple ads, and suggestions) or whichever ones you want. You can also tackle Frequent Locations at the bottom. Tap then switch it off for Apple to stop tracking your most visited areas.

Turn Off Share My Location

Your last task within the Location Services category of Settings is turn off sharing your location with friends and family. This usually only applies if you’re using the Find My Friends app. Either way, Share My Location is right there in the Settings for you, so tap and then switch it off at the top.

Use a VPN

VPNs essentially let you hide your identity by letting you browse from a different IP address. Many free ones are available from the App Store; Betternet is one of the more popular ones. Once downloaded and set up in the app, all you have to do to enable or disable is tap the VPN toggle right from Settings.

Auto-Lock Settings

By default, your iPhone and iPad should automatically lock after one minute of inactivity. That means the screen shuts off and you’ll need Touch ID or a passcode to get back in. To keep your device away from wandering eyes, you can shorten this to 30 seconds. Do this by going into your Display & Brightness settings. Choose Auto-Lock and then set the time to 30 seconds.


If you share your device with a child and don’t want him or her using certain features, Restrictions give you plenty of options. First open Settings, tap General and tap Restrictions. You’ll see with restrictions enabled, you can disable certain apps, services like the iTunes Store and in-app purchases, limit iTunes content to specific ratings, keep privacy settings in check and more. Look around here to see what works best given your own context.

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