We all know that smartphones contain a lot of personal data. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to share some of that information unintentionally.
iPhones have a lot of privacy measures baked in, but you're only protected if you know about them and how turn them on. To ensure you're limiting your risks of oversharing, check these seven privacy settings on your iPhone.
1. Limit or turn off location tracking for non-essential services
If you want to use a navigation app, track your run or find your iPhone, you need to have Location Services turned on. But what about all of those other apps that want to access your location? And even if you do want Uber to see your location when you need a car (Note that you don't have to have Location Services turned on to call a car), do you want the company to always know where you are?
Head over to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and scroll down to see which apps are accessing your location information. App by app, you can choose to enable access "Always," "While Using the App," or "Never."
2. Limit apps that access your camera and microphone
When you install an app and open it for the first time, you may be prompted to allow access to your phone's camera and/or microphone. And like with Location Services, there are legitimate reasons for an app to want that access. For instance, I take pictures of coupons with the SnipSnap app, so I can use my phone instead of paper coupons in the store. And I use the microphone to indentify songs with the SoundHound app. If it doesn't make sense for an app to have access to your camera or microphone, you can turn it off. And don't worry about turning off access. When you try to access a feature that requires your microphone or camera, the app will prompt you for access, so there's really no downside to turning off access.
Head over to Settings > Privacy > Camera and Settings > Privacy > Microphone to toggle off access app by app.
3. Prevent advertisers from targeting you
Just like Google and Facebook, Apple has an ad platform that is able to serve ads based on the information it knows about you, including your name, address, age, gender, and location. You can choose to opt out of these targeted ads. Just know that you won't see fewer ads, they'll just potentially be less relevant.
Head over to Settings > Privacy > Advertising and toggle on "Limit Ad Tracking." And if you want to delete Apple's profile, you can also choose to "Reset Advertising Identifier."
While you're at it, you may want to prevent Apple from sending you ads based on your location. To turn off Location-Based Apple Ads, head over to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services and toggle off Location-Based Apple Ads.
4. Turn off Cross-Site Tracking
Do you hate being followed by those ads for shoes you were considering purchasing? You can curtail that by turning on "Prvent Cross-Site Tracking." Head over to Settings > Safari and toggle on "Ask Websites Not to Track Me" and "Prevent Cross-Site Tracking."
5. Prevent sensitive information from appearing on your lock screen
These days you can do a lot from your locked iPhone. You can return calls, read and respond to text messages, control your smart home devices, and more. If you want to bar access to this type of personal information from appearing, you'll want to restrict Lock Screen access.
Head over to Settings > Face ID (Touch ID) & Passcode, and you'll see a list entitled "Allow Access When Locked."
6. Prevent unathorized UBS connections from stealing your data
When USB Restricted Mode is enabled, your iPhone will limit the Lightning port to charging (no data transfer) if you haven't unlocked your phone in the last hour. This charge-only mode prevents unathorized individuals from hacking into your device should you lose it. Of course, with people on average checking their phone 52 times daily, most likely an hour won't have passed, but it doesn't hurt to turn it on.
Head over to Settings > Face ID (Touch ID) & Passcode, enter your passcode and then toggle on USB Restricted Mode.
7. Turn on Erase Data after failed passcode attempts
Unless you have small children who will inevitably try to unlock your phone a multitude of times (remember the guy who was locked out of his iPad for 25.5 million minutes?), it's a no brainer to turn on the option to Erase Data after ten failed attempts. This will secure your data from a brute force attempt to hack your phone if it's stolen. Just remember to make sure you have automatic backup turned on (Go to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > iCloud Backup and toggle it on.) Your phone will backup once a day when it's connected to power and a WiFi network.
To turn on Erase Data, head to Settings > Face ID (Touch ID) & Passcode and toggle on Erase Data.
[Image credit: enter passcode on iPhone via BigStockPhoto]