Often, all the content, that is, your contacts, your location, your photos, your emails, your text messages, and even your bank account, can be found on that smartphone in your pocket. It is an incomparable collection of things that, taken together, make you. And, if he has paid attention, he knows that a seemingly endless combination of unscrupulous companies and data breaches means he said he is perpetually on the verge of being put on permanent display.
Anyway, nobody suggests that you throw your phone to the ocean and wash your hands of the whole thing. There are some small and privacy-focused steps you can take to mitigate your risk without having to go live in the forest.
As the New York Times showed in December, many mobile applications constantly collect user locations throughout the day and then share that information with numerous third-party companies. The invasiveness is astounding: “accurate in a few yards and, in some cases, it is updated more than 14,000 times a day.”
Applications that request unrestricted access to your location data, for example, to inform you of the specific climate of your location, are some of the most obvious culprits. Go ahead and disable this access.
On your iPhone, go to Settings> Privacy> Location services. More than likely, you will see that the function is activated.
You will find a list of applications that have requested or have access to your location data. Unless it is for a service that really needs to know where it is, such as a map application, you must individually change each individual application configuration to “Never”.
In the case of something like Google Maps or Lyft, change it to “When using the application.” This means that the application in question will not know exactly where you are, even when you are not using it. Whatever you do, do not leave any application configured in “Always”, especially if it is a weather application.
Oh, and did you know that your camera is embedding your location in the photos? It. It also turns that off.
There are many other ways in which bad actors can determine their location, but there is no reason to make the task easier for them.
2. Your camera
It is likely that numerous applications on your iPhone have requested, and have been granted, access to your camera. For some of these, the reasoning is a truism. Do you want to be able to use Snapchat filters? Well, the application needs access to your camera. That makes sense.
The reasoning of other applications to access your camera may be less clear. Once again, go to Settings> Privacy> Camera and check to which applications you have granted access to the camera. Do you see something there that does not make sense? Go ahead and deactivate it.
3. The microphone
You may be surprised, and not pleasantly surprised, that applications on your phone have requested access to the microphone. For example, do you want Square to have access to your microphone? Do not? Because if you downloaded it, then it could.
If an application does not have a clear reason to need access to your microphone, do not give it that access.
To disable the access of an individual application to your microphone, go to Settings> Privacy> Microphone and start turning things off. Also do not worry about exaggerating, since you can always go back and turn it on later if you determine that something like Google Maps really needs your microphone.
4. Live Photos tell on you
Do you use the Live Photos settings on your iPhone? Do you know what that is even?
“With Live Photos, your iPhone records what happens 1.5 seconds before and after taking a picture,” explains Apple. “What you get is more than a great photo, it’s a captured moment with movement and sound.”
In other words, their “images” are actually 3-second videos.
Many people have this feature enabled without realizing it and, as a result, instead of sharing a nice photo with friends and family, they run the risk of sharing something … more.
The potential pitfalls of Live Photos are vast. Imagine talking with your friends while someone takes a quick photo. That photo, which is a live photo, is then iMessage, and now everyone who receives it has an audio recording of their trash talk.
5. Ad tracking
Did you know that the iPhone has an option to limit ad tracking? Well, he does, but you have to make sure it’s on. Return to Settings> Privacy and then scroll to Advertising. Select “Limit ad tracking” to activate the feature.
While there, go ahead and press “Reset the advertising identifier”.
There, does not that feel better?
6. Message blocking preview
Do you receive many iMessages? Signal signals, maybe? Like most people, you expect these digital reflections to be private exchanges between the sender and the recipient. But, of course, that is not always the case.
When you receive a message and your iPhone is locked, your phone will usually show a preview of that message on the lock screen. Not only whose message it is, but also part of the content of the message. With the habit of people putting their smartphones on their backs on tables in the conference room or on desks that are unfortunately becoming widespread, you are an inopportune message away from a catastrophe.
Imagine you are applying for a new job and your partner wants to know what the interview was like. Pretty innocuous, right? Well, not if you are in a meeting with your current boss and the following preview of the message appears, clearly visible to all, directly on the lock screen of your phone: “Did you get the job?!?”
But you can disable that preview functionality. Touch your way to Settings> Notifications and then scroll to Messages. In the Messaging settings, there is an option “Show previews”. Set it to “Never”.
That way, you can still see that you have a message, and even whose message it is, but its content will not be posted for all to see.
Now, rinse and repeat with any other service that you do not want to filter on your lock screen.
7. Your humble voicemail
Did you forget your voice mail? The hackers did not do it. In 2018 DEF CON, researchers demonstrated the ability to forcefully attack voicemail accounts and use that access to reset the Google and PayPal accounts of victims (among others).
So, what can you do about it? Set a random 9-digit voicemail password. Go to Settings> Phone and scroll down to “Change voice mail password”. Your iPhone should allow you to choose a 9-digit code, which will help you protect your privacy.
There, do not you feel at least a little better now? The window to your soul has just had some privacy blinds.