With so much private and personal information stored on our smart phones it’s important to keep that data safe and secure. There are a number setting changes and practices that you could put in place, like setting up a VPN and your iCloud which is recommended, but would take a bit more time and the updated version of your iOS, which you may not be ready to do. Below are a few simple things you can do in less than a minute each to protect your data.
1. Use a strong password – as convenient as it is to have a simple 4-digit passcode, a longer password is more secure, and if you ever lose your phone, you’ll wish you had a stronger password; choose something memorable but obscure. You can use just numbers, if you prefer, and the number pad will display rather than the keyboard.
Why? It will decrease the chances of someone guessing your passcode.
How? Go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Touch ID & Passcode’ -> ‘Require passcode: immediately’; ‘Simple passcode: off’. Then reset your passcode.
2. Turn off lock screen notifications – having a secure password will not prevent others from seeing sensitive data, i.e. text messages, emails, app notifications, etc., if it shows up automatically on a locked screen.
Why? To prevent strangers from viewing private information.
How? Go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Touch ID and Passcode’ or ‘Passcode’ -> ‘Allow access when locked’
3. Disable Siri on the lock screen – If you haven’t installed the most recent Apple update, 9.3, then it’s possible for your calendar, photos and contacts to be accessed without the password.
Why? To prevent personal information from being accessed from the lock screen.
How? Go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Touch ID & Passcode’ or ‘Passcode’ -> ‘Allow access when lock’ -> Toggle Siri to off.
4. Enable restrictions – If you do allow someone (particularly children) to use your phone, the last thing you want is for important apps to be accidentally deleted. There are a number of settings that can be disabled: everything from allowing specific apps (Safari, Camera, FaceTime, iTunes Store, Siri and CarPlay), and functions (In-App Purchases, Air Drop, Installing and Deleting apps). There are also content restrictions that if enabled will filter out any ‘inappropriate’ content from the internet.
Why? To prevent unwanted actions or access to particular apps.
How? Go to ‘Settings’, ‘General’, ‘Restrictions’, set a 4 digit passcode (make sure that it is memorable because it cannot be reset if you forget it,) then choose your settings.
5. Location settings for photos – Having your GPS location enabled for some apps is unavoidable, like Google Maps, in order to get the most out of the app. But for some apps, for instance, the Camera, it is unnecessary for everyday use and if you share them on social media you may be giving out more information than you intended to to complete strangers.
Why? So that strangers or exes who view your photos online won’t have the GPS coordinates of where you took them.
How? Go to ‘Settings’ -> ‘Privacy’ -> ‘Location Services’ -> Toggle ‘Camera’ to off and any other app you don’t want to share your location with.