privacy settings

A quick iOS15 Privacy Settings Guide

Apple’s iOS 15 is now available publicly. With this release, Apple introduced new privacy settings which were controversial even before its official release. The child safety tools that Apple intended to include in the iOS 15 update were put on indefinite hold after privacy concerns.

Apple has experienced a similar backlash, albeit because of a completely different reason, when iOS14’s app tracking controls (that prevent advertisers tracking you across apps) were introduced. Facebook and other advertising firms complained about the impact on their advertising business. But Apple only delayed the feature until May 2021 with iOS 14.5 – despite complaints.

iOS 15 includes many new security and privacy features and you should update your system as soon possible, as with all software updates. Here’s a list of security and privacy settings features that you can benefit from.

1. Block email trackers

After Apple removed app tracking in iOS 14, they are after hidden email trackers. These trackers are usually in the form of pixels that are inserted into emails’ body, header or footer. This information sends back information about you to the sender.

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection prevents email senders, most often those who are sending marketing emails, from seeing your IP address or when you open the message. Instead, it will route you IP address through multiple proxy servers to randomly assign another IP address. Mail Privacy Protection is not turned on by default. Instead, go to Settings and Email. Then, turn on Privacy Protection.

2. App Privacy Report

Apple has now added App Privacy report to the Privacy Settings. Turn it on by setting Record Activity to ON. This privacy report shows you how many sensors your phone has used over the past seven days, and which domains they have connected to.

If you allow apps to access your photos, contacts, microphone, and camera, you can see how often they have accessed them.

3. Hide your IP address

As part of iOS 11, Apple introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention to Safari’s web browser in September 2017. ITP is Safari’s method of blocking online tracking that tracks you as you browse the internet. Appl is using machine learning to identify which domains track you and then remove the data that is sent.
Also, Apple offers the ability to hide your IP address and thus websites can’t use your IP address as an identifier to link all of your browsing. To disable IP address hiding, visit Settings Safari and Hide URL. Next, turn on the toggle for Trackers & Websites.

4. Apple’s Authenticator

To prevent being hacked, one of the most important things you can do is enable two factor authentication on all your online accounts. Two-factor authentication requires that you enter a code, which is often generated via an app or sent by SMS, to gain access to your account.

With iOS 15, Apple is introducing its own authenticator–meaning you don’t have to use an app from another company. Verification codes can be set up in Settings and Passwords. These codes can be used to autofill each time you log in to a site with Safari.

5. Private Relay

Apple bundles some of its most advanced privacy options into its iCloud+ subscription. iCloud+ offers more online storage, but there are four additional privacy and security options that only those who pay can access.

Apple’s iCloud Private Relay is the first of the services. This VPN-like service routes your web traffic through multiple servers while keeping your location secret. This is done to prevent anyone, even Apple, from figuring out what you are looking at online. Apple servers encrypt the URLs that you visit and then delete any information that could be used to identify you. Apple claims that it works with trusted partners and will assign a temporary IP address.

If you are paying for iCloud+, click Settings and tap on your name. Next, navigate to iCloud, Private relay and activate the option. Although it has similar features to VPNs it doesn’t work outside Safari.

Hide my Email, custom email domain options, and HomeKit Secure Video are all included in iCloud+. Hide my EMail creates random email addresses that you can use to sign up for sites. Custom emial domain lets you personalize your iCloud address with a domain name. The HomeKit update allows you to store encrypted video footage on iCloud.

Privacy Settings Basics

It’s worthwhile to review the pre-iOS 15 privacy settings too. There are simple measures you can take to improve your privacy.

First, go to Settings. Next, tap on Privacy. First, check whether Location Services is on. You can disable Location Services completely to preserve your privacy, but this may not be practical. An app that can track your location may be useful for many reasons. For example, a map app could help you plan your route or record where your photos were taken. However, you can change the location sharing settings for each app. Options include never, ask next time the app is used, or while using the app.

The Tracking option in iOS’s Privacy Section will display which apps are tracking your behavior across different apps, and allow you to disable tracking. To deny apps the ability ask you whether you would like to be tracked, use the toggle.

You can also see which apps have permissions to access your files, contacts, photos, Bluetooth, files and microphones in Privacy. To see which apps you have granted permission to, tap on the respective option and you can revoke any you don’t like.

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Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

Animation by cerridan design


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