How to Lock Down your Privacy Settings on iPhone or iPad

Privacy Settings

Many of you are not interested and also do not have that much time reading the licence agreements or tweaking default options during app installations. But do you know this may involve your privacy concerns. When you are sharing your personal data and you do not feel protected at all. Here are the settings options you need to be aware of when using your iPhone or iPad so that you are protected and are on the safer side.

Privacy Settings for your Contacts, Photos and Location

You will find in your iPad or iPhone Privacy menu in Settings. It is this place where you can decide which apps have access to specific categories of information on the iPad/ iPhone like your calendar, your contacts, and more. Tap on any of the subheadings in the list to see apps that currently have those permissions and to revoke them if necessary.

You can give location tracking permission on an app-by-app basis or turn it off altogether with the Location Services entry at the top of the screen. Of course, what individual apps choose to do with this data is up to the developers of the app rather than Apple. You should check the terms and conditions of each app or tap the blue information link if you’re suspicious.

Privacy Settings

Apple states that it uses “anonymous and encrypted” location data to power its traffic maps and to determine the popular spots like the restaurants and bars in a certain area. It also keeps a list of locations you frequently visit, to personalise various services, though this particular database of information is kept solely on your device.

In the same Privacy menu, you can choose whether or not to send anonymous diagnostics and usage information back to Apple, used to root out bugs, get an idea of how people are interacting with iOS, and so on; you can tap Diagnostics and Usage Data to see the actual data itself. A separate setting covers sharing this data with app developers.

The Limit Ad Tracking switch doesn’t affect the number of adverts you see on your device, but it does influence how targeted they are, and effectively resets what third-party advertisers know about you and your habits.  This covers the iAds built into apps rather than advertisements across on the web.

Privacy Settings on Safari and the web

When you browse the internet you’re at the mercy of the data policies of the websites you’re using. You can change the default search engine if you don’t like the well-known default one. From the Settings app choose Safari and then Search Engine to make your choice. You can also turn off the Safari Suggestions option if you don’t want your online queries sent to Apple as it uses this information to make smarter search suggestions to you in the future.

Privacy Settings

Further down the same page are options governing the data Safari collects as you browse. You can activate Do Not Track requests and limit the storage of cookies on your device Enabling Do Not Track and disabling cookies goes a long way in limiting the data that sites can gather about you, but it’s not foolproof, and it may break some sites. The Allow from Current Website Only is a good compromise as it ensures individual sites work while blocking outside agencies like advert networks from monitoring your activities.

Finally there’s a Clear History and Website Data option that deletes all the cookies and browsing information stored on your device. Websites won’t then be able to identify you from your past visits at least not until you log in although this is only a local setting and won’t affect data that the likes of Facebook and Google have already amassed on you.

Other Privacy Settings

Remember apps will have privacy settings of their own, so you can delve into each one separately to see what’s available. Take the Google app for iOS, for example, which has a privacy menu inside the app settings. You can specify how much information Google is allowed to keep about your phone’s location and the web queries you run.

In terms of data on your device rather than sent to the cloud, cleaning up old iMessages is a quick and easy way of covering your tracks should someone else get a hold of your handset. From Settings tap on Messages and then Keep Messages, then choose an expiration time of 30 days on the subsequent screen to ensure older messages are deleted.

Privacy Settings

Setting up a passcode or Touch ID and limiting what can be accessed from the lock screen are also useful when it comes to protecting your data from snoopers in the nearby vicinity rather than out on the web. Make sure your phone or iPad locks itself after a short delay too Auto-Lock in General inside Settings.

Apple has an extensive set of support documents you can refer to if you need clarification on how your data is used in iOS and whether a particular setting should be changed. Apple does offer a decent set of options for taking at least some control and making it reasonably easy to lock down your privacy options on your iPhone and iPad.