Privacy is a huge concern for a lot of people, especially with all of this NSA hoopla that’s been going around for the past few months.
No one wants to be tracked or have all of their internet activity captured by web companies and sold to advertising agencies, but that’s the kind of world we live in today. However, you can at least prevent most or some of that from happening by being aware of the privacy settings that you have control over on your devices.
Apple has been under target plenty of times recently, with claims that the Cupertino-based company hands over Touch ID fingerprint data to the NSA and has the ability to read your iMessages. Of course, Apple has denied any claims like this, and CEO Tim Cook has even went onto television to make statements that Apple doesn’t work with the NSA to hand over personal data.
In any case, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so here are five privacy settings that you should be aware of if you use an iPhone or iPad, some of which are a bit difficult to find since they’re cleverly buried away in the settings.
Diagnostics & Usage Data
Diagnostics & Usage data consists of pretty much everything you do on your iPhone, and when enabled, it sends it all to Apple “anonymously” in an effort to improve the iOS experience, but we all know that’s kind of bologna. Enabling this feature gives Apple permission to track everything you do, so here’s how to turn it off.
Open up the Settings app and navigate to General > About > Diagnostics & Usage. Then tap on Don’t Send.
By default, whenever you take a photo, it records the location and saves that information inside of the photo’s EXIF data. So if you send that photo to someone else, they can see where you took it, right down to the specific street corner.
This probably isn’t a huge deal if you only share photos with friends and family you trust, but if you post photos online for anyone to see, they could technically figure out where you live. The world is full of nice people, but not everyone is such.
To disable your location from being saved to photos, open the Settings app and navigate to Privacy > Location Services. You’ll see a list of apps with Camera being toward the top. Toggle it off so that it’s grayed out. Photos will no longer include your location. You may as well go through all your other apps in the list and enable or disable certain apps from knowing your location.
iAds has been around for a few years now, but not without its own controversy. While advertisements are something that we all loathe, Apple is actually pretty good at the info that it gives to advertisers. Furthermore, location-based iAds don’t necessarily use your exact location and Apple doesn’t give this info to advertisers anyway, which is upsetting many advertising firms. In any case, we usually see iAds as a feature to disable. Here’s how to do it:
Open up the Settings app and navigate to Privacy > Location Services > System Services. You’ll see a list of various toggles that you can turn off and on. You’ll see one that says Location-Based iAds. Go ahead and flip the toggle to right until it’s grayed out.
It’s also a good idea to turn off Diagnostics & Usage (remember how we turned it off before? You’ll have to do it again here), as well as Frequent Locations.
Limit Ad Tracking
Open up the Settings app and navigate to Privacy > Advertising. Turn ON Limit Ad Tracking. We’ve been turning off most of these features mentioned, but Apple throws you a little curveball this time around. You’ll want to turn this specific feature on in order to limit advertisements tracking your activity.
You’ll also want to reset your advertising identifier while you’re still on that page. Tap on Reset Advertising Identifier to start with a clean slate. Users who are concerned about having their usage habits tracked by advertisers can tap this button, which essentially makes them appear as a new user.
Safari’s Do Not Track
Do Not Track is a universal web tracking opt-out initiative that allows users to prevent advertisers from tracking your browsing habits. The Safari mobile browser allows you to opt-out in the settings to prevent your mobile web browsing history from being looked at from advertising eyes.
To opt-out, open the Settings app, scroll down and tap on Safari. Under the section titled Privacy & Security, turn on Do Not Track. It’s also a good idea to enable Block Pop-ups and make sure Block Cookies is set to From third parties and advertisers.