If you have seen the latest Apple iPhone commercial, you might notice that it’s all about consumer privacy and protecting the data of its customers. Data security has become a hot button issue in our modern interconnected world, but did you know that your iPhone comes with a number of standard features that can better protect you and your private information? Read on for some of the interesting ways in which your iPhone can help you protect your data …
1. Passcode, Touch ID and Face ID.
One of the greatest features of the latest iPhone devices is the ability to use a passcode, your fingerprint or even your face to open and unlock your phone. If you are going to be using some of the other features discussed in this article, having one of these in place on your device is critical for your protection. Bare minimum: always set up a passcode. If you have a newer model iPhone, you can use Touch ID or Face ID, which can be set up under Settings > Face ID & Passcode or Touch ID & Passcode.
But what if you want to disable Touch ID or Face ID in the event of an emergency? If you want to make sure that no one can force you to open your phone without your permission, your iPhone has a feature for that, too!
How do I set this up? You can lock your device by pressing the power button 5 times in rapid succession, so that only by entering your pin number can someone access your iPhone. Effectively, Touch ID and Face ID become disabled at that time.
How do I set this up? Go to the Settings app in your iPhone à Emergency SOS and make sure the green toggle is set to Green.
2. Security Code Autofill and 2-Factor Authentication
A good method of protecting your personal information online involves setting up 2-Factor Authentication (or 2FA) whenever possible. Many websites that store your data such as your payment information, email and home address, also offer this extra step of security.
How does it work? If a website offers 2FA, and you have chosen to set it up, whenever you (or someone else) attempts to login, the website will send a text message to your phone containing a one-time activation personal identification (PIN) number. You will need to input this PIN number in order to gain access to the website. This means that the only person who can log in has to also be in possession of your iPhone. Apple takes this a step further by auto-filling that one-time activation for you when you log in from your phone, saving you time and potential hassle. That way you won’t have to switch between your web browser app and your text message app and copy-paste that activation PIN number.
How do I set this up? It is an automatic feature in every iPhone. However, you have to set up 2-Factor Authentication on your favorite websites wherever it is offered. So make sure you’re using this feature wherever it is available to get the most out of your iPhone’s security features!
3. Password Auditing and Strong Passwords
Your iPhone has a neat little feature called “Keychain” that can save and pre-populate your login info on any websites you frequently use. No more remembering passwords!
How does it work? Your iPhone can automatically check to see if you are using the same password across multiple web addresses. That could potentially be a big problem for securing your information. Your iPhone can even go one step further by suggesting and then saving really strong passwords for you, so you never have to remember another password. Better yet, you can rest assured that you have really strong and unique passwords across your digital world.
How do I set this up? Go to the Settings app in your iPhone à Passwords & Accounts à Website & App Passwords to check it out. Also, whenever you set up a new login on your web browser, be sure to click on “Create Password” to allow your iPhone to come up with a truly unique password for all of your favorite websites.
4. Auto-Delete Messages
Are you worried that someone could potentially break into your phone and steal your text message conversations? Worry no more!
How does it work? With your iPhone, you can set a time limit on all of your conversations and then have them automatically erased from your device. Why is this important? Not only will you be protected from nefarious individuals stealing your private conversations, it can avoid having to store a ton of data on your phone. That’s because when you buy a new iPhone, Apple will transfer the data from your old iPhone to your new one. Years of conversations can add up to a lot of unnecessary data that could be put to better use!
How do I set this up? Go to the Settings app in your iPhone à Messages à Keep Messages and choose a time limit for your conversations. Keep in mind that the default is set to keep your conversations forever until you delete them manually.
5. Use Safari to protect your browsing history
Some websites track users that visit their website. They can also see information such as other websites you’ve recently visited, and use this information to sell you advertisements, or worse, sell your data elsewhere.
How does it work? Safari is the default web browser for all Apple products, like your iPhone, iPad and Apple computer. Safari automatically ensures that your browsing history is protected and offers security protection as a default that other web browsers like Chrome and Internet Explorer do not. Safari also makes sure to ask you before it allows websites to make use of your iPhone’s camera and microphone.
How do I set this up? Safari is the default web browser on your Apple device, so keep using it whenever you browse the web!
6. Destroy all of your data (the worst-case scenario)
If you are worried that no matter what, you want your data protected from nefarious users accessing your device, you can. In a worst-case scenario, you might want a failsafe to allow your iPhone to wipe all of your data if someone tries to break into your phone.
How does it work? As a last-ditch effort in security, your iPhone can be set up to destroy all of your data if someone attempts, and fails, to access your phone after 10 tries. After the 10th failed attempt to access your device, everything will be deleted from your phone, and it cannot be recovered.
How do I set this up? Go to the Settings app in your iPhone à FaceID and Passcode and toggle the “Erase Data” setting to on.
There are many ways in which your iPhone can help you protect your data, but we think these are some of the most important to know. Every day, hackers and other “bad actors” are coming up with new and better ways to steal your personal information. Likewise, Apple keeps coming up with better ways to keep them at bay. As we learn of new features that can further help you secure your digital footprint, we will be sure to pass them along. Stay tuned!