Privacy is a fundamental human right that needs to be protected. A prominent American author and Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff outlined it perfectly in her 2018 book on online surveillance. The author illustrates how various online tracking mechanisms are invading our private lives. Be it Big Tech companies or marketing agencies, gathering user data is a common practice for both.
A lot of contemporary online surveillance methods rely on smartphones. They accompany our every step, signaling where we are. And if you use many apps, they may even know when and where you eat and how long you sleep. Apple is a more privacy-friendly smartphone manufacturer. Remember when Apple refused to weaken encryption per FBI demands? It was a strong stance to take.
But even their dedication to smartphone privacy cannot ensure other apps won’t transgress it. Ultimately, it’s up to you to protect your iPhone’s privacy. Below we’ve gathered four tips and tricks to boost your privacy on your iPhone.
1. Make Safari private.
A web browser is your gateway to the internet. Therefore it collects vast amounts of data. It stores cookies with your credentials, browsing history, download history, browser cache, and more. Here’s what you can do to make it more private:
● Disable tracking. Go to the Safari menu’s Settings and search for Privacy & security. Once there, turn on Prevent Cross-Site Tracking. It will prohibit some websites from tracking your online activities.
● Change the default search engine. By default, Safari uses the Google search engine. Google undoubtedly takes the first spot in gathering user data. And it’s nowhere near as friendly as Apple regarding Online Privacy. Go to Settings > Safari > Search engine. We
recommend using the DuckDuckGo search engine that’s focused on online privacy. It takes time to get used to, but it’s worth it.
2. Use a VPN.
Another way of tracking users is via IP address and location. Moreover, if you use a public Wi-Fi network, it may lack sufficient security protocols. Cybercriminals frequently hang around on public Wi-Fi, hunting for user data. Here’s how a VPN can solve these issues:
● Robust encryption algorithms. A VPN applies additional encryption to your online traffic. Moreover, professional VPN service providers upgrade their encryption algorithms to the latest standard, making them more secure than even your encrypted Wi-Fi.
● Block trackers. Wherever you go on the internet, you are most likely tracked. There are various online trackers, such as tracking pixels or cookies. Some highly-developed VPNs have a tracker blocker feature that will disable trackers and boost your online privacy even more.
● IP address obfuscation. Each device connected to the internet has an assigned unique IP address. Tracking via IP address is one of the oldest methods that’s still alive and well. VPNs mask your original IP address and substitute it with an alternative, preventing IP address tracking.
3. Configure location services.
VPNs mask your online location, but sometimes it’s necessary for some services. You wouldn’t want your pizza delivery guy thinking you’re halfway across the globe from where you are? Luckily, it’s easy to configure your location settings on your iPhone.
Go to Settings > Privacy > Location services. There are several options to choose from. We recommend choosing the “While using” option for most apps that don’t need to know where you are all the time. It will prevent them from collecting location data once they’re off. Select apps that don’t need to know where you are at any time and pick the option “Never.”
Apple is very transparent about collecting location data. But third-party apps do not give this guarantee. Remember, sharing location data is dangerous because it can hint when you’re not at home.
4. Set up Touch/Face ID and auto-locking.
Losing your iPhone is a terrible experience. But it can get worse if you don’t have Touch or Face ID. A password can do the trick, but Touch or Face ID is more comfortable and personalized. It will prevent anyone from accessing your iPhone without your knowledge.
Auto-locking is another helpful feature. Let’s be honest – many of us have left our iPhone at a bar or coffee shop at some point. Choose a reasonable auto-locking timer that automatically locks your device after brief inactivity.