Every photo you take is brimming with metadata such as iPhone model, date and time, shooting modes, focal length, shutter speed, flash use, and geolocation information. Share these pictures with friends, family, or acquaintances via texts, emails, or another direct share method, and you unwittingly share your location data. Even sharing via apps and social media sites can compromise your privacy.
If you store important, sensitive information on your iPhone in Notes, you'll want to be more careful. When Notes syncs across your iPad and Mac via iCloud — devices that family members or coworkers may share — you run the risk of having your notes read, edited, and deleted by other people. Such a catastrophe is easily avoided.
There's always an iPhone in our list of top phones for privacy and security, due in large part to advanced security measures like Face ID, consistent iOS updates, and easy ways to prevent unwanted access and excessive data sharing. However, some of those options actually do the opposite and hinder security. It all depends on how you use your iPhone, but you should at least know everything available.
Over the years, we've seen security breach after security breach, as well as high-profile data scandals where collected personal information was misused by companies. Apple makes customer privacy a priority, so there have been few issues to worry about when it comes to its services on your iPhone. However, there are still plenty of privacy settings to explore and change, especially within Safari.
iOS Security: How to Untrust Computers Your iPhone Previously Connected To So They Can't Access Your Private Data
If you've ever connected your iPhone to a computer before, you know iOS prompts you to "Trust" the computer and enter your passcode to confirm. According to Apple, trusted computers can "sync with your iOS device, create backups, and access your device's photos, videos, contacts, and other content." That's a lot of permissions to hand off, especially if the computer's not your main laptop or desktop.
When you leave your iPhone on a table or anywhere within somebody else's eyeshot, a private message may pop up on your lock screen that could be read by anyone who sees it. But there's a way to keep others from reading your possibly sensitive text messages and emails without giving up the convenience of lock screen notifications entirely.
Two-factor authentication has been around since iOS 10. It's a handy option that adds an extra layer of security to your iPhone and makes its almost impenetrable security even stronger. This feature has remained intact in iOS 11 and iOS 12, and thanks to the straightforward nature of iOS, is relatively easy to enable.
While Apple's tech used for Face ID on the iPhone is impressive, it's debatable whether it's more convenient than Touch ID. There are also concerns that your face could be used to track shopping patterns or be seen during mass surveillance by intelligence agencies. More importantly, it could be easier for law enforcement, and even thieves, to force you to unlock your iPhone.
With the growing list of products Apple offers, the number of devices connected to your Apple ID can get quite extensive. Having all those devices connected to your Apple ID helps you keep track of them, but when it comes time to part ways with an Apple TV or Apple Watch, those devices can still be attached to your Apple ID. In some cases, this could affect the overall security of your account.
How To: Remove Unnecessary Profiles & Certificates on Your iPhone to Protect Your Privacy & Security
When you want to install a new tool or game on your iPhone, you go straight to the App Store to do so — but it's not the only place you can get apps from. Some developers use back alleys to get their apps to you, while others can trick you into installing them without giving it much thought. This can lead to malicious software running on your iPhone, software you'll want to get rid of asap.
While Apple has moved on from Touch ID to Face ID in newer iPhone models, there are still plenty of iPhones with fingerprint sensors — in fact, Apple's second-generation iPhone SE is the first new Touch ID iPhone in three years. With Touch ID, you can register up to five fingerprints, but it doesn't stop there. Using a little-known trick, you can sneak another five fingerprints in there for a total of ten.
Any app on your iPhone could potentially listen in on your conversations and use that information to target you with tailored ads. Although most companies, including Facebook and Apple, have come out and vehemently denied these claims of spying on consumers, who's to say they're telling the truth? The only way to be sure you're safe is to take matters into your own hands.
Stumbling upon a specifically tailored advertisement on your iPhone can be a bit disconcerting. But that's what happens when you let advertisers track your data. Some of you may appreciate more relevant ads in apps, but the rest of you might consider it a straight-up privacy invasion.
In the US, law enforcement officials can make you unlock your smartphone with a fingerprint, but they can't force you to input a password or PIN, which would violate your Fifth Amendment rights. To help you from ever being in a scenario where you're forced to put your finger on the Touch ID sensor, Apple has a built-in way for you to disable biometrics on your locked or unlocked iPhone in mere seconds.