How To: 10 New iOS 13 Privacy Settings Everyone Should Know & Double Check

10 New iOS 13 Privacy Settings Everyone Should Know & Double Check

Apple has seemingly always made it a priority to show how much they care about user security and privacy — enough that they have a page dedicated to it, proclaiming that "privacy is a fundamental human right." And it's true, there are few issues more important than user privacy when it comes to technology, which Apple continues to support with the release of iOS 13.

The latest iteration of iOS comes with a handful of new privacy and security features, including better location tracking, anonymous logins, encrypted notes, restricted microphone and camera permissions, and more. If privacy and security is important to you, you'll want to check these new settings that come with iOS 13.

#1: Improved Location Tracking

If you forgot that you gave an app access to your location, Apple now reminds you with a popup notification that asks you if you want to continue giving the third-party app access to your location on iOS 13. Sometimes, the popup includes a map filled with location points. While you'll only see two options in the popup that appears, you can go into "Settings," tap on the application you want to restrict access to, and then on "Location."

Another new location tracking feature on iOS 13 includes the ability to grant a third-party app access to your location only once (which you can see below, known as "Ask Next Time"). Instead of an app collecting your real-time location, you can grant an app access to it only when you want.

#2: Decline Bluetooth Access

Third-party apps ask for access to Bluetooth not only because they want to connect to watches, speakers, and other gadgets, but also because they want to monitor your location. Shopping malls and retail stores use Bluetooth tracking devices, known as beacons, to track you and send you targeted ads on your phone. On iOS 13, much like the location tracking popups mentioned above, you'll also receive sporadic popups to decline Bluetooth access to certain apps.

#3: Sign in with Apple ID

Huge companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter offer one-click logins on third-party apps and websites to let you log in without having to type in your email and password. However, your information (such as your email) is shared to the third party, who in turn sell that information to other companies for marketing and advertising purposes.

In response to that, Apple announced "Sign in with Apple" during this year's iOS 13 announcement. Although the feature is similar to the logins you're used to, Apple does not let the site track or store your user data, instead offering the website a randomly generated email address. The randomly generated address will instead forward messages to your actual email address.

To use this new Apple service, simply tap on "Sign in with Apple" when you see it. A window will appear, similar to the one that shows up when you download a new app or make a purchase. Decide if you want to use your name, select whether you want to share or hide your email, and then press "Continue." The window will then prompt you to use either Face ID or Touch ID to log in. Once you do, you'll be logged in and finished.

#4: Remove Location Data from Photos & Videos

Every photo and video you take with your iPhone contains metadata that includes data and time, camera settings, thumbnail, and location. Although this information allows you to better organize and find your most important photos, it can also pose a problem. Anyone with access to a photo you take can potentially extract the metadata and view your location, so if you took a selfie at home, they could potentially get an address.

On iOS 13, you can now easily remove the location from individual photos and videos you take from your iPhone before sharing them. In the Photos app, open the image or video you want to send out and tap on the share icon in the bottom-right. On the top-left of the photo, you'll see the location of the photo along with "Options." Tap on "Options" and toggle off "Location" to remove the metadata from the photo or video. Now when you send it, the recipient won't be able to scrape your location.

#5: Silence Unknown Callers

Apple has had call blocking for some time now, but iOS 13 brings an improvement to that feature. In the Settings app, under "Phone," you'll now see a toggle under Call Silencing and Blocked Contacts titled "Silence Unknown Callers." When enabled, calls from unknown numbers will be silenced and sent to voicemail, but the call will still appear in your Recents list. Only phone numbers saved in your contacts will be able to call your phone.

#6: Restrict Permissions for Websites in Safari

iOS 13 brings many changes and new features to Safari, including the ability to edit settings per website. If you want to deny a certain website access to your camera, microphone, or location (or all three), you can easily do so.

First, tap on the "AA" icon on the left side of the address bar in Safari. Next, tap on "Website Settings" and then either Deny, Allow, or force the website to Ask for access to the aforementioned device hardware or sensors. You can change these settings anytime, as long as you're on the website.

If you don't remember which websites you made changes to, you can view a list in Settings. All you need to do is go into "Safari" and scroll down until you see the options for "Camera," "Microphone," and "Location" under the Settings For Websites header. Go into any of the three settings to view which websites have restricted access. You can change the settings for an individual website or all of them from here.

#7: Use the New 'Find My' App to Track Your iPhone

Say goodbye to Find My iPhone and Find My Friends. The two app, used to track the location of specific iPhones, are now combined into one, simply called Find My. If there are any concerns about your privacy or security, there shouldn't be — using Find My, you'll still be able to keep track of your lost or stolen smartphone.

Open Find My and find the device you want to track from your list of devices. Tap on your device name and a menu will appear, where you can: (1) play a sound from your device, (2) get directions to your device, (3) enable a notification when the device is found, (4) mark the device as lost (which disables Apple Pay, among other things), and (5) erase all the data from your device.

#8: Use 'Offline Finding' to Track Your Stolen iPhone

Aside from being reworked, the Find My application also has a few new features on iOS 13, including "Offline Finding," which allows your iPhone to use its Bluetooth signal to report its location using nearby Apple devices.

For example, if someone with the stolen iPhone were to turn off the cellular data and Wi-Fi, your device could still be tracked. If another Apple device (other iPhone, MacBook, Apple Watch, etc.) gets close enough to your stolen iPhone, your device sends your public key to it, which that device then uses to send that encrypted location to Apple's servers. You can then log in to Find My and track your iPhone.

Best of all, the system is completely encrypted, which prevents hackers from intercepting the location being transmitted onBluetooth. Not even Apple can see your location. However, you must have two Apple devices signed into your iCloud for this to work (and have two-factor authentication), because only these devices carry the private key which you need to access your offline location.

While the feature should be enabled by default, you can check by going into the Settings app and tapping on your name at the top. Next, go into "Find My" and then "Find My iPhone." In the middle, you'll see a setting called "Enable Offline Finding." If disabled, toggle it on.

#9: Block Unwanted Emails in the Mail App

Strangely enough, the Mail app has never had the ability to block contacts ... until now. If you get a number of unwanted or unknown emails, you can now block a specific sender and their emails. You can block a sender in a few different ways, but the easiest method is to open an email in the Mail app, tap on the sender (at the top) email twice, then hit "Block this Contact" twice when it appears.

At the top of blocked email, you'll see a notification that says "This message is from a sender in your blocked list." If you tap on "Preferences," you'll be taken to Mail's settings where you can configure what happens to blocked emails. Your three options are (1) nothing, (2) mark as blocked but leave in inbox, and (3) move to trash.

#10: Third-Party Apps Can't View Notes in Your Contacts

Although this isn't a feature you can turn on or off, it's good to know that third-party apps that have access to your contacts can no longer view what it says in the Notes fields of your saved contacts. Although apps must ask for your permission before they can access your contacts, they can pretty much see everything ... but not anymore. On iOS 13, these notes are now encrypted.

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Cover image and screenshots by Nelson Aguilar/Gadget Hacks

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