Apple Privacy Tips: How to Maximize Your iPhone Privacy

iPhone privacy is a complicated matter that extends far beyond setting up a lock screen. Here are our top 10 tips to keep your iPhone secure.

Your iPhone has many privacy tools you may not be aware of. Many iPhone privacy settings are intuitive and easy to access, like setting up Face ID or asking apps not to track you, but there's actually a lot more you can do to make sure your data is private and secure. Here are the best privacy settings for your iPhone and tips to keep your data safe.

Apple has been making a visible effort to up its privacy game, now requiring app developers to list what data they track and how they use that data in the App Store, and even allowing you the option to opt out of ad tracking entirely. While these improvements are exciting and add to everyone iPhone user's peace of mind, there's actually a lot more you can do to keep your data safe. Here are some of the best ways you can increase your iPhone privacy just by switching some settings. For more ways to protect your security, check out our Tip of the Day.

Top 10 iPhone Privacy Settings You Should Know About

1. Change Your Facebook Privacy Settings

Facebook is notorious for tracking users and many other privacy concerns. Still, many of us like to use it to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, so even though we might feel conflicted, many of us still use it on a regular basis. Fortunately, Facebook offers a Privacy Checkup that lets you see things like who can see what you share, your data settings, your ad preferences, and more. By performing this checkup, you can adjust any settings to what feels right to you. Learn how to change your Facebook privacy settings.

2. Deactivate or Delete Facebook

For many, even with the Privacy Checkup, Facebook is too big a privacy concern. Deleting Facebook entirely can certainly address this, but just deleting the app from your iPhone won't do the trick. You're going to want to delete your Facebook account entirely, or deactivate it if you suspect you might want to come back later. Deleting it will erase your account completely, while deactivating it will take it down until such a time as you decide to reactivate it. Here is how to deactivate or delete Facebook.

Related: Privacy in the Public Age: Apple Claims to Keep You Safe, but Can It Really?

3. Hide Notification Previews

When notification previews pop up on your iPhone, frequently people around you will be able to see them as well. If you're having a sensitive conversation, or perhaps trying to surprise a friend or family member, you might not want people around you to see your texts or other notifications. Turning off notification previews can save you this worry, and give you an added level of privacy. Check out how to hide alerts & notifications on your iPhone.

4. Opt Out of Ad Tracking

Your apps are always tracking you, trying to figure out what you like and don't like so they can deliver you the most targeted ads possible. Fortunately, Apple now allows you to opt out of ad tracking on apps, so they cannot track you across your other iPhone apps and the web to find out what makes you tick. It's currently up to the app whether or not they want to include this option, but Apple is working on making this a standard for everyone.

5. Turn Off Personalized Ads

Whether or not you have personalize ads enabled on your iPhone, Apple will show you the same amount of ads, so some people actually prefer to have personalized ads enabled so what they see is of more interest to them. However, others don't like the feeling of Apple tracking their iPhone habits and using that information to try to sell things to them. If this is the case, you can turn off personalized ads, giving you a bit more anonymity in the cyber world.

6. Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

Two factor authentication makes it so when there is a sign in attempt using your Apple ID onto a new device, a notification will be sent to one of your other devices. You will have to verify that sign-in attempt, otherwise the new device won't be able to sign in using your ID. This means that if you get a new iPhone you'll be able to sign in easily (as long as your old device is nearby) but others won't be able to log into your Apple ID on their device without your knowledge or permission. Newer iPhones come with this automatically enabled, but if you have an older iPhone or iOS, it's good to learn how to set up two-factor authentication.

7. Use iCloud Keychain to Create & Store Strong Passwords

iCloud Keychain is Apple's password manager, and an easy way to maximize your personal security. Many of us use the same one, two, or three passwords for pretty much everything just because it's so difficult to remember more than that. iCloud Keychain not only stores your passwords so you don't have to remember them and then have as many different and complicated passwords as you want, but actually suggests strong, unique passwords so you don't have to think of it yourself. All you have to do is remember your Apple ID passcode and/or enable Face ID or Touch ID and you'll be good to go. Here's how to use iCloud Keychain.

8. Turn Off Location Services

Location services on your iPhone can have all sorts of handy features, like helping you navigate and letting you map where photos were taken. But, if privacy is your goal, it's not a great thing to have on. Luckily, you can turn off location services pretty easily, and turn it back on if you change your mind later. You can also go through app by app and choose which ones you will allow access to your location, and when (Always, when using the App, or Never), allowing you to customize your GPS experience.

9. Erase Text Messages Automatically

Not only can text messages take up our storage space, they can also provide privacy risks if they stick around too long or end up in the wrong hands. You can set your iPhone to automatically delete text messages after 30 days or one year, freeing up storage and giving you peace of mind if you forget to remove any conversation that you don't want to keep forever. Here's how to erase text messages automatically.

10. Update Apps Automatically

This one may seem counterintuitive, but hear me out. Letting apps update without your explicit consent might feel like a privacy violation, but the truth is updates frequently address privacy issues and can patch certain holes in security. By setting up apps to update automatically, you can rest easy knowing that you always have the latest privacy features the app has to offer. If you don't update, you might find yourself at risk of security breaches, and other malicious happenings. Plus, if the app isn't worth updating, it might be worth deleting. 

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Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both's picture

Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both

Amy Spitzfaden Both is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, an award-winning novelist, and an iPhone enthusiast. Over the past decade, her work in the publishing industry has included live coverage of industry events including the Yale Publishing Course and Magazine Innovation’s ACT 9 Experience, providing editing services for several start-up publishing houses, and acting as newsstand consultant for magazines such as The Old Farmer’s Almanac and The New York Review of Books. She graduated from M.I.U. with a Bachelor’s in Literature and Writing, and has gone on to publish two novels and two short stories. Her debut novel Untold won the 2014 Chelson Award for Fiction.
Writing everything from book reviews to skincare tips, Amy discovered a passion for bringing exciting and useful information to even the most casual researcher. The mix of usability and endless possibilities is what drew her to Apple products originally, and the more she learns, the more she loves.
Amy lives in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter. When she’s not writing or glued to her iPhone, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and creating her own tea blends.