What features to turn off on iPhone to protect privacy

With a few simple tricks and by changing settings, you can improve the security and privacy of your iPhone. Here's how to do it

As hacker attacks grow, smartphones have also become sensitive targets for hackers. Android devices are a favorite of hackers who use third-party stores to spread viruses and malware. iPhones are also a target for hackers, but getting them infected is much more complicated.

As iOS is a closed operating system that doesn't allow you to install apps outside of the App Store, it's harder for hackers to make contact with users. But if you want to make your iPhone even more secure, you can do it: just change some hidden settings of the iPhone. With the explosion of the smartphone market, security and user privacy have become two of the thorniest topics to deal with. On the one hand there are the conveniences provided by smart phones, on the other hand the ease with which hackers can get information about us.

When we turn on the GPS or do a voice search with Siri we are providing some information about our habits or our location. And this data doesn't always stay safe in companies' databases. In some cases, hackers manage to tamper with the functioning of the smartphone and get hold of it. In most cases, it is the users themselves who open the doors to hackers: although the iPhone is a very secure smartphone, it is enough to click on a malicious link to find some malicious software installed on the device. To prevent these problems, you can disable some settings and increase privacy: here's how to do it.

Remove the numeric code to change the password of your Apple account

The first setting to change concerns the numeric code that is required when you have to change the password of your Apple account. Like all profiles, the Apple one also needs an access key that can be changed directly from the smartphone settings. The only obstacle to overcome is to enter the numeric code that you choose when you set up the iPhone during the first power-on. In most cases this code consists of only four numbers and it is very easy for a hacker to guess it. It is usually your date of birth or the classic "1234" or "0000". For this reason, it is necessary to remove the passcode in order to activate the two-factor authentication.

The process is a bit long, but in the end the result is assured. After entering inside the Settings, you will have to press on "Touch ID and code". At this point, the iPhone will ask you for the code. Once you enter it, a new page will open and you'll have to press on "Disable code". You will have to enter the numeric code again and you will return to the previous page. Once you delete the code, to be able to change the password of your Apple account you will have to answer the security question or use two-factor verification.

Disable Siri from lock screen

Siri can be used even if the iPhone screen is locked. A very useful feature, especially for those who are always very busy due to work. The ability to use Siri directly from the lock screen can also be exploited by hackers to get some personal information about the user. Touch ID protects the most important information of the user, but through Siri it is possible to get some personal data and about your friends. To prevent these issues, you should disable Siri from the lock screen. To do this, many simply go inside the Settings, press on Siri and then uncheck the option "Allow if locked".

Don't show notifications on the lock screen

To increase the privacy of the iPhone, in addition to disabling Siri from the lock screen, you will also have to eliminate the display of notifications. In fact, like all smartphones, the iPhone also shows notifications on the lock screen. What may seem like a convenience, however, turns out to be a real danger for the user. Just forget your smartphone on a coffee table and a stranger, turning on the screen, can find out who sent you a message on WhatsApp. To disable notifications on the lock screen you have to go into Settings, press on Touch ID and code. At this point you will have to enter the passcode of your smartphone and then disable the View Notifications option.

Another way to not show notifications on the lock screen is to always go into Settings and then press on Notifications. This will open the list of all the apps installed inside the smartphone: by pressing on each app, you'll have access to a new page where you can disable some features. In this case you'll have to uncheck "Show in Notification Center" and "Show in Screen Lock". With this method you will directly choose which applications to remove from the lock screen.

Disable widgets from the lock screen

With the latest versions of iOS, widgets have been introduced on the iPhone in the lock screen. Very useful to quickly check the traffic or the arrival of the means, but that endangers the privacy of users. The reason is the same as explained above: if you leave your smartphone on a coffee table, an attacker could take advantage of it to find out some personal information. It is preferable to disable especially the widgets that provide personal information: for example, the WhatsApp or public transport widget. To edit the widget list, you'll have to activate the screen, swipe to the right, go to the bottom and press Edit. At this point, the iPhone will ask you for your smartphone unlock code and then you can delete the widgets that show the most sensitive data.

Disable "Frequent Settings" from Settings

The iPhone continuously tracks users' movements. This is a very useful feature, especially to get the real-time information about traffic or bus arrival. But at the same time having geolocation is a danger to one's privacy: the data could end up in the hands of some hacker who would have access to all our movements. This feature can be deactivated very easily by going into Settings. After logging in, you'll have to click on Privacy and then on Localization. From the new page that will open you'll have to scroll down until you meet the "System Services" section. From here you will have to tap on Frequent Locations and disable the feature from the page that will open. After you've completed this step, you should also delete your history: you can do it from the same page by tapping on "Clear history".

Limiting data collection

You spend most of your time on your iPhone and share most of your personal data. In some cases, your usage habits are shared with third-party companies in order to tailor advertisements. Fortunately, you can disable this feature from your iPhone in a matter of seconds. As a first step you'll have to enter Settings and then press Privacy. Scrolling down you'll find the Advertising section. Pressing it will open a new page from which to activate the feature "Limit data collection". This way, your personal data will not be shared with any other company.

Disable microphone and contacts from accessing apps

When we install new apps, we grant all the permissions we need just to use them as quickly as possible. Many times, however, we also grant permission to use some smartphone features that the installed application doesn't need for any reason. Such as the microphone and friends' contacts. Usually these two features are used by companies to get personal information to exploit for advertisements. If we have inadvertently granted this possibility, we can always retrace our steps, cancelling "this acquired right".

As for Microphone, you'll have to enter Settings, then Privacy and finally Microphone. A page will open with all the applications that have permission to use the Microphone. To get back possession of the smartphone, simply disable the feature. The same procedure is to be done for phone numbers: the only difference is the last step, instead of clicking on Microphone you will have to choose Contacts.