How to Secure Your iPhone
Your iPhone probably knows more about you than anyone else. From contacts and messages to passwords and credentials to health data and financial records, it’s all there. Navigation tools help it know where you are, where you’ve been and how you got there. Note-taking and to-do apps keep track of your goals and aspirations.
It’s good to know then, that iPhones are incredibly secure – especially compared to other mobile devices. Apple is renowned for putting privacy first when making their software and hardware. But that’s not to say they’re invulnerable. Physical theft is probably the biggest danger your iPhone faces on a daily basis, so let’s start with that.
Preventing Physical Theft
The easiest way for someone to get into your phone is to get their hands on it. Here are some things you can do to prevent that from happening:
- Keep it Close: Be mindful of where you leave your phone. Back pockets are a major risk, not to mention what could happen if you forget to take it out before sitting down. The same is true for belt clips.
- Go Wireless: Snaking earbud cords are a giveaway that there’s a phone hiding nearby.
- Look Around: It’s easier for a thief to snatch a phone if the victim is distracted. Remember to pay attention to your environment.
- When it Happens: If your phone does get stolen, your first step should be to log on to “Find my iPhone” and locate it. It might be necessary to erase or at least lock your device. Changing your main passwords is also a good idea. Your cellular network provider can assist with blacklisting your phone to prevent it from being used.
In the event that you manage to recover your phone, it’s recommended to still perform a factory reset. You never know whether the thief installed a malicious app or spyware. This highlights the importance of regularly backing up your iPhone to ensure that you won’t lose any data if these measures need to be taken.
Your lock screen stands at the forefront of defense against malicious attempts. While a 4-digit passcode is better than nothing, having a more complex lock screen password is a safer bet. This is because criminals can use methods such as brute force attacks to “guess” more simple character combinations.
You can also set your iPhone to erase itself after a certain number of failed entries. Just be sure that you won’t forget your password if you enable this feature. Turning off lock screen notifications will prevent any potentially sensitive data from being visible until your phone is unlocked.
Find My iPhone
This free iCloud feature is key to being able to locate your device in the event that it’s stolen. You can also use it to ring your iPhone in case you’ve lost it at home or in the car. As long as your phone is updated to iOS 13, you’ll even be able to track it when it’s offline as it can then connect to nearby Bluetooth beacons. This brings us to our next point.
Make sure that your iPhone is always running the latest version of iOS. Each update brings patches that protect against the most recently-discovered vulnerabilities. While you’re in the settings app, it’s a good idea to run through the privacy section. Here you can control the level of access (permissions) available to each app on your device.
You might be familiar with VPN apps. They’re the mobile version of Virtual Private Network software, which improves your online privacy by hiding your browsing activity. This prevents third parties from being able to access your location and improves your security when connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots.
There are several great VPN apps out there. You can take a look at these how to guides on Anonymania to learn more about VPNs, such as how they work and their benefits. Their VPN how tos also provide information on accessing online services that aren’t available in your country, which can help you watch shows that only air abroad.
In addition to a VPN, there are some other apps and tools that you can download to make your iPhone more secure. For instance, you can use an encrypted messenger such as WhatsApp, Telegram or Signal to stop anyone from spying on your texts. Browsers like Firefox Focus and Onion Browser help you surf the web more privately and securely.
Another important security tool is the password manager. This prevents the need for you to write down or type your passwords into an easily accessible notes-taking app. Some popular password managers include 1Password, mSecure and LastPass. Be sure to use a long and complicated password for that app.
As a bonus tip, don’t forget to enable two-factor authentication. This provides an additional layer of security over your passwords.
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