iOS 14: How to change iPhone privacy and security settings

How to change iPhone privacy settings

iPhone’s operating system (iOS) does a great job when it comes to privacy. Without your permission, it does not let apps access your sensitive data like contacts, photos, health data, location, etc. The same goes for hardware access like microphone, camera, on-device motion & fitness sensors, and Bluetooth. Moreover, you can further modify these settings. Keep scrolling to understand how to change iPhone privacy and security settings. Additionally, I have mentioned other privacy tips for a safe and secure experience.

Change iPhone Privacy settings

Change location access for iPhone apps

Your location is a critical piece of private information. It is vital to ensure that irrelevant apps have no access to it.

For example, if Uber, Ola, KFC, weather apps, etc., request your location, it is understandable. But if a random app, say private photo gallery or calculator requests your location, it is almost stupid to grant them this access.

Here is how to check which apps are using your location and how to turn them off.

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Privacy.
  2. Tap Location Services.
  3. Scroll down to see how apps are using your location. To change location access, tap an app.In Settings tap Privacy Location Services and choose an app
  4. Choose Never.
  5. Tip: Even for apps with location access, you may turn off Precise Location to get a bit more privacy.Tap Never to disable location for app

Extra info: You can also extend your battery life by turning off location for unnecessary apps.

Turn off location access for iPhone system services

  1. Open the Settings app → PrivacyLocation Services.
  2. At the bottom, tap System Services.
  3. Turn off unnecessary toggles.
  4. You may also turn off all the switches below PRODUCT IMPROVEMENT.Turn off location access for iPhone system services
Location Services on personal iPhone

Please see the image below to see the settings on my iPhone. But you must take a minute to read the system service names and turn off their location access only if you believe you do not need those.

Change photos access to safeguard memories

Photos and videos must never fall into the wrong hands. Thus, it is crucial to ensure that irrelevant apps don’t have access.

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Privacy.
  2. Tap Photos.
  3. Tap an app name.
  4. Choose None.
  5. Pro Tip: With iOS 14, you may also tap the Selected PhotosEdit Selected Photos → tap to choose the photos → Done. Now, the app only has access to the selected photos and nothing else.Change photos access to safeguard memories

My take: Sometimes, I have to send a screenshot to chat support of my banking or food app (for complaint). It is unnecessary to give full photo access to these apps. So, I use step 5 (selected photos). To be straightforward, I do not trust Facebook and other social media apps as well. So, I permit them access to selected images.

Turn off the camera and microphone access

The camera is your iPhone’s eyes and microphone its ears. To prevent (potential) audio snooping, it is essential to ensure that limited apps can access this.

  1. Launch the Settings app and tap Privacy.
  2. Tap Microphone.
  3. Turn off the switch next to unnecessary apps.
  4. Follow the same steps to disable Camera access.Turn off app Microphone access on iPhone

Pro Tip: With iOS 14, you see orange and green dots when an app accesses your microphone or camera. You can learn more about this here.

Similarly, change other privacy permissions

Just like location, photos, microphone, and camera, it is of prime importance to ensure that you look at other privacy settings and prevent unnecessary apps from reading and writing data to it.

  1. Inside the iPhone Settings app, tap Privacy.
  2. Tap an option like Contacts, Calendars, Bluetooth, Health, Files and Folders, etc.
  3. Turn off the switch next to an app to prevent it from accessing the said thing.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for other privacy settings.

Disable cross-app tracking in iOS 14

iOS 14 now makes it mandatory for an app to get your consent before tracking you over other third-party apps and websites. To disable cross-app tracking, check out our guide on how to block iPhone apps from tracking you.

Limit Apple Advertising

  1. Open the iPhone Settings app and tap Privacy.
  2. From the bottom, tap Apple Advertising.
  3. Turn off Personalized Ads.
  4. Optional: Before following step 3, you may tap View Ad Targeting Information to learn more.
    Turn off Personalized Ads on iPhone in iOS 14

Prevent sharing iPhone analytics

  1. Inside the Settings app, tap Privacy.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and tap Analytics & Improvements.
  3. Turn off Share iPhone Analytics.Turn off Share iPhone Analytics

Learn about apps’ privacy practices on the App Store

Learn about apps privacy practices on the App Store

One another fine addition to iOS 14 is privacy labels on the App Store. When you scroll down an app page on the App Store, you will see a heading named App Privacy. This has important information like what data this app uses to track you, what data it links to your identity, and more.

Other important points

In addition to the above privacy settings, you can further safeguard yourself by following the below recommendations.

We have talked more about strengthening your iPhone and iPad security plus privacy. Make sure you take a look.

Enjoy privacy with these iPhone privacy settings. It is your right!

iPhone is all about privacy. From buying billboards outside competitors’ launch events to precise ads, Apple does not shy from telling you how invested it is into ‘privacy.’

Apple Billboard on Privacy Outside CES

And to a considerable extent, I agree. Compared to any other operating system, I would trust Apple’s iOS and macOS the most regarding my data and privacy.

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