In a world where privacy and security of personal data is taking a hit amidst government snooping and photo leaks, every company that deals with private information has to set up a wide range of controls in place. Apple is no exception to this.

There’s much more to privacy than meets the eye. Hidden inside Settings → Privacy is a plethora of switches and controls that you should use to protect your data from being tracked. While we can be sure of the fact that Apple would not let loose ends hang in its code that makes your information easily accessible, it’s best to review all these privacy settings yourself and tighten the security yourself.

Top 10 iOS 8 Privacy Settings

Top 10 iOS 8 Privacy Settings

#1. Geo-tagging Photos

Geo-tagging of photos helps you sort them into albums based on where you clicked the photos. It has been useful but the problem with geo-tagging is that the location data gets added to the EXIF of the photo. When you share the photo, that data is visible to all. If you’d rather not have location data given away along with the photo, you will have to turn the feature off. To do this:

  • Go to Settings → Privacy → Location Services

Location Services in iOS 8 on iPhone

  • Tap on Camera
  • Select “Never”

Stop Geo-tagging Photos in iOS 8

This will prevent location data from being recorded when you click photos.

#2. Share My Location

In iOS 8, Apple also introduced a new feature as a part of Family Sharing. This allows a family member to know your exact location which is helpful when you want to meet up, when parents need to track their kids etc. But if you wish to disable this, you can do this.

  • Go to Settings → Privacy → Location Services
  • Tap on Share My Location → and switch it off.

Disable Share My Location in iOS 8

#3. Apps using Location

A lot many apps might need to know your location to work in the intended way. For instance, if you are looking for directions on Maps (any maps app), you will have to allow that app to access your current location. Apple shows a prompt the first time any app asks for your location. To check which apps have access to this data, here’s what you can do:

  • Go to Settings → Privacy → Location Services
  • Scroll down and you’ll find a list of apps that might need to track location data
  • Tapping on each gives you three options: Always, Never, While Using

Apps using Location in iOS 8

Selecting Always will allow that app to track your location even when the app is in the background (not open). Selecting Never prohibits the app from tracking your location any time.

#4. iAds, Location-based

A lot of changes are being introduced to iAds to make ads better (but that’s kind of an oxymoron). iAds, the ad platform for iOS, can track some information so that the ads shown are more relevant. The silver-lining is that all information is anonymized, meaning your data goes to the trackers but they don’t know who you are and can never track your device. Still, you can turn this feature off so that iAds can’t track your location.

  • Open Settings → Privacy → Location Services
  • Scroll down and tap on System Services

Disable Location-based iAds

  • Turn off the switch for Location-based iAds

Turn Off Location-based iAds

#5. Contacts, Photos, Camera etc.

Under Settings → Privacy, you will also see a list of stock apps (like Camera, Photos, Contacts, Microphone) etc. Tapping each shows you a list of apps that have requested to access the data within the app. For instance, Facebook might have requested access to your Contacts. You can turn on/off the access from here. Usually, if turning off the access is not going to affect the way you use the app, it’s best to turn it off.

  • Go to Settings → Privacy and tap on each app (Camera, Photos etc.) to configure the access.

Contacts, Photos, Camera Privacy Setting in iOS 8

#6. More Advertising Privacy

Besides the location-based iAds, you can further limit ad-tracking. We’ve covered on this previously. To prevent any kind of data from being sent to advertisers from your iPhone/iPad:

  • Open Settings → Privacy → Advertising
  • Switch on Limit Ad Tracking

 Limit Ad Tracking in iOS 8

#7. Diagnostics & Usage

Apple, with your permission, collects anonymous usage data. This information is used to find out the performance of apps and iOS on the device. It helps Apple fix possible problem areas, bugs, issues and app crashes. Like iAds, Apple doesn’t know who the information is coming from because it is anonymized. However, you have the choice to prevent diagnostics and usage data from being sent to Apple. To do this:

  • Open Settings → Privacy
  • Tap on Diagnostics & Usage
  • Tap on Don’t Send

Stop Sending Diagnostics & Usage in iOS 8

#8. Website Tracking in Safari

Websites can track some information too. When you visit a website, it can try to track your locatio. Of course this is to make the experience better and more relevant but if you want to prevent it, there’s a way.

  • Go to Settings → Safari

Turn Off Website Tracking in Safari in iOS 8

  • Switch on Do Not Track under Privacy & Security

Disable Website Tracking in Safari in iOS 8

#9. Website Tracking in Chrome

Similar to Safari, other browsers – the most popular being Chrome – also let you enable/disable websites from tracking some data off your iPhone. In Chrome, you have to get to the settings from the browser (instead of going through Settings). Here’s a link to turning off website tracking off in Chrome.

#10. Using DuckDuckGo instead of Google

DuckDuckGo is now available as a default search engine besides Google, Bing etc. DuckDuckGo is different from Google in the fact that the website does not track any information of you when you search on it. (Unlike Google and any other search engine for that matter). To set DuckDuckGo as the default search engine:

  • Go to Settings → Safari
  • Tap on Search Engine
  • Select DuckDuckGo