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How To Increase Privacy On Your iPhone

December 12, 2022

Privacy has become a focus for Apple over the years, and iOS devices are some of the most secure on the planet. That said, as Apple adds privacy features, the settings on your phone multiply, and you may not be taking advantage of all of them.

Many privacy settings are set up so that you can opt-in or opt-out of the feature. This is especially true when it comes to location tracking.

In this guide, we will take you through the most important privacy features on your iOS device.

How To Customize Analytic Sharing on iOS

Analytics are used by Apple and third-party app developers to improve their products and services. Generally speaking, the analytic information shared from your iOS device is randomized, secure, and anonymized.

You can opt-in or out of all of the analytic behaviour on your phone.

Follow these steps to learn more:

1. Open the Settings app and tap on Privacy.

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2. Scroll to the bottom and tap on Analytics & Improvements.

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3. Right at the top, you can turn off all of your iPhone analytic gathering. If you are not comfortable with Apple or third-party app developers seeing your usage information, you can simply turn it all off.

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4. If you want these options on, you can leave them on. You can ‘Share Phone Analytics’ and you can see the analytic data by tapping the Analytics Data button.

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5. The other options include Improving Siri & Dictation, Sharing iCloud Analytics, Improving Health & Activity, and Improving Health Records.

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6. Finally at the bottom there is the Improve Handwashing section, and Improve Wheelchair mode. The handwashing feature is new and it collects some motion and audio data. The Wheelchair Mode might be left on if you use a wheelchair.

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You can choose which options to leave on or off. If you would rather not share any analytic data, that is totally fine and it should not affect your user experience.

Reset Your Identifier For News, Books, and Stocks

An identifier is a special code used to track you, and there are apps that use this code. This identifier is used to report statistics to news publishers.

To increase privacy, turn on the Reset Identifier button.

1. Open the Settings app and tap on News.

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2. Scroll to the bottom and turn on Reset Identifier.

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Prevent Apps From Tracking You

By default, apps are required to ask your permission before tracking you. This is already a good privacy option, but if you don’t want the apps to ask, you can turn off that feature altogether.

This will affect some apps like Google Maps which require your location to function. You can change the settings for those apps individually.

1. Open the Settings app and tap on Privacy.

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2. Tap on Tracking.

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3. Turn the Allow Apps to Request to Track slider off.

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Make Your MAC Address Private

To avoid being identified on Wi-Fi servers, especially public ones, you can make your MAC address private. You need to do this whenever you join a new Wi-Fi network, although it is best used on public Wi-Fi or private Wi-Fi that is shared by many users.

1. Open the Settings app and tap on Wi-Fi.

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2. Tap the blue ‘i’ button beside the Wi-Fi network you are using.

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3. Make sure that the Private Address feature is turned on.

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This feature prevents tracking of your iOS device across Wi-Fi networks.

Turn Off Cross-Site Tracking

Websites can tell if you have Apple Pay or an Apple Card set up. If you do not want websites to know this information, you can turn off cross site tracking.

1. Open the Settings app and tap on Safari.

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2. Scroll down to Privacy & Security and turn on Prevent Cross-Site Tracking.

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Use Ecosia or DuckDuckGo As Your Default Search Engine

Google is an excellent search engine, but it is not the most secure. Google makes much of its money off of tracking and data collection.

Apple has made Ecosia usable on iOS devices. This is one of the most secure search engines currently available. Either Ecosia or DuckDuckGo would be a good option for users interested in Privacy.

1. Open the Settings app and tap on Safari.

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2. Tap on Search Engine.

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3. Select DuckDuckGo or Ecosia for more secure searches.

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Turn Off Targeted Advertising

Apple analyses iPhone usage to create more personalized ads. If you turn this off, you won’t receive less ads, but the ads won’t be personalized. Some users prefer this, others find it more useful to have personalized ads.

1. Open the Settings app and tap on Privacy

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2. Scroll to the bottom and tap on Apple Advertising.

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3. Turn off Personalized Ads.

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Final Thoughts on Privacy in iOS

Privacy is a major concern for most users and Apple has made the Privacy settings more relevant and more accessible. You just have to know where to look.

Hopefully, this guide helped you lock down your iPhone to a level you are comfortable with. Continue to explore the Privacy section, as there are lots of ways to make your usage more private.

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