12 Security Tips To Protect Your iPhone

February 7, 2019 by Zehra Ali

We are in the time where all our information, from contacts to bank details, is digitized into smartphones. Having all the data into a single device makes it vulnerable to surveillance and data thefts.

Just the thought of our iPhones ending up into a stranger’s hands gives us chills as it contains sensitive photos as well as passwords and various other personal details.

Recent reports on some iOS apps recording the screen of users through Glassbox SDK without authorization. These apps take screenshots, keyboard entries as well as other on-screen interactions and then forward it to Glassbox SDK for examination. This has been a somewhat alarming situation for iPhone users.

You can still manage to secure your iPhone through some ways that are available to maintain the security. However, we must inform you that even though these security tips will help maximize your iPhone’s privacy, they may deprive you from some of its convenient features.

12 Tips to Maximize your iPhone Security

Your concerns about the disclosure of your iPhone’s information like passwords, messages or bank details are reasonable. This guide provides you with tips on how to get rid of those worries. While the iOS system itself is pretty secure, but there are some approaches to maximize the security of the iPhone.

1. Regularly update iOS

To protect your iPhone from potential hackers or data snoopers, keep your iOS updated with the latest version provided by Apple. This includes the small ‘dot’ updates usually overlooked by users.

With constant work, hackers often succeed in finding loopholes or flaws in Apple’s coding thus allowing them to exploit it and gain access to your data. To prevent this from occurring, Apple continually provides updates on iOS as a way of battling the hacker’s attempts.

The current version of iOS is 12.1.4, but Apples continually releases point updates, so it’s necessary to keep an eye out for those. These updates are provided to enhance the security features and to patch up the previously overlooked flaws.

The regular update of iOS can be done as:

  • Open the ‘settings’ app
  • Tab ‘general.’

Go on the ‘software update,’ instructions to download and install the update will appear a new software update is available.

2. Enable the ‘Find My iPhone.’

Another approach which helps you to ensure the safety of the iPhone is to make use of the “find my iPhone” application provided by Apple. This comes in handy if by chance your iPhone gets lost or is stolen. This way your data will be remotely wiped using another iOS device or the web.

Through this, even if the hacker manages to gain access to your phone, your data won’t be available for him to exploit. The activation code in the iOS device only allows you to view the data.

Following are the steps to utilize the ‘Find My iPhone’ feature:

  • Log in to the ‘find my iPhone’ app or ‘iCloud’ website.
  • Choose your ‘iPhone.’
  • Tap on ‘erase data’ to wipe off your data completely.

The data will automatically be erased if the device is connected to a Wi-Fi network or will be erased the next time the device gets connected to a network. If you are concerned about losing your data, then it’s better to turn on automatic iCloud synchronization.

This feature as the name implies also helps in finding the location of the lost device. However, it is important to remember that Apple only receives information regarding the missing device if “Lost Mode” or “Send Last Location” is enabled.

3. Set up a strong password

Strong passwords ensure better protection of data. Therefore, we recommend “setting up” an alphanumeric password. Admittedly long passwords may prove to be a hassle, but they also ensure privacy.

Furthermore, a new hacking tool known as ‘GrayKey” has been introduced that is being used by law enforcement and the government. This tool can break a four-digit passcode in seconds while six-digit codes can be broken in a few days.

While the government or the police may have no reason to hack into your phones but what our point here is that if this kind of tool exists, there are likely chances for similar devices to be present with hackers or prying eyes.

Although there have been recent reports of Apple being successful at blocking this “GrayKey” hacking tool from breaching iOS security it is still considered to use strong alphanumeric passwords unlike short four digit or six digit ones as they are hard to break into. Using Touch ID/Face ID is also considered reliable.

Follow the given steps to create a strong password:

  • Go to ‘settings.’
  • Open Touch ID/ Face ID and passcode.
  • Enter the current passcode.
  • Tap on change passcode.
  • Enter your passcode.
  • Go on ‘passcode options.’
  • From the provided options chose either numeric code or alphanumeric code.
  • Now enter the new code and verify it.

4. Activate the ‘Data Protection’ feature

This point might sound dissatisfying to some people, but it helps ensure maximum privacy. Apple provides its users to set up their phones to erase its data. This “data protection” features go as, if someone gets through with ten failed attempts to enter the correct password, the data present in the device automatically gets erased.

This is somewhat worrying for people who tend to forget their passwords as there are reports of people accidentally erasing their data. These are customarily the same people who don’t use the iCloud auto synchronization facility.

Therefore, with this feature on it is essential to turn on iCloud synchronization. This way in case you ever forget your passcode or your device ends up in a child’s hand and the data ends up erased you still have the option to recover it from iCloud.

Following are the steps to turn on the ‘data protection’ feature:

  • Open up ‘settings.’
  • Tap on Touch ID and passcode or Face ID.
  • Enable the ‘erase data’ option present on the bottom of the page.

5. Don’t jailbreak your Apple device

Jailbreak is circumventing the restrictions Apple puts on the operating system of the device. It allows users to access the apps and software that are otherwise restricted to iPhone users. Furthermore, it allows for more customizable options for users.

As enticing as jailbreaking the device may sound, but it is strongly advised against. This is because jailbreaking the device would make it helpless to viruses and other malware. With the device jailbroken you would be in the danger of downloading unscreened applications that would bring viruses and other malware with them.

Apart from that jailbreaking a device disrupts the original security system designed by Apple, making the device un-secure. Furthermore once a device is jailbroken its warranty gets disrupted so in case of any problems you can’t ask Apple to help you out.

6. Encrypt your iPhone backup

This precaution is particularly crucial if you have your iPhone synchronized with a laptop or a computer. This means that whatever data is present in your phone it would be in that synchronized device too. Secure your iPhone data by encrypting it.

You can do this in iTunes specifically when two iPhone devices are synchronized. iTunes usually doesn’t back up some of your data like passwords or web history. Once encryption is turned on you can back up this data too.

Follow these steps to encrypt your iPhone backup:

  • Connect the device to a computer.
  • Open up iTunes.
  • Select the device whose data you wanted encrypted.
  • Go to the backup section.
  • Check the box for ‘encrypt’ iPhone/iPad back up.

iCloud has the feature of automatically encrypting the backup data, so you don’t have to do anything to enable that feature.

These are the steps to enable ‘data backup’ through iCloud.

  • Open up ‘setting.’
  • Go to Apple ID banners.
  • Fire up iCloud.
  • Toggle the switch present next to iCloud Backup.
  • Tap on ‘backup’ now.

7. Disable lock-screen option

Even if you have a very secure lock screen password, it is still somewhat easy to crack into your iPhone. Apple’s assistant Siri is a great and helpful feature, but often in its attempts to be useful, it ends up revealing far too much information.

Siri often asks for some verification before providing access to photos, contacts or any other personal data but there have been occasions when people have found ways to sidestep these verification methods. Therefore, it is better to disable Siri on the lock screen no matter how convenient it is.

Another way for hackers to gain access to your phone or to at least get some time to bypass the password is through the control center present on the lock screen. The lock screen has the option to turn on flight mode. With your iPhone on flight mode, you won’t be able to look it up through the find my iPhone feature too.

Disable lock-screen can be done through this:

  • Go to ‘settings.’
  • Go to Touch ID/ Face ID and passcode.
  • Turn off the ‘allow access when locked’ of Siri and control center.

8. Turn-off auto fill option

Apple has a crucial feature of prompting users to save their information once they have completed the login in possibilities. It is a very convenient feature as it means you don’t have to remember passwords all the time. A simple tap allows access to any data you want.

Now, we know it may be exceedingly annoying having to put in passwords every time you log in, but in case your phone ends up in a stranger’s hand then he would have easy access to your personal information so no matter the convenience it is still substantial to have the “auto fill” option disabled.

Turn-off auto fill option can be disabled using this method:

  • Go to ‘settings.’
  • Open up Safari.
  • Toggle off Auto-fill.

9. Turn on two-factor authentication

If you have your iCloud back up turned on then it’s better to have two-factor authentication turned on. This innovative feature provides and an extra layer of protection to its users. The purpose of introducing this feature was to protect your Apple ID as well as an iCloud account from unauthorized access.

Two-step authentication secures the data saved in Apple ID, and the iCloud account which includes documents, pictures, payment information, etc. with the two-step verification turned on someone would need another one of your Apple device to access the account even if you have the password.

With the two factor authentication turned on in your iPhone you need it paired with a trusted Apple device. When you sign in from the Apple ID for the first time, a verification code will appear on your trusted Apple device. Once you enter that security code into your iPhone, the device is approved.

This is a convenient feature and is turned using these steps:

  • Go to the ‘settings’ app of your iPhone.
  • Tap on ‘your name’ written at the top.
  • Select ‘password and security.’
  • Tap on two-factor authentication.

10. Use trusted charging stations

Charging stations are now a convenience on airports, cafes and other public places. While these stations are very fitting but there is no guarantee of them being secure. Lightning and charging cables are used for transmission of data so every time you plug into a charging station, there are chances of you exposing your phone data.

Furthermore, once your device is connected to a juice jacking station via USB, it is possible to access it wirelessly at any time without your consent or knowledge as long as the hacker is reachable. Therefore, it is better to have a fully charged power bank so as you don’t have to depend upon the charging stations.

You can also get a data blocking charging cable to use when you’re out, or you can keep your device locked and not use it while it’s connected to a charging station. Another thing that can be done is that you could turn on the “USB restricted” mode feature provided by Apple.

This feature has been introduced by Apple mainly to stop the phone from getting hacked by law enforcement authorities as well as criminals. With this feature turned on it is not possible to access the device without unlocking it.

This feature can be turned on in the following way:

  • Open up ‘Settings.’
  • Go to Touch ID and password/Face ID.
  • Put in the password to access the settings.
  • Scroll down at the bottom to the ‘USB accessories’ option.
  • Leave it toggled off if you want to disable access to your device through ‘USB connections’ if it’s been more than an hour since it’s been unlocked.
  • Toggle it on if you want your device to be accessed through a USB connection even if you haven’t unlocked your phone for an hour.

11. Use a VPN

In recent times, the most valuable option to secure your iPhone would be to use a VPN service. VPN is a smart and ultra-modern software which is designed to maintain the security of the iPhone. VPN provides an extra layer of protection and allows you to use your device without any reservations.

A VPN server provides secure and private access to the web. It conceals your connections through the code and hides your IP address even from the ISPs making it nearly impossible to track your data online.

Without a VPN your information is out in the open for anyone to snoop upon. VPN encodes this information and provides security.

With the information, encrypted no one can access it without having the original encryption key. Furthermore with the IP address hidden it is impossible for anyone to track you down. Thus VPN is a method of providing extra protection.

Steps to set up a VPN on the iPhone.

  • First,’ download’ the VPN app on your iPhone.
  • After signing up, there will be a prompt to allow access to VPN configuration on your device.
  • Tap, allow getting a VPN configured on your device.
  • To change ‘VPN settings,’ you’ll have to put in Touch ID.
  • Then go to ‘settings.’
  • Tab to ‘general.’
  • There go to ‘VPN option’ and toggle it on.

12. Abandon Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is the ultimate source for hackers to fish for potential targets. Therefore, it is recommended not to use public connections. Using a public connection for personal purposes such as transferring bank details or using it for business work means exposing your data for anyone to snoop upon.

iPhone has a feature of connecting to public Wi-Fi automatically. This feature no matter how useful can expose you to potential hackers and cybercriminals which is why it is not a very smart idea to use public Wi-Fi networks and even if you do use one so it’s better to use it with a VPN.

Conclusion

Security of data on the iPhone is the most crucial thing that you should be concerned. Although, it is not simple for a cybercriminal to break into iPhone yet you have to pay attention to all the detailed security tips that will enhance protection of data.

Make it hard for them, though it will also be made robust for you. Touch ID and a strong password help you a lot in building great security. Two-step verification and discarding automatic Wi-Fi connection also improve security. Moreover, several other options that we told you above will surely help you in building desired and perfect security for the iPhone.

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