The iPhone is one of the most popular smartphones, if not technology products, on the market today. There is a good chance at least a third of the people you know have one. Perhaps you called someone just now using yours. Perhaps you are using one right now to read this post.
This popularity comes with a few drawbacks. Since they are such a popular item, there is a large black market for them and thus they are often the target of thieves who then sell to people who may or may not know what is going on at a discount. While there are methods to protect your physical property, you should know that the cyber-security of your iPhone is just as important if not more important than the physical security.
Think about what you use your iPhone for and some of the data that might be on it or that you download or upload through it. Do you make purchases on your iPhone? Do you use your email a lot on your iPhone, or use any other sensitive online accounts? Are there online messages you’d rather not other people see coming from your iPhone? Without the proper measures, hackers can get ahold of all of this and make your life miserable.
Here are a few tips that should help you improve your iPhone security:
Adjust Your App Settings and Notice Your Privacy
Just what are your apps trying to do? Are they trying to access your personal information or are they requesting location data? If you are uncomfortable with even the idea of this, you should just go ahead and delete the apps in most circumstances. Chances are there is a better alternative out there for you or that the risk is not worth the minor convenience the app afforded you.
In addition, take a look at what apps want to run all of the time in the background. Some apps might constantly be sending out your important data or something that can be used to get back to you without you even noticing. These are apps you will want to adjust the settings of to something you are more comfortable with.
Use a VPN
You probably use your iPhone with public networks a lot to save more on your data plan, and thus take advantage of hotspots that are offered in places like cafes, libraries, and public buildings. While these networks can be extremely useful for you, without the right protections in place you can be put at a major risk as hackers with very basic equipment can go and look at data sent over insecure networks. This includes passwords, usernames, and financial information.
What a VPN (Virtual Private Network) will do for your iPhone is effectively make a secure connection between your phone and an offsite safe server which will do your browsing for you and send you what you requested. The connection is encrypted and untraceable, and any onlookers will, at best, be able to only know that you are using a VPN
Have a Plan for if Someone Steals Your Phone
While this is something that may be preventable, you should always have a plan for your data should the worst happen to your iPhone. Try to have a remote data wipe option available for your iPhone so that way no one can get to your data should someone steal it and figure they have an opportunistic streak.
In addition, you will want to make sure that the way you lock screen is protected is with something stronger than a 4 digit pin number. Those don’t take too long to crack, so consider using something a little longer such as a 10-digit number or a password with different types of characters. Some may recommend biometric verification but there have been court rulings that the police can force someone to open a phone with those but they can’t force someone to give up a password.
Back Up Your Data Frequently
If someone steals your iPhone or otherwise compromises it, it would probably be in your best interest if you simply had the phone deactivated, remotely wiped, or otherwise shut down. You do not want to be hesitant or have to think about it too much when you do this, because every moment you hesitate can be one moment closer to a criminal getting at your important data or using your phone to harass your contacts. This is why you should backup everything you can on your iPhone on some external storage (most likely your main computer).
In addition to this, if you back up your data you mitigate the risks of what might happen should your iPhone get stolen. If you had important projects stored on there or photos you might need for work then having a backup would relieve you of the worry of those particular problems, allowing you to focus primarily on the task of recovering or replacing your phone.
Keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Off When You Aren’t Using Them
While Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are extremely useful, if not absolutely essential, tools on your iPhone, you should be aware that if left open unsecure they might be a gateway into insecurity and allow people to backtrack your iPhone. If you keep them off when they aren’t being used, you will not only extend the battery life of your iPhone (they use up a lot of power), but you will have greater control over your own security.
In addition, you will want to turn off automatic association so you don’t have to worry about a whether something is insecure and your device automatically connecting with something dangerous.
I hope that these tips help you in figuring out what works best for your own iPhone security and that you will be safer in the future. Thank you for reading.