18.11.2019 BLOG

iPhone Security – all you need to know

To get the latest security protections against viruses, exploits and whatever other nasty stuff is out there, it’s wise to keep the software for our devices updated.

For iPhones, that’s especially true now. That’s because Apple’s iOS 13, the most recent mobile software for iPhones, has arrived. Similar updates to iPadOS, the operating system for iPads, have also been released. They offer many new tools that help safeguard our digital privacy.

Apple told a reporter for NY Times a list of the new privacy features. Among them is a shortcut to automatically create a burner email address for signing in to apps. The software also has a call-silencing feature to shut down robocallers. And there are new buttons to minimize sharing of location data with third parties.

In an era when digital privacy is in the spotlight, these tools are more than welcome. So NY Times tested iOS 13 for a week to figure out which of the new features are easy to use and how best to take advantage of those items that are buried in the system settings.

Sign in with Apple.

Apple’s most significant new privacy tool in iOS 13 is a button that lets you use an Apple ID to sign in to apps and websites. It’s called Sign in with Apple. Versions of this already exist elsewhere. Google and Facebook, for instance, let you use your Google or Facebook accounts to log in to different websites and apps. But Sign in with Apple has a special privacy-centric twist. When you use it to register for a website or app, iOS 13 will present you with an option to hide your email address that is linked to your Apple ID. If you choose to use it, Apple will create what is essentially a burner email address so that you can sign up for the app or website while hiding your real email address from the third party.
Whenever the website or app then tries to contact you, it will email the burner address and not your real email address. Apple will forward the note to you so you are aware of it. Then if a business starts sending spam to the burner email address, you can easily delete your account and the business won’t have your real email address.

Silence unknown callers. 

Robocallers can make random calls to you throughout the day, which is invasive. But a new option in iOS 13 lets you silence calls coming from all unknown numbers, if that is something you find irritating. However, could you potentially miss some important calls? The jury is out on that one.

To turn on the feature, you open the Settings app, open the Phone menu and toggle on the switch for Silence Unknown Callers. When an unknown caller then tries to call, you will see a notification on your screen, but the phone won’t vibrate or ring. The caller is sent to voice mail.

Stop apps & people following your location.

Unbeknown to many of us, thousands of apps have been collecting our location data and selling the information to advertisers and retailers.New buttons in iOS 13 help address this issue.
In the past, when opening a newly downloaded app that wanted access to your location, you had the option of always sharing location data, sharing it only when the app was in use or never sharing location. Now when you open an app that is asking for your location, you can tap “Allow Once.” If you tap it, you are explicitly giving the app permission to share your location that one time. That eliminates the app’s ability to continue pulling your location data in the background when you are not using it.
The annoying part of this is that if you tap Allow Once, you will be asked how you want to share your location data every time you open the app. But it’s worth using for peace of mind if you don’t fully trust an app that wants your location — a weather app from an unknown start-up, for example.

Over all, these are thoughtful additions to iOS. Although some of these features feel overdue, Apple’s software system is better equipped to protect our privacy than its main rival, Google’s Android. What are your thoughts on privacy control?

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