Skip to Content
Apple iPhone settings
© Prykhodov | Dreamstime.com
Smartphones & gadgets

10 bad iPhone default settings you should change today

Your devices come preloaded with settings and apps that can slow things down. This is especially true with new PCs, which have many programs that start automatically as soon as you boot it up.

Windows comes with many preloaded programs that you’ll never use. Are you faxing stuff from your computer? Do you need remote desktop services (which exposes you to even more hacks)? Turn these settings off! Tap or click here to disable PC services without breaking anything.

Tech companies embed default settings into our devices that supposedly make our lives easier, but they often cause more problems than they are worth. Here are 10 default iPhone settings you should switch off.

Let’s get started

Your iPhone has many configurable settings, some of which make life easier. Others control apps or features you never use. And others still are not worth the battery drain.

Apple technically asks you to opt-in to some settings when you set up a new iPhone, but you might miss these steps in your excitement to get your phone up and running.

RELATED: Google Maps and Apple Maps: 10 hidden settings you’ll use all the time

We can usually opt-out or disable these settings, but it’s not always easy. Well, we’re here to change that. Here are 10 settings to adjust ASAP.

1. System Services

Many apps or services use your location when they don’t need to. While some need this data to work to their full potential, others can be turned off without any noticeable effect on your experience.

If you don’t use HomeKit or ApplePay, for example, you can turn off System Services for these features.

Here’s how to switch off System Services:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy > Locations Services and scroll down to System Services. Tap it and go through the list.
  • Settings like Cell Network Search, Networking & Wireless and Setting Time Zone don’t need to be on unless you’re traveling to a different country.
  • If you’re not using Homekit, turn that off too.

NOTE: Do not switch off Emergency Calls & SOS or Find my iPhone.

2. Significant Locations

Apple remembers where you were and makes suggestions based on those locations, such as calendar events or map directions alerts.

Turning this off will stop providing your locations to Apple and save battery life:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy > Locations Services > System Services.
  • Tap Significant Locations.
  • Hit the Clear History button while you’re here.

3. Product Improvement

Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world. We’re sure that the company can do just fine without our help.

Apple’s not paying you to improve their products, are they? Turn off this setting and save battery life to boot:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy > Locations Services > System Services.
  • Turn off all Product Improvement options.

4. Allow Friends to Find You

People with your phone number or email address can find you on Apple Music. This may include friends or family, but it can also be anyone else. It’s better to turn off this setting:

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > Media & Purchases > View Account.
  • You may have to enter your password or verify yourself with Face ID.
  • Switch off Allow Friends to Find You. (NOTE: You need to be subscribed to Apple Music to see this setting.)

5. Allow Apps to Request to Track

This setting automatically denies any new app tracking requests. Here’s how to switch off personalized advertising:

Go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking and turn off Allow Apps to Request to Track.

6. Share iPhone Analytics

This setting gives Apple information on how your device is being used. It also helps Apple and app developers with their services. It’s a battery drain, plus why would you want Apple to share your data with others? Turn this one off.

  • Go to Settings > Privacy > Analytics & Improvements.
  • Turn off Share iPhone Analytics.

7. Personalized Ads

Companies don’t need to know so much about you to serve ads. Turning off this setting won’t get you irrelevant ads, as there are other ways for advertisers to track you. At least put a limit to their efforts.

  • Go to Settings > Privacy > Apple Advertising.
  • Switch off Personalized Ads. 

8. Location Services

Location services,can be helpful for apps like Google Maps or when tagging your location on social media (which is usually not a good idea). You may want to keep it on for your navigation and ridesharing apps, but turn it off for games and other apps that don’t need to know where you are.

Some apps default location services to Always. Must they know where you are at all times, if at all?

  • Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
  • Change the settings for each app to While using the App or Never.

9. In-App Ratings & Reviews

Whether you love or hate an app, you have the option to rate and review it. But there should be no pressure or obligation. In-app review prompts can pop up at inconvenient moments.

You can always leave a review when and as you see fit. You don’t need a prompt!

  • Go to Settings > App Store.
  • Turn off In-App Ratings & Reviews.

10. Fetch New Data

Push email consumes your battery, especially when multiple email accounts are grabbing messages.

Do you check your email every second? No. Do you need your phone to constantly drain your battery by checking for new messages? Again, no.

  • Go to Settings > Mail > Accounts.
  • Select Fetch New Data and toggle off Push. Don’t worry — you can get new data whenever you open a mailbox.
  • You can set how often your phone checks on new data in the Fetch section at the bottom of the page.

Bonus: Background App Refresh

With Background app refresh turned on, certain apps constantly download content and use cellular data (and battery life) in the background, even if you don’t use the app!

By default, all apps have background refresh set to on. Consider turning off background app refresh for messaging, email and social media apps.

  • Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh.
  • If you don’t want any apps to refresh in the background, you can globally turn off Background App Refresh. But you probably don’t want to do that since some apps actually need to refresh.
  • Instead, scroll through the list of all your apps on the Background App Refresh page and toggle off each app you don’t want to refresh automatically. With that done, you may have to wait a few seconds for updates whenever you open an app. That’s the only sacrifice. And it’s worth it!

You may also like: Job hunting on LinkedIn? Change this setting to keep your searches private

Stop robocalls once and for all

Robocalls are not only annoying, but they scam Americans out of millions every year. Learn Kim's tricks for stopping them for good in this handy guide.

Get the eBook