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Companies can track your iPhone – unless you change these settings

Data breaches are scary, but they do remind us of a few things: data is valuable because it tells companies who we are and what we like, that companies and apps are after as much data as possible and we should protect our data whenever we can.

After all, data breaches put you at risk for credit card theft and even identity theft. With the digital world making sensitive information more accessible, we need ways to keep some things private. Tap or click to learn more about the dangers of data breaches.

Apple has seen the need for better privacy, and iOS 13 makes it possible to control how often companies track you and get data from your Apple devices. Keep tech companies and hackers at bay with the new privacy features on your iPhone.

Only you need to know where you are

Many apps ask for permission to know your location. In apps like Google Maps, that makes sense, but social media apps and games want to know your location too. Those have less justification. Just tap or click here to see which apps are known for stealing your sensitive data.

Sure, you might want to share your location on social media if you’re at a cool new place, and geotags on Snapchat are fun to use too. But it can be genuinely dangerous to post your location publicly — anyone could find you. Savvy hackers use location information to deduce details like your address, where you work and even to determine when you’ll be home.

Thankfully, Apple understands how easily criminals can glean information, so in iOS 13 you now have some serious control over what location data you share with different apps.

Apple has always made it possible to disable location services for certain apps, but the controls are now more specific and customizable.

Once you download iOS 13, control your app location permissions by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. You’ll see a list of your apps there, and you can decide how often they get to use the location services. This level of control will help keep your data safe, so make sure you use this feature ASAP.

Know when apps are accessing your data

Even if you control when and where your location services are accessed, some apps can be sneaky. They’ll access your location in the background every so often to glean just a little bit of data. The amount of information they learn adds up over time, but with iOS 13 you can know when apps are trying to sneak around.

With iOS 13, your iPhone will send you notifications when background apps access your location info. This notification can help you track down the less scrupulous apps, which tend to be big battery drainers and privacy violators.

From there, you can decide whether to change their location permissions via Settings, or decide if you’d rather remove them altogether. You don’t need apps that access your data without permission — not if you want to be safe.

Block back doors for data gathering

Apps can get your location information from your iPhone’s location services, but it’s not the only way. Some apps can learn location information from your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, just by seeing where your IP address is located or what devices (which can also report locations) your Bluetooth connects to.

This means your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth permissions also impact how much data companies and apps can gather about you — maybe even more so than location services, since many apps don’t bother to ask for your location at all. They just piece it together themselves. So what can iOS 13 help you do about this?

First, iOS 13 lets you decide Bluetooth permissions on every app you use. As with location services, you access this by going to Settings > Privacy > Bluetooth. Once again, you’ll be presented with a list of your apps, and you can decide if they can access your Bluetooth.

Tap or click here to learn about a major Bluetooth flaw that exposed millions of devices to attacks. There aren’t customizable options for allowing Bluetooth, but because Bluetooth isn’t always secure, it gives you some control over what data which apps can gather.

Next, iOS 13 lets you control some aspects of how your iPhone works on Wi-Fi. You can disable tracking in Safari, so data gathered about you on one site can’t carry over onto another. This makes it hard for companies to send you the same ads over and over, because they have less data to work with.

Just go to Settings > Safari > and toggle off Prevent Cross-Site Tracking.

Another feature of iOS 13 includes a secure password autofill. These are passwords stored in the iCloud Keychain that requires your Touch ID or Face ID to confirm your identity before it autfills your passwords onto sites and apps. This feature also allows you to connect to a few third-party password apps like 1Password, Dashlane and LastPass.

Note: You can only use this feature, called Apple sign in, if you have two-factor authentication turned on and you need to be signed in to your Apple ID on your Apple device.

Keeping your information private on your iPhone is easier than ever with iOS 13’s new features. Make sure you upgrade and use them as soon as you can to keep data gathering down and security up. Your iPhone shouldn’t give out all your information, so iOS 13 helps you share only when necessary. Get it today!

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