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iOS 11 privacy and security settings you need to update now

iOS 11 privacy and security settings you need to update now
Wachiwit | Dreamstime

It seems to be more difficult than ever to keep our sensitive information out of the hands of criminals. Hackers have been stepping up their game lately, causing massive data breaches like the one at Equifax, and ramping up ransomware attacks. It's a digital battlefield out there!

As a consumer, there's nothing we could have done to prevent becoming a victim of the Equifax breach. If a company has your critical data and it doesn't have strong enough security, there's potential that you'll fall victim to a data breach.

As I said, in that scenario, we're at the mercy of the company that has our information. However, there are times where we put ourselves at risk. Not setting up our gadgets with the tightest security is one example.

If you're an Apple user, there's a good chance that you've already updated your gadgets to iOS 11. But you might not have taken advantage of the operating system's latest security features yet.

That's why you need to know about iOS 11 privacy and security settings.

Keep thieves and snoops out of your gadget

The first step in keeping your iPhone secure is setting up a passcode. This will keep thieves and snoops out if it gets lost or stolen. (Note: If you have the iPhone X, you can use facial recognition instead of a passcode.)

Here's how to set one up:

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Touch ID & Passcode
  • Tap Turn Passcode on
  • Tap Passcode Options - You can choose from Custom Alphanumeric Code, Custom Numeric Dode, and 4-Digit Numeric Code

Always use this security setting where available

In the ever-changing world of technology, security should be your utmost concern. You have passwords that help to secure a vast majority of your online accounts. But to get the most out of your security, Two-Factor Authentication (TFA) is a great way to truly protect your information.

Apple ID’s TFA, if used properly, is a simple and easy way to guarantee that only you will ever have access to your Apple ID account.

If you, or anyone for that matter, wants access to your account you'll need three things: Your Apple ID, your password and access to one of your devices. If you do not have access to all three, you cannot get access to the Apple ID.

This is perfect because you know what your Apple ID is, and you should be the only one who knows your password (the longer the better - click here for password mistakes you need to avoid). You are also the only one with the device in hand, thus it becomes impossible for anyone else to gain access to your account.

When you sign into a new device for the first time, a prompt will appear on your trusted device followed by a temporary code. You don’t need to write this code down. Simply type the numbers from your trusted device onto the new device, and you’re in.

If you do not receive a code for whatever reason, don’t worry. Simply hit “didn’t get code” on the sign in screen and then you can text or call your trusted phone number to receive a code. If you’re on a web browser, one last prompt may appear asking if you want to trust the new device. By selecting “trust” you will then no longer need any codes when signing into that browser again.

It is important to take note that these “verification codes” that you are receiving are different from a passcode to get into your devices. This verification code is a one-time code that will not matter anymore after you’ve used it.

Remember, to properly use TFA you need to:

  • Remember your Apple ID password.
  • Use a device passcode on all your devices.
  • Keep your trusted phone number(s) up to date.
  • Keep your Apple devices physically secure.

With those things in mind, you should never have any issues gaining access to your account again. If you forget your password then TFA actually helps to reset it. On your Apple device, go to Settings >> [your name].

If you're using iOS 10.2 or earlier, go to Settings >> iCloud >> tap your Apple ID. Then tap password and security, and tap change password. Or you can go to iforgot.apple.com and reset it there. Just make sure that when you are choosing how to reset your password, choose “reset from trusted device.”

Keep apps from tracking you

Does the thought of being tracked by apps creep you out? With iOS 11, you can decide which apps will receive your GPS information.

You can limit each app individually on whether they can track your location all the time, only when you're using the app, or never.

(Note: Certain apps need to know your GPS location to function properly. Maps is one example, obviously, without knowing your location it wouldn't be able to provide you with directions or nearby locations. So choose the apps that you turn off location tracking wisely.)

Here's how:

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Privacy
  • Tap Location Services - Scroll down and you will see every app that's on your gadget
  • Tap each app individually and select when or if you want the app to have tracking permissions

Emergency feature

iOS 11 also comes with something called "Emergency SOS." When the feature is enabled, it automatically dials the number for emergency services, depending on location. Obviously, in the U.S. it's 911.

The new feature is designed to help someone in trouble contact emergency services more quickly. To activate the feature, simply tap the sleep/wake button rapidly five times. That action bypasses TouchID and your gadget calls 911.

Do you still need to "close" apps for a properly functioning phone?

Whether you're using an Apple iPhone or Google's Android operating system, you probably spend time closing apps. You may think it improves the performance of your smartphone or tablet or saves battery life. But does it?

Click here to see why doing this task may not be necessary after all.

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