You often hear about securing your computer and home network, but have you ever thought about securing your phone too? Our smartphones go with us everywhere and carry a lot of personal information. It’s vital that you keep yours properly secured to keep your information safe.
Today we’re taking a look at some essential iOS security tips for iPhone users. We’ll point out some settings and best practices you should know.
1. Use a Longer Passcode
For a long time, iOS used a four-digit passcode to secure your phone. In recent versions, this has switched to a six-character passcode instead. While this sounds minor, the security implications are significant.
With a four-digit code, there are 10,000 possible combinations. Increasing this to a six-digit code results in one million possible combinations. 10,000 combinations is okay, but you’ll feel much safer if your PIN is one in a million.
If you set up your iPhone recently, you probably already have a six-digit code. But if you’re still using an old four-digit code, you can head to Settings > Touch ID (or Face ID) & Passcode to change it. Enter your current passcode, then scroll down and choose Change Passcode.
Confirm your current code once more, then you’ll have the chance to enter a new one. Tap Passcode Options here and you can choose between four digits, six digits, or a custom numeric code of any length. For maximum security, you can also set an alphanumeric password (like one you’d use for a website), though this is fairly inconvenient.
Of course, modern iPhone also have Touch ID that uses your fingerprint or Face ID that uses your face to unlock your phone. These are fine for normal use, but a longer passcode keeps your device safe when you need to use it.
2. Enable Find My iPhone
Every iPhone has a feature built-in called Find My iPhone. This allows you to locate your device if it’s lost or stolen. iOS probably prompted you to enable it when you set up your phone, but it’s worth double-checking for peace of mind.
Open Settings and tap your name at the top of the list. On the resulting page, choose iCloud and scroll near the bottom of the list to open Find My iPhone. Here, make sure the Find My iPhone slider is on. You can optionally enable Send Last Location if you want your phone to report its location before the battery dies.
When you need to find your phone, head to Apple’s Find My iPhone website. After signing into iCloud, you can play a sound if you’ve misplaced your phone in your house, mark it as lost, or erase it remotely.
3. Keep iOS Up-to-Date
Like any software or operating system, Apple issues updates to iOS regularly. While these can add features and fix minor bugs, they also include security patches. If someone discovers a new iOS security vulnerability, your best protection against it is updating iOS as soon as possible.
Skipping updates for long periods of time can reduce your device’s security and open you up to attack. You should thus always apply system updates as soon as you can. To check for updates manually, open Settings > General > Software Update.
4. Enable Two-Step Verification
We’ve discussed the importance of two-factor authentication before. When you enable it, you need a secondary code along with your password to sign into an account. To keep your Apple ID (which is tied to your iPhone and other Apple devices) safe, you should take advantage of this security option.
To turn it on, visit Settings and tap your name at the top of the list. Tap Password & Security here, followed by Turn On Two-Factor Authentication. Next, you’ll need to enter your phone number, where you’ll receive login codes. You can choose between calls and texts for the code.
Tap Next and Apple will send you a verification code. Enter that number to confirm, and you’re ready to use two-factor authentication.
Now, when you try to sign into your Apple ID on a new device, you’ll need to enter a code in addition to your password.
5. Review App Permissions
When an app wants to access a sensitive area of your phone, such as your contacts or the camera, it has to ask for permission. Once you grant these permissions, they stay enabled unless you manually disable them. It’s thus not a bad idea to review what permissions you’ve granted to apps every once in a while.
Of course, permissions aren’t bad in themselves. Many apps require them to work properly—Google Maps isn’t much good without access to your location, for example. But you might want to think twice about granting a game access to your contacts.
To review app permissions, visit Settings > Privacy. Here you can browse the list of permissions (like Photos, Microphone, and more) and see which apps have access to them. To revoke a permission, just move the slider into the Off position. Remember that some app functionality might not work if you disable permissions.
If you’d prefer to browse permissions by app instead of by category, scroll to the bottom of Settings and tap the app name. You’ll see all permissions the app has and can manage them.
Keep Your iPhone Safe
We’ve taken a look at five important security tips for your iPhone. If you haven’t reviewed these options in a while, getting all this taken care of will go a long way for your security. Thankfully, Apple makes it easy to keep your device secure without sacrificing too much convenience.