7 Security tips for your iPhone

Now, more than ever before, your phones contain an extensive amount of personal information. Be it obvious things such as private emails, photos, and banking information, or the not so obvious things like health data, location data or contacts. iOS comes with some powerful security features built in that are incredibly easy to use. 

We have collated some of our top tips for protecting your data while it's out and about.

1. Get a long passcode

Everyone should at least be using a simple passcode, 4 simple digits that can protect your phone from some unscrupulous person getting hold of private information. Newer versions of iOS are now defaulting to 6 digit passcodes and that is a significant improvement over 4 digits.

To enable a passcode:

1. Open "Settings" and go to "Touch ID and Passcode"
2.If you haven't turned on passcode then turn it on and then you can choose your type of passcode; a simple 4 digit code, a custom length code (A number based passcode that's as long as you want) or a custom alphanumeric code (more like a password that allows for the use of letters and numbers) 

Obviously setting a long alphanumeric password is longer but with a touch ID enable phone you only really need to use the passcode after your phone restarts or if you lose a finger!

2. Check which notifications are accessible through the lock screen.

Having quick access to your data without having to unlock your phone is brilliant, but that also means if someone picks up you phone they can also gain access to it. It's wise to double-check which apps are accessible from the lock screen. There could potentially be private information pop up in a text or an Apple Pay transaction you want to keep private.

To check what's enabled:

1. Open settings and tap on "Touch ID and passcode"
2. In the "Allow Access When Locked" Section you make some adjustments to what pops up.

We would suggest turning off Today (as it shows your appointments) Notifications View, Reply with Message (stops other people replying as you!), Wallet (depending on how frequently you use apple pay as this is also secured with your fingerprint) and possibly Siri.

NB. Leaving Siri enabled allows an honest person to ask Siri "Whose phone is this?" to see your contact information to return it to you.

3.Enable iCloud and Find My iPhone

Find My iPhone is a brilliant feature that has helped my wife find her phone on a number of occasions. Not only does it use the GPS to locate it on a map, so you can be sure you haven't left it the taxi, but allows you to play a sound on the phone even is the phone is on silent!

The other great feature it has is the ability to remotely wipe a lost iPhone. So if you left your phone on the train you can remotely remove all the data on it before anyone has the chance to access it.

1. Go to settings and tap on "iCloud"
2. Make sure that the "Find My iPhone" is set to ON.

4. Use iCloud backups

Backing up your iPhone used to mean having to plug your phone into your computer, but now iCloud will do it for you while it is plugged in and connected to Wifi. iCloud backups are encrypted to keep your data secure.

1. Open Settings and tap "iCloud"
2. Make sure iCloud backups are set to "ON"

Having iCloud backups makes restoring your phone to the way you like it simply on the off chance that you lose or break your phone. When setting up the new iPhone simply login with your iCloud details and you are given the option to restore from a backup and iCloud will do the rest.

5. Use 2-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication protects your iCloud account, if you are keeping encrypted backups and using "Find My iPhone" with you iCloud account you will want to protect it. Two-factor authentication will ask you to enter a code that will be displayed on another already authenticated device anytime you sign into iCloud. This is a little more involved to setup but is definitely worth it, for more info check out this Apple article on how to set it up.

6. Do a quick privacy audit

The app store is the best place to get apps from, each one is checked by Apple for any malicious code, but every so often a dubious app works it's way into the App store and performs a function you may not necessarily expect it to. Different apps have access to different parts of your phone, one of Apple's ways of stopping apps doing things they're not supposed to. Some apps may have access to your phone's location, camera or microphone for no explainable reason. Ask yourself, would a simple game need access to your microphone or photos. We don't want you to get overly paranoid but it's worth exercising some discretion about what apps have access to different parts of your phone.

To check your privacy settings:

1.Open the 'Settings' app and go to "Privacy"
2.Check each section concentrating on apps requiring Location Services, Contacts, Microphone, Camera and Photos
3. Turn off access to certain features if it seems wrong*

*Some apps may not function properly or not have a full range of features by turning access off. For example turning photos and camera access off for Instagram will mean it won't be able to function but you can turn off location services for the app but you won't be able to use the geotagging features.

7. Update iOS Software

Nearly every iOS update has a few bug and security fixes in it, so installing the latest version of iOS is a simple way of making sure have better protection than the previous versions. Apple is excellent at fixing security flaws quickly and the easiest way for you to keep up is to make sure you have the latest iOS.

Make sure you have a backup before updating iOS. The rest is easy:

1.Tap on settings and then General
2.Tap on Software Update to see if an update is available if it is, install it. 

If you have any concerns about the security of your devices or would like any assistance in getting these settings setup on your device just email support@mavenconsultancy.com