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24 tips for iPhone safety
26th April, 2022 |
Whether you’re still relying on a trusty iPhone 6s or the very latest iPhone 13 Pro Max, there are many advantages to putting your trust in Apple. And from the iPhone itself to the sensitive personal data it contains, there are plenty of options for keeping both yourself and your iPhone safe from harm.
So, whether you’re new to the Apple ecosystem or have been a devotee for years, here are 24 tips for iPhone safety. Better still, you can put any of these into action this very instant.
Remember, no matter how many safety procedures you follow, if you haven’t got the right iPhone insurance then all your efforts could be for nothing. From theft and loss to water damage, accidental drops and unauthorised usage, contact Gadget Cover for all your iPhone insurance needs.
1. Set a super strong passcode
Everyone needs a lock on their iPhone to prevent others from accessing it without their permission. A lock also makes it much harder for a thief to wipe the iPhone and reuse or sell it. The first line of defence on any iPhone is the creation of a strong passcode. To stay safe you want to do better than the familiar four-digit numeric passcode. Instead create a more complex alphanumeric combination. The unique mix of letters and numbers makes it much harder to break.
2. Manage your passwords effectively
Having one password for multiple devices and accounts is a recipe for a security disaster. If a thief or hacker finds out one of them then everything could be compromised. Many people use strong password manager apps to keep them all safe in one place. But ever since iOS 12, iPhone users now have a robust password manager called ‘iCloud Keychain’. It lets you manage all of your passwords and suggests strong codes to ensure your data is protected. According to Macworld, you’ll soon be able to add notes to saved passwords, too.
3. Make the most of iPhone’s advanced biometric identification
To prevent unauthorised access to your iPhone you’ll really want to make use of Apple’s super advanced and secure biometrics. Apple claims that Face ID uses some of the most advanced hardware and software it’s ever created. Powered by the TrueDepth camera, Apple’s Face ID is truly market-leading stuff. It automatically adapts to changes in your appearance and with iOS 15.4 and iPhone 12 or later, Face ID even works with face masks.
4. Use two-factor authentication for Apple ID
Even if someone else knows your password, two-factor authentication is enormously helpful and can provide an invaluable extra layer of security for your Apple ID. Once enabled, it only lets you access your account on trusted devices you’ve already signed into using two-factor authentication. So, even if someone knows your passwords, your account will continue to be safeguarded.
To set up two-factor authentication on your iPhone do the following:
- Go to Settings > Your name > Password & Security.
- Hit Turn on Two-Factor Authentication and tap Continue.
- Enter your phone number.
- Tap Next and you’ll be sent a verification code.
- Enter the verification code, turn on two-factor authentication and answer your Apple ID security questions.
5. Use Sign in with Apple
Sign in with Apple is a fast, easy and secure way to sign in to third-party apps and websites using your Apple ID. So, no need to use social media accounts, fill out forms, or choose another new password – all of which can threaten your security if the information falls into the wrong hands.
Before using this feature, you’ll need to make sure you’re signed in with your Apple ID and two-factor authentication is turned on. Then, hit the Sign in with Apple button on a supported website or app. After that, you have the option to review your information and even hide your email. In the end, sign in quickly and securely with either Face ID, Touch ID, or your device passcode and you’re ready to go!
6. Put an end to apps constantly tracking your location
Many of the most useful apps you download will want to know your location so they can work most effectively and give you the right information. However, many iPhone users have become concerned that these apps are tracking them without their knowledge – something that isn’t always safe for you.
To find out who is keeping tabs on you, the latest versions of iOS have some useful tools available. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. If the slider is turned On, it means that apps can track your location. To stop all apps from using Location Services slide it to Off.
Under Location Services you’ll find a list of apps that have access to your location. If you want to change the settings then tap on an app and choose from Never, Ask Next Time, While Using the App, or Always.
Be aware Location Services not only let these apps enjoy your private information. It also drains the battery and ties up processor power on your iPhone.
7. Say no to ad tracking
It’s not just your physical location they could be tracking. Your web browsing is also of interest to many companies who want to send an advertising blitz your way. We’ve got tips on how to stop your iPhone apps tracking you elsewhere on our site.
8. Delete location data from photos and videos
Uploading photos and videos onto social media is a big part of many people’s lives nowadays. However, while posting a family photo or a funny video from a night out might seem harmless enough, you might be putting yourself at risk. Photos and videos contain embedded metadata that reveals the location at which the shots were taken.
Unfortunately, you never know when someone might use the data to find where you live or where you have been. To stop this from happening, do this. When you’ve selected an image for sharing, tap on Options at the top of the screen. On the next screen you’ll see a number of options including Location; you need to toggle this to Off.
9. Disable Notification, Control Centre and Siri on Lock Screen
As we’ve already mentioned, locking your iPhone is an important way to secure it from prying eyes. However, it’s not an absolute block. Even a locked iPhone is still accessible to someone who really knows their way around these gadgets. With a bit of know-how, it’s possible for someone to sneak into certain parts of your device from the Notification or Control Centres.
Simply swiping up the Control Centre can give access to Flash, Camera, Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, and other tools. While accessing the Notification Centre allows easy access to messages and updates.
Leaving the ever-helpful Siri enabled on the lock screen can also create a security breach. As someone could ask Siri questions and give commands that would give them potentially valuable personal information.
To avoid any of this happening, disable both the Notification Centre, Control Centre, and Siri from the lock screen.
10. Clear your browsing history
When you’re busy browsing, your iPhone is constantly keeping a record of where you visit, so that next time you open the web page you’ll be able to access the site much quicker. While this is really helpful, it can also tell someone else exactly what you’ve been searching for, reading and watching. Even if you feel you’ve got nothing to hide, it’s still important to protect your privacy by regularly deleting the browsing history on your iPhone.
To clear your history and cookies, simply open Settings > Safari, and hit Clear History and Website Data. Be aware, this won't change your AutoFill information.
You can also turn Private Browsing on. So, you won’t have any problem keeping your personal information safe from prying eyes.
11. Use a VPN to browse the web when using public Wi-Fi
A popular high-tech solution to keep yourself safe when online is to use a ‘Virtual Private Network’ (VPN). A VPN essentially lets you create your own private network from a public internet connection. It uses sophisticated software to mask your IP address so no one can spy on what you’re up to. Whether you’re reading sensitive personal emails in your favourite restaurant or checking Facebook while waiting in line in the supermarket, hackers won’t be able to access your information.
For more on VPNs including what they are, how they work, what you should look for in a VPN provider and what are the best VPN providers in the UK, read this Gadget Cover guide.
When you’re chilling out at your favourite café, pub or restaurant always be on your guard for table surfing. A popular technique of thieves, the criminal simply puts a newspaper, map or bag down on your table and, while distracting you, steals your personal items from beneath.
12. Always stay aware of your surroundings
As well as table surfing there are a whole variety of other ways thieves can make off with the valuable iPhones of unwary phone users. From moped-riding phone snatchers to pickpockets, thieves will try many different ways to get their hands on the latest must-have iPhone.
Looking at phone theft alone in the year ending March 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics an estimated 325,000 individuals experienced mobile phone thefts in England and Wales.
To stop yourself from becoming a victim of such a crime the Metropolitan Police advise you to always stay aware of your surroundings. They say:
- Look up, and look out. If you really need to use your phone, watch out for anyone on a bike or a moped nearby.
- Don't become distracted by your phone. Use it quickly and put it away.
- Don't text while walking. Not only could you become a target for criminals but you might also have an accident.
- If you must use your phone then stand away from the roadside or close to a building or wall, so no one can sneak up behind you.
- A hands-free kit could be useful so your phone is kept safely in your bag or pocket.
13. Put emergency backup on speed dial
Let’s face it if you’ve got an iPhone 13 in your hand then you won’t just be a target for admiring glances. Thieves will also be figuring out how to get their hands on your top spec device. A useful tip that may save you from disaster someday is to set up an Emergency SOS shortcut on your iPhone.
Go to Settings > Emergency SOS then turn on Call with Side Button. Now, if you ever feel in danger, you simply press the button five times, and it’ll immediately call your emergency contact.
The great thing is that even if you live in a perfectly safe area, having an Emergency SOS could come in handy in lots of situations. For example, you might have a health condition or be of a certain age where emergency help might be needed quickly.
14. Act fast if your iPhone is lost or stolen
That sinking feeling you experience when you realise your iPhone is lost or even stolen can make your mind go blank. You might even forget what it is you should do in such situations. Those ever-helpful people over at Citizens Advice have put together some helpful reminders to get you through it.
Reporting the loss or theft to your network provider as soon as possible is very important. If you don’t and someone else makes unauthorised calls on your iPhone then it could get very expensive, very quickly. If you have iPhone insurance arranged through Gadget Cover then such unauthorised calls and data usage from your device might be covered up to £2,500.
15. Enable Find My
The Find My security feature is a great addition to your iPhone security arsenal. It lets you track your lost or stolen device and even safeguards its precious data. Unless the other person has access to your Apple ID passwords, Activation Lock will prevent anyone from selling or even using your precious device.
You can also get help finding your iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, Mac, AirPods or AirTag — all in the Find My app. And just because a device is offline it doesn’t mean it can’t be found.
Those clever guys at Apple really care about the safety of their gadget users. After all, they want you to stay safe so you can keep them buying and enjoying their brilliant products!
16. Download a personal safety app today
According to government crime figures, every year many thousands of women in the UK are the victims of violent attacks, sexual assaults and robberies. With such horrifying cases often in the news, women (and men) are downloading personal safety apps at ever growing rates.
If you’re thinking a personal safety app might be right for you then we’ve got a great selection of the best personal safety apps worth downloading today. While personal safety apps are not a solution to the problem of violent crime, they do offer some reassurance for users as they go about their daily lives.
There have been many cases where iPhones have saved people from life-threatening situations, but that’s only if they’re working. Having iPhone insurance will protect your phone against breakdown, damages, theft and even loss. There’s no better way to make sure it’s always there in an emergency when you need it most.
17. Keep away from fake apps and dodgy websites
With such a dizzying array or apps and websites out there it’s probably not surprising that there are plenty of dodgy ones. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for the unwary. The security experts at Kaspersky have an excellent guide to spotting and avoiding fake apps. While consumer champion Which? also has plenty of wise advice on spotting fake, fraudulent or scam websites. No matter how web-wise you are, it's always worth reminding yourself of the dangers.
18. Know how to identify your iPhone if it’s lost or stolen
Every phone has a unique identification number which helps police, insurance companies and network operators know if a phone is stolen. To find out your phone’s IMEI number, dial *#06# from your iPhone and keep a written note of it. You can also find it by going to Settings > General > About. Then if the phone is stolen, you can report it to your network provider to stop it from being used.
19. Automatically erase data after 10 failed passcode attempts
While this tip can make people nervous, if you really don’t want your contents to get into the wrong hands then it’s very useful. Go to Settings > Touch/Face ID & Passcode > Turn ON Erase Data. This will tell your device to automatically wipe out all the data it contains after 10 failed passcode attempts. You might not want to do this if you have a child who likes to ‘play’ with your iPhone.
20. Be vigilant to shoulder surfing
Shoulder surfing happens when someone looks over your shoulder while you enter sensitive information into an electronic device, such as your pincode at a cashpoint. It often happens when victims are busy or distracted and can have a big financial impact.
Action Fraud has some top tips to help protect you from identity theft.
21. Protect your iPhone against drops
While iPhones have excellent durability they aren’t immune from damage. Investing in a case and screen protector will protect your beautiful iPhone from a whole host of damage. Even when you’ve got excellent iPhone insurance in place you won’t want to hear your beloved gadget smash on the ground!
Better yet, unlike some insurers, policies arranged through Gadget Cover even cover minor screen cracks.
22. Watch out for water damage
Whether getting caught out in a rain shower or taking a dunking in a toilet bowl, you’ll want your iPhone insurance to cover your gadget if it gets damaged by the wet stuff. Read our recent blog to spot the signs of water damage on your phone.
23. Use Screen Time to keep your iPhone and your child safe
Children adore brand-new gadgets, but while it’s nice to let them have a go on it, you’ll probably want to restrict what they can do. For example, you probably don’t want them to have access to your bank account. Or for them to be able to access everything on the internet.
To do this go to Settings > Screen Time. Here you can set up a passcode and restrict what your child can and can’t do on your iPhone. And if they have an accident while using it then you’ll be pleased you have iPhone insurance arranged through Gadget Cover. If they lose or damage your iPhone then you could still be covered.
24. Get iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover
A sure-fire way to protect yourself against the consequences of a whole host of dangers is to set up an iPhone insurance policy through Gadget Cover. Accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage are all covered. And for an extra premium it can also be protected against loss, too.
Get a quick quote for iPhone insurance today.
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