Privacy features on iOS 13: Tips to help protect your privacy


Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

Privacy is becoming a big thing for Apple. Having rolled out a number of privacy-focused advertising campaigns recently they’ve now released a bunch of new privacy features for the latest iOS 13. 

We’ll run through all the latest privacy and security features on iOS 13 and offer a few extra tips on making your iPhone even more secure…

Set a passcode

Set a super-strong passcode. This is pretty standard across all devices. Don’t use something like 1,2,3,4 try and mix it up a bit (I know you’re thinking of using your date of birth). Don’t! Try something else. 

If you use Face ID or Touch ID to access your iPhone you still need a passcode, so make sure your passcode is long and difficult for anyone to know. 

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), enter your existing passcode, and then tap on Passcode Options to get a set of options. Choose between Custom Alphanumeric Code (the most secure) or Custom Numeric Code (second-best option), or 4-Digit Numeric Code (I don’t recommend this last option).

Block spam callers

Get rid of those nuisance and spam callers. To enable this feature go to Settings > Phone > and toggle to Silence Unknown Callers.

Stop apps using your Bluetooth

After you install iOS 13 you might find a whole swathe of apps such as Facebook asking you for permission to transmit data over Bluetooth. 

You can either allow or deny access when the prompts are displayed, or you can go to Settings > Privacy > Bluetooth and make the changes there.

Password autofill and password managers

iOS 13 now comes with both a password autofill feature that can use information stored in the iCloud Keychain along with the ability to connect to third-party password apps such as LastPass, Dashlane, and 1Password.

You can find this feature in Settings > Passwords & Accounts > AutoFill Passwords.

Set up automatic updates for iOS

iOS 13 has the ability to keep itself updated automatically, which is a great way to make sure that your iPhone is fully patched.

This should be set up automatically, but you can check it over at Settings > General >Software Update and make sure Automatic Updates is enabled.

Wi-Fi tracking is blocked 

You could track iPhone and iPad users by public Wi-Fi points on iOS 12 by connecting silently. This ability has now been blocked under iOS 13 so you can wander about without the fear of being tracked.

Take control of location sharing

Another thing you might have noticed after installing iOS 13 is that you get notifications informing you that apps are using your location data, and giving you the option of allowing this to continue or blocking it.


Don’t worry, you can change your mind by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, and changing permissions for your apps.

Control what touch id/face id is used to authenticate

Do you want the convenience of Face ID or Touch ID, or do you rather the additional protection that having to enter your passcode offers? iOS 13 allows you to switch Face ID/Touch ID on and off for:

  • iPhone Unlock
  • iTunes and App Store
  • Apple Pay
  • Password AutoFill

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), and enter your existing passcode to take control of this.

Control access to what’s accessible when the iPhone or iPad is locked

You can control how much or little you want to be accessible on a locked device. Options below:

  • Today View
  • Notification Center
  • Control Center
  • Siri
  • Reply with Message
  • Home Control
  • Wallet
  • Return Missed Call
  • USB Accessories

The more you lockdown, the more secure your device and data will be. The USB Accessories feature is especially useful because it will prevent the Lightning port being used to connect to any accessory if your iPhone or iPad has been locked for more than an hour.

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), and enter your existing passcode to take control of this.

Set brute force protection 

iOS has built-in brute-force protection to prevent an unauthorized user from trying to guess your passcodes.

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), enter your existing passcode, and scroll down to Erase Data.

After 10 attempts (toward the end there will be a timed lockout to slow down the entry process), the encryption key will be deleted and your data wiped.

Check for password reuse

If you use the iCloud Keychain to store web passwords, you can now use this to check for password reuse (which is bad, so don’t do it!).

Go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Website & App Passwords and authenticate with either Face ID/Touch ID or your passcode.

You will see a grey triangle with an exclamation mark next to any entry that is reused. To change the password, tap Change Password on Website.

Reduce the lock screen timeout

The shorter you set the lock screen timeout setting (there are options ranging from 30 seconds to never), the faster your iPhone or iPad display will require authentication to access it.

You can change the auto-lock time by going to Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock.

Disable biometrics to force passcode entry

Here’s a simple trick that allows you to disable Face ID or Touch ID and force the passcode.

To do this press the power button five times (ensure you cancel the SOS Emergency calling feature if you have this activated).

Set up two-factor authentication

One of the best ways to protect your data is to set up and use two-factor authentication. This means that, even if an attacker has your iCloud username and password, Apple will send an authentication code of a device you’ve chosen, which should block most attacks.

Go to Settings > and tap your name at the top of the screen, then go to Password & Security, then choose Two-Factor Authentication.

While setting up two-factor authentication you can also set up a Recovery Key.

Once set, without this key, or another device signed in with your Apple ID, you will not be able to reset your password.

Control notification data leakage

Notifications displayed on the lock screen can leak sensitive information.

To stop this go to Settings > Notifications > Show Previews and change the setting to When Unlocked or Never.

More control with safari

Under iOS 13, the Safari browser now has the ability to control access to features such as the camera, the microphone, and current location on a per-site basis.

Go to Settings > Safari and look for the toggles under Settings For Websites.

We hope you found this guide useful. Check out our blog for more guides on protecting your privacy. 


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