Your new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus has arrived, or soon will. Getting a new phone is always fun, but it’s also a good time for a fresh start, a more secure start.
Fortunately, with the tools Apple has provided in iOS — along with some awareness on your part — it’s not that hard to bring a reasonable level of security to your device.
Extend your password
For some time now, Apple has enabled users to create passcodes longer than four characters. If you haven’t yet, do so. Create a six-character, seven-character or longer numeric passcode.
Good security includes having access to your data that allows you to respond to data corruption, recover from a smashed phone (something I manage to do myself annually) or deal with a ransomware attack. Be sure to set up iCloud backup as well as two-factor authentication. Should something happen to your device, you can recover. And the stronger password and two-factor authentication together will make it much harder for someone else to access your data.
Set up auto-erase
Now that you have your backup in place, you don’t have to worry as much about lost data. Set the phone to auto-erase after 10 failed passcode entries.
It wasn’t even a blink of an eye after the release of iOS 10 that an update was needed to patch some holes. It should go without saying that as iOS updates come out, you should apply them. The same goes for apps.
Disable unused connections
Whenever you aren’t using WiFi, Bluetooth or AirDrop, disable them. It’s a good idea to avoid these connections at all times in airports or areas where scores of people assemble. If you have to have WiFi on, at least turn off automatic association so your iPhone doesn’t retain the settings of associated networks.
It should go without saying that if you want to keep the phone secure, do not attempt to jailbreak it. Jailbreaking alters iOS and destroys iOS sandboxing features. Sandboxing enforces security between apps, so that if one app is compromised it’s not as easy for attackers to move to other apps. You definitely want this feature.
Get a hand on privacy
Many of us conflate security and privacy. But these are different things. A device can be fully secured and still violate your privacy based on settings. Privacy is more about agreements and polices. However, systems with poor security don’t very well maintain your privacy either.
With every new app installed, check its privacy settings. If you are so inclined, turn off location settings in iOS and don’t allow apps to nag you into turning them on. Keep an eye out for apps that try to access the microphone, photos, contacts. Shut them down if you prefer.
There are some new additions to iOS 10, including Today Widgets and Home screen features. There is a lot of information available from the lock screen with data-rich widgets. Be sure to unlock your phone, swipe right and review the widgets panel and manage what data you want available here. You’ll also want to do the same with notifications.
Enjoy your new iPhone and stay safe out there!