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New iOS 7 users - Protect Your Privacy With These 5 Steps

Woohoo! You've installed the latest and greatest phone software from Apple. Time to pop open the new iTunes radio and start Tweeting about it, right?

Wrong.

If you want to keep the goings-on on your your new iOS 7 phone private, then there are a few features you need to enable. Here are 5 steps to ensure your privacy with iOS 7, courtesy of ZDNet and TechCrunch.

1. Turn Off "Access Lock Screen"

What is it?

There is a loophole in iOS 7 which can seriously compromise your security. With this loophole, users are able to bypass your PIN and access your camera and all of your photos, without your permission.

It involves sliding up the Control Center, tapping on the timer button and holding down the power button until the "cancel" option pops up. If you tap the cancel button then double-tap the home button, you're able to access the Camera option - and all of the pictures you have ever taken. The video on the left shows how its done.

Sure, that sounds like a lot of steps, but it is actually frighteningly easy to do.

Thankfully, its easy to prevent this by using the steps below, until Apple remedies the problem.

How to do it:

  • Touch Settings, then Control Center
  • Switch off "Access Lock Screen"

2. Turn on your Status Bar Icon

Iphone System Services SecurityWhat is it?

This is a setting that can share your location with those who are looking for it, without your knowledge. Turning on this setting will allow you to access and have the ability to control the most important privacy settings on your iPhone or iPad. Take a look at the "purple arrows" explanations above. Commit these explanations to memory, because these will come back into play for our other privacy settings.

How to do it:

  • Touch Settings, Privacy, then "Location Services"
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page (if you have a lot of apps this could take a minute) until you see "System Services"
  • Read about the three different purple arrow icons
  • Turn ON the Status Bar Icon

3. Turn off Diagnostics and Usage, Location-Based iAds, and Frequent Locations

What are they?

Turn off these iPhone features for PrivacyDiagnostics and Usage:
This essentially monitors everything that you do on your device and sends it "anonymously" to apple for them to "improve their iOS system." If this option is left on, you're basically allowing Apple to record everything that you're doing on your device, much like major software companies switching their install screen from "send usage data" to "customer experience feedback." It's not necessary, and your activities will be recorded.

Frequent Locations:
This one can be a little creepy, and caused a big stir during iOS 7 beta 5. Leaving this on essentially tracks where you go, how many times you've been there, and what you do with your phone there. Turn this setting off to disable location tracking without your consent.

Location-Based iAds:
Location-based iAds, an addition to the Apple's privacy policy in 2010, "allows partners and licencees" to "collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device." This has been toned down a little since its release, but not by much. Switch off this service and you will probably be shown "less relevant" ads, but your personal information will not be shared.

How to do it:

  • Touch Settings, Privacy, Location Services, then "System Services"
  • Switch off "Diagnostics & Usage"
  • Switch off "Location-Based iAds"
  • Switch off "Frequent Locations"

4. Turn ON "Limit Ad Tracking" and touch "Reset Advertising Identifier"

What are they?

Turn Off Ad Tracking for iPhone PrivacyLimit Ad Tracking
If you choose to limit ad tracking, advertising networks using an "Advertising Identifier" will no longer be able to gather information about you to provide you with "targeted ads" - ads catered to your activities and preferences.

Reset Advertising Identifier
The Advertising Identifier is something that Apple created to replace the UDID (Universal Device Identifier), which was essentially a 40 character string of letters and numbers that was used to track users. The Advertising Identifier does not contain device info, nor is it permanent. By resetting this feature, as a user, you will appear as a "new user" - no information previously gathered will show up any more. You can think of it as deleting your browser's cookies.

How to do it:

  • Touch Settings, Privacy, Advertising
  • Switch On Limit Ad Tracking
  • Touch the "Reset Advertising Identifier" button

5. Turn ON "Do Not Track"

Turn Off Ad Tracking for iPhone PrivacyWhat is it?

Even though some consider this feature obsolete, go ahead and switch it on anyway. For the few web servers that support this feature, it can save some of your mobile internet activity from being tracked.

How do to it:

  • Touch Settings, Safari
  • Switch ON "Do Not Track"

Questions? Concerns?

Shoot us an email or give us a call, and we'll be happy to chat.

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Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
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