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5 steps to better iPhone security.

Published 2 months ago  | Mark Johnson 

Your phone is completely full of sensitive, personal information which is highly valuable to cyber criminals and corporations who want to profit by selling it. It has never been more important to protect yourself against those who want to take your information free of charge. So how do you do it?

Do Apple users need VPNs? 

Apple are famous for their end-to-end encryption of data shared using iOS. That, however, does not mean that Apple themselves are able to exploit loopholes and share your data with whoever they want, or use it for their own means. 

Apple make clear to those developing apps for their App Store that they require end-to-end encryption, but the latest research suggests that up to 68% of apps listed on the App Store don’t actually have it

The company are also quite willing to share your data with third party developers despite insisting that protecting your privacy and online security is a priority for them. They were busted allowing facial recognition data for the iPhone X to be passed on to third parties in 2019. 

Lastly, Apple are part of PRISM, the global online surveillance program which passes data to the National Security Agency of the USA. This means that they feel comfortable sharing  documents, connection logs, audio files, videos, images, emails, and live chat data with the authorities, despite insisting that their devices are super secure and all of your data is encrypted. 

How can you protect yourself? 

Knowing that Apple are willing to compromise your privacy, security and data by passing it onto the authorities and third party app developers is alarming. Making your phone as secure as it can possibly be is, therefore, extremely important. 

The 5 Steps:

1. Set a custom alphanumeric passcode

Not many iPhone users realise that it is possible to set a more complex for your phone than the standard 4 digit one offered by iPhones during setup. Not only is it possible to choose a six digit code, it is also possible to choose an “alphanumeric” code, meaning one which employs letters, numbers and even symbols. This makes your phone considerably more secure. 

2. Enable 2 factor authentication 

Even a really strong passcode can be hacked by those with the skills and patience to do so. With proper two-factor authentication, if they don’t have access to your other email accounts it becomes very difficult. Make your authentication account one which isn’t directly accessible through your phone - i.e. using a different email client or simply a different address to the one accessible through the mail folder. 

To enable two factor authentication, simply go to settings, then Apple ID and turn it on. 

3. Enable Find My iPhone 

If you physically lose your phone or it gets stolen, having this enabled means you can delete all of the data on the device remotely. 

This effectively “bricks” the iPhone, or turns it into a useless piece of metal and plastic. It protects your sensitive information completely and can be done from any laptop or computer, simply by signing in to Find My iPhone using your Apple ID and selecting “Erase iPhone data” from the “Actions” menu. 

4. Keep your most sensitive data safe 

The photos and videos we store on our phones are probably the most sensitive data on there - thousands of images, and potentially thousands of minutes of personal footage. Many iPhone users choose to store this data, or at least back it up, on the Cloud. 

In the nightmare scenario where a hacker breaks into your iCloud account, they have access to all of this information. As we discovered during the celebrity iCloud hacks of 2014, this can be extremely concerning and damaging. 

There is a very simple way to protect yourself against this kind of hack - turn off iCloud backup for photos. Go to Settings, iCloud and turn off photo sharing. Also disable the backup of photos to the iCloud and, if you feel you need to have your photos backed up, do this manually by connecting your phone to your laptop. 

5. Get a VPN

The easiest way to protect any data you share online using your iPhone is to get an iOS-friendly VPN app. Having a VPN installed and using it when you browse protects you in a number of ways - for example: 

  • Properly encrypting all of the data you share online, making anything intercepted through your use of the internet impossible to see. The encryption used by a VPN will make the data indecipherable and effectively useless to whoever is looking at it. 
  • This makes your data worthless and very hard to sell, removing the annoying targeted marketing you may be used to seeing. For example, if you Google “best laptop” on your iPhone when not using a VPN, guaranteed you’ll be looking at adverts for laptops on every website you browse for the foreseeable future. 
  • Your IP address will also be hidden, making it impossible for whomever is looking at your data to know where you are in the world, which limits the possibility of your experience of the internet being geographically limited, for example if you are in China and want to use WhatsApp, or go on the Facebook app whilst behind a firewall in your college or school. 

Download BlufVPN today to protect your iPhone’s security. Use your iPhone safe in the knowledge that the only eyes on your browser are your own.