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Home / Tips and Tricks / All of the new iPhone privacy features in iOS 14

All of the new iPhone privacy features in iOS 14



A woman holds her index finger to her lips and holds an iPhone.
Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock

IPhone is a great investment for anyone concerned about privacy. This is due to its robust permissions system and Apple̵

7;s disdain for App Store rule violations. With some new privacy features and big improvements over existing ones, iOS 14 continues this trend.

See If an app is using your microphone or camera

When an app is using your microphone or camera, you’ll see a small orange or green dot in the status bar at the top. It is displayed just above the cell signal strength indicator.

iOS 14 indicator for using microphones and cameras
Apple

If the app you’re using is listening to or watching you, the dot is green. An orange dot means that a background process is using your microphone or camera. You can swipe down from the top right corner to open the “Control Center” and see which app triggered the notification.

On older devices, swipe up from the bottom with a Home button (iPhone 8 or earlier) to access Control Center. You can use this indicator to find out if an app needs access to your microphone or camera. You can then do a privacy review and revoke any permissions that you are not satisfied with.

CONNECTED: What are the orange and green dots on an iPhone or iPad?

Just share your approximate location

In iOS 14, when you give an app access to location services, you can choose to share your approximate or exact location. The first time an app asks for your location, it displays a map of your current location labeled Precise: On.

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Tap this label to zoom out and give a rough approximation of your current location. This allows you to receive local content without sharing your exact location with the app developer. Note, however, that in some cases this will limit the functionality of an app.

It’s best to leave “Precise: On” for GPS map apps and grocery delivery services. However, social media and other apps that don’t need precise location work just fine with less information.

The Safari location prompt in iOS 14.

Under Settings> Privacy> Location Services you can see whether you have granted an app access to your exact or approximate location. Tap an app, then turn Precise Location on or off.

CONNECTED: How to stop apps from tracking your exact location on iPhone

Limit app access to photos

You can also restrict app access to only certain photos in iOS 14. This prevents an app from freely accessing your entire photo library. You can make this decision when a new app asks permission to access your photos by tapping “Select Photos” in the pop-up.

The photo permission prompt in iOS 14.

You can only access specific photos and not entire albums. You can also add to this selection the next time the app tries to access your photo library.

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For example, we gave Facebook access to a very limited selection of images. After iOS exited the app and tried again, I asked if we wanted to select more photos or if we were happy with the current selection.

This is no different from the “Allow once” option, which you can tap when an app wants to access your location.

Receive a notification when an app is pasted from the clipboard

By default, iOS 14 notifies you every time you access the clipboard. Many apps monitor the clipboard even when it is not required. Apple stopped restricting clipboard access on an app-by-app basis and instead opted to name and shame offenders.

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These apps usually access the clipboard at startup. We found Opera Touch doing this every time the app starts up cold, for seemingly no reason. The privacy concerns of this behavior go far for those who have clipboard syncing enabled via iCloud for their Mac or iPad.

We recommend avoiding apps that do this. You also don’t want to use the clipboard to store sensitive information like passwords or credit card information.

Incorrect password notifications

Your iPhone can now notify you if your passwords have been compromised or are easy to guess using the built-in password storage tool. Go to Settings> Passwords to see a list of your saved passwords. Tap Safety Advisory to view known issues.

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Tap an entry for more information, or tap “Change Password on Website” to change your password in a pop-up window. If you tap an entry, you’ll see why a password is compromised and where else you’ve used it.

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If you change your password using the link provided, your iPhone will offer to replace the saved password with the new one. We recommend that you search your password list and make sure there are no duplicate or redundant entries.

CONNECTED: How to check if your password has been stolen

Safari Privacy Report, App Tracking, Wi-Fi Tracking

Tapping AA in the Safari address bar, then tapping Privacy Report will bring up a list of known trackers for the current website. It also shows a detailed report of the number of times trackers have tried to follow you over the past 30 days.

A privacy report in Safari.

By default, iOS 14 rejects all requests to track you from installed apps. However, this doesn’t guarantee that an app won’t try to track you. Apple won’t introduce this feature until next year.

At this point, all apps will need to request your permission to track you. If they don’t, they’ll break Apple’s rules and suffer the consequences.

If you want apps to request permission to track, enable this option in Settings> Privacy> Track.

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iOS 14 also tries to limit Wi-Fi tracking by assigning a new MAC address to your iPhone every time it connects to a network. A MAC address is the unique identifier for your iPhone and can be used by Internet service providers and marketers to identify and locate you.

If you go to Settings> Wi-Fi and then tap the Information button (i) next to a network, the Private Address option should be enabled by default.

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This feature has been linked to issues with corporate networks using MAC addresses to whitelist devices. If you run into issues, you might want to disable it for each network.

CONNECTED: How to turn off private Wi-Fi MAC addresses on iPhone and iPad

Coming soon: Information on data protection in the App Store

As if all of these weren’t enough, Apple requires all apps in the App Store to self-report their privacy policies in an easy-to-understand format. This information will be shown shortly on the App Store and will also include data collection and tracking guidelines.

As of this writing, it’s not in effect, but Apple said it will appear “in an iOS 14 update later” this year.


Still worried about the security of your iPhone? Follow these basic steps to keep your data safe.

CONNECTED: 10 easy steps to improve iPhone and iPad security




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