We are all vaguely aware that data on where we are, what we search for, what we buy etc is being collected, bought, and sold every minute of the day. In general, this can be a good thing where offerings are automatically tailored to our interests, but it can be a sinister thing in the wrong hands. iPhone, iPad, and Mac users may or may not have noticed that there is an update available called iOS 14. A key focus of all updates these days is security, that can be fixing vulnerabilities in the old software or by introducing improvements. iOS 14 has some very smart improvements which users should use to help keep themselves safe.
Who is watching or listening to you? Microphone and camera access – a lot of apps have access to your microphone and camera even without you knowing. iOS 14 has introduced a little amber dot above the signal strength indicator on the top right corner of the screen to show whenever either are in use.
Who knows your location? – The last Apple update introduced apps having to ask permission to use your location while using it, just once or in the background, (ie all the time). iOS 14 adds a new layer of security where you are given the choice of precise location, (you would want this for apps like Uber or if you were sharing your location with a friend to meet) or approximate location, (which is enough for things like news or weather apps). To make this change go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and toggle Precise Location on or off for each app. Not everybody needs to know exactly where you are!
Who can see your photos? – Apps that want to access your photos on your phone have to ask permission, but some popular apps have in the past been caught downloading more pictures than the ones you permissioned. In iOS 14 you are given the choice to allow access to all photos, your selection of photos or none. So, stopping any skullduggery. Go to Settings > Privacy > Photos and you can change the setting on a per app basis.
It’s good to see Apple working hard to help protect our privacy in a world where our data is being collected, bought and sold everyday and we have had very little control of that process. These new protections are only available when you update your device and as ever, we strongly advise to keep your devices updated and keep safe.