Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by Rashid Hassan
Welcome to our complete guide to iPhone security, where you’ll find essential tips for protecting sensitive data on your phone from the prying eyes of snoopers and hackers
Although Apple’s iOS system is quite secure, there can always be glitches. Therefore, a series of measures can be carried out in order to have your iPhone even more protected.
Keep in mind that a lot of information is stored on your phone that you don’t want someone else (especially a hacker) to find out: website logins, email addresses, passwords, text messages, even photos. and videos.
Keep iOS up to date
Make sure you’re always running the latest iteration of iOS, including any minor updates.
Hackers occasionally find flaws in Apple’s coding that they can exploit, potentially giving them access to your personal data. iOS updates are Apple’s way of combating bugs by patching holes and implementing stability improvements.
For example, on January 22, 2019, Apple released a security update that addressed vulnerabilities that could lead to hacks on iPhones and iPads.
To update to the latest version of iOS, open the ‘Settings’ app and tap on ‘General > Software Update’. You’ll be sure you’re already running the latest version, or you’ll be prompted to download and install something newer.
Activate the ‘Find my iPhone’ tool
Another step you can take in the war against hackers attacking your iPhone is to turn on Find My iPhone.
If you lose your device, you can sign in to Find My iPhone from another iOS device (or via the web on a Mac or PC) and remotely wipe your personal data from the lost phone. This means that even if the hacker manages to access your lost or stolen device, they won’t find anything.
To activate this feature, open ‘Settings’ and tap on your name/image at the top of the screen. Now tap on iCloud, scroll down and tap on ‘Find My iPhone’. Make sure the Find My iPhone toggle is green; if it’s blank, tap to turn it on.
To remotely wipe an iPhone with this feature enabled, sign in to the Find My iPhone app (or the iCloud website), select your iPhone, tap Erase iPhone, and confirm. The next time you have an Internet connection (if you don’t already have one) it will be automatically deleted.
Create a longer password
You may have heard of a hacking tool called GrayKey that can crack iPhone and iPad passwords. It is understood that the tool is currently being used by law enforcement agencies, and that it can crack a four-digit passcode in a couple of hours. A six-digit code can be cracked in a few days.
The device, which connects to an iOS device, disables the usual delays and lockouts (one minute after six wrong guesses, five minutes after seven, etc.) that would normally prevent someone from stepping over a passcode.
While you probably have no reason not to want your phone hacked by the police or government agencies, the real concern here is that if it’s possible for the GrayKey device to hack your phone in this way, it’s highly likely that similar devices and hackers are available. for criminals.
So until Apple fixes the vulnerability that GrayKey is exploiting to run its password hacker, what can you do to protect your phone?
Choose a long access code: one that is longer than six digits. An eight-digit pin could take a few months to hack, and a ten-digit pin could take a decade to figure out.
Use a passphrase that contains words, instead of numbers. But use random words that wouldn’t normally appear together.
Whereas passwords only use numbers 0-9, a passphrase includes numbers, letters, symbols, and case sensitivity, which should make it very difficult to access your iPhone, although it may take a little longer to unlock. when you want to use it.
How to set up a new passcode for iOS
- Open ‘Settings’
- Tap on ‘Touch ID & Password’ (or ‘Face ID & Password’ if you have an iPhone X series).
- Enter your access code.
- Click on ‘Change password’.
- Enter your access code.
- Click on ‘Passcode Options’.
- From the options, choose ‘Custom Numeric Code’ or ‘Custom Alphanumeric Code’.
- Enter your new code and verify it.
If you use Touch ID or Face ID to unlock your phone, you usually won’t need to use your passkey to unlock it, but there are exceptions: the passkey will be needed when you haven’t used your phone for more than six days, for example, or when restarting the device.
Automatic deletion of iPhone content
Our next tip might sound a little bewildering, but it’s a great option if you’re worried about people trying to guess your passcode. The idea is that after 10 wrong guesses, the iPhone will automatically wipe all content and thus render the smartphone useless to the hacker.
It’s a bit worrisome, as we’ve known people to accidentally turn on the feature and wipe all their personal information. These are usually the same people who tend not to back up regularly… so if you enable the option, we advise you to also turn on iCloud automatic backup so that if your data is deleted (due to an accident or someone that tries to hack you), you have everything saved in the cloud.
To enable the nuclear option, simply go to ‘Settings > Touch ID & Passcode’ (or ‘Face ID & Passcode’), enter your passcode, scroll to the bottom of the page and activate the ‘Clear data’ option.
Avoid opening unknown links
This point is quite logical: if you receive an unknown link via text, email, or randomly on the web, don’t click on it. This could pose a potential threat to your device and while it may not be able to hack your iPhone directly, some impersonate popular email clients like Gmail to access your email account.
The pages usually look pretty close to the real thing, so this type of scam is quite common and it always pays to keep your wits about you.
The general rule of thumb is that if you don’t trust the look of the email/message, don’t bother opening it. The same goes for email attachments, though there aren’t many cases (if any) where hackers have been able to access an iPhone via this method, and this is more of a general tip.
Revoke app permissions
The next step in the war against hackers is to revoke access to applications. When you use iOS apps, you’ll often be asked to allow the app to access things like your camera, microphone, contacts, etc. to use the app to the fullest.
Although allowing access means that you can use all of the app’s features, the app may also be able to access your private information.
However, if you think you have installed an app that is not very reliable on your iPhone, you can either remove it or go to Settings > Privacy, select the permission you want to revoke and disable the app; unfortunately this has to be done per permissions, as there is no way to turn permissions off in one go.
Apple’s personal assistant, Siri, is a great feature of iOS and provides users with a way to use their smartphone hands-free.
However, as useful as Siri is for users, it can also provide personal data to hackers. Siri often asks for some sort of verification before allowing access to contacts, photos, and other sensitive information, but there have been multiple occasions where people have come up with workarounds that bypass the iPhone passcode altogether and provide quick access. easy to device.
To disable access to Siri on the lock screen, simply go to ‘Settings > Touch ID & Passcode’ (or ‘Face ID & Passcode’) and turn off the “allow access when phone is locked” option.
Disable auto fill
The same can be said for Apple’s autofill feature in Safari. Apple’s Keychain stores website logins, allowing users to save information after successfully logging into your account.
This is a very useful feature as it means we don’t have to remember login information for the myriad of websites we visit, and the same goes for credit/debit card information. You just have to press a button and Apple will fill in all the information on your card, apart from the security code.
However, if a hacker does gain access to your iPhone, it gives them access to all of your online logins. To disable the keychain and autofill, simply go to ‘Settings > Safari > Autofill’ and disable each option.