Apple’s iOS 14 operating system update has just been released, with a bunch of game-changing new features to boost your security and privacy. Apple first confirmed many of these new iPhone features back in June at its WWDC conference, and I’ve now been using the finished version of iOS 14 for a few days.
My first impressions are, it’s a welcome upgrade to the brilliant security and privacy features already available since iOS 13—which give you far more control over who can track you on your iPhone. But iOS 14 takes that one step further with the much more granular controls that we need in our everyday lives as privacy on the iPhone becomes even more important.
Here are a few tips based on the features I’ve enabled since upgrading to iOS 14.
I’ll start with the best. Apple’s iOS 13 started the location privacy onslaught, with options for location tracking just when using an app. Now in iOS 14, a new feature allows you to give you approximate location to apps that need to know where you are in order to function properly—without giving away exactly where you are.
This was the first privacy feature I used in iOS 14, as I was pretty excited about it. You can find it by going into your Settings > Privacy > Location Privacy.
In iOS 14, apps that have asked for access to your location will appear here. A handy little arrow system shows you three different scenarios. A hollow arrow means the item may receive your location under certain conditions, a purple one means it has recently used your location, and a grey arrow means it has done so in the last 24 hours.
Then you can control each app you are using in iOS 14. When you open it, you will see the option to allow location access, and an explanation of how the app uses your data if allowed. Excitingly, you will also see the toggle for “Precise Location.”
The explanation explains that this allows apps to use your specific location. “With this setting off, apps can only determine your approximate location.”
The benefits are of course huge. Although some apps ask for your location and don’t need it, ever, some such as weather apps will be fine with an approximate idea of where you are, without compromising your privacy.
Other ways to maximise iPhone privacy
There are other ways to maximise your privacy on your iPhone. In your privacy settings you can go to Analytics and Improvements and toggle off data sharing here. Another important privacy feature comes under Privacy > Tracking: You can turn off the ability to allow apps to request to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies. This privacy change is coming as an opt in only pop up in an update of iOS 14 in 2021, but was delayed after complaints from Facebook and others.
Meanwhile, if you go to Apple Advertising you can turn off personalized ads too.
Lastly, while you are looking at your iPhone privacy settings, why not go through and check the permissions you have granted each app, and adjust them if they don’t suit your purposes.
Other iOS 14 security and privacy features
As of iOS 14, Apple has also improved privacy on its App Store by asking developers to be transparent about the data they collect. You can check this out before you even download an app on your iPhone.
Meanwhile, a new recording indicator light—an orange dot on your iPhone—in iOS 14 lets you know when an app is using you camera or microphone. In Control Center, you can see if any apps have used them recently.
Apple has already given people much more control over their privacy, but iOS 14 ramps this up to the max. Once you’ve installed iOS 14, going through your apps and ensuring your iPhone is as locked down as possible is pretty satisfying, and it doesn’t take long to do.