iOS privacy settings: Relaxed level

Learn how to change your privacy settings on iOS. These steps adjust your privacy and security settings to Relaxed level protection.
Kaspersky Lab
10 minutes
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Settings may differ on an iPad

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Apple tablet computers run the iPadOS operating system.

The following instructions are applicable to iOS, which is used on iPhones. The interface of iPadOS differs from iOS. For example, the menu may contain more or fewer menu items, they may be named differently, or they may be missing entirely. You can find the relevant settings on an iPad by using the approximate names in equivalent sections of the menu.

How to hide your data from prying eyes

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Configure unlock settings

What for: So that only you can unlock your phone.

The safest way to lock your iPhone is to use an alphanumeric password or a fingerprint scanner. A four- or six-digit PIN code is easy to crack, and in some cases a Face ID can be spoofed by a photo or 3D mask.

A strong password complies with the following requirements:

  • Is at least 8 characters long;
  • Contains lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters ($, @, etc.);
  • Is not too simple, such as 12345678 or qwerty;
  • Is not the same as for any other account, including your Apple ID password;
  • Is not an actual word or easy-to-guess phrase;
  • Does not consist of information that strangers could easily find out (your name, date of birth, pet's name, and so forth — or those of your friends or relatives).

To set a password:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Go to Touch ID & Passcode, or Face ID & Passcode if your device supports Face ID;
  3. Select Turn Passcode On;
  4. Tap Passcode Options;
  5. From the available options, select Custom Alphanumeric Code;
  6. Create a new password;
  7. Confirm it.

Important. Use a strong password even if you decide to sign in with your Touch ID. This strong combination will remain a backup method for unlocking your phone.

To configure sign-in by fingerprint:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Go to Touch ID & Passcode;
  3. Enter your password;
  4. Tap Add a Fingerprint;
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions;
  6. If you want to use your Touch ID to confirm purchases and sign in to websites, also turn on the following features in this section:
  • iTunes & App Store;
  • Apple Pay;
  • Password AutoFill;

Set the screen lock time

What for: To prevent strangers from accessing the system if you leave your device unattended.

The system can lock your iPhone when you are not using it. This will prevent strangers from accessing your confidential information in your absence.

To select the amount of time to wait before the device is locked:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Go to Display & Brightness;
  3. Tap Auto-Lock and select a length of time that is convenient for you.

Important. Do not select the Never option; otherwise anyone will be able to access your personal information on the smartphone if you ever lose your device.

How to protect your data

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Turn on the Find My iPhone service

What for: To find your iPhone if it is lost or stolen.

The Find My iPhone service will help you find your smartphone in case it is lost. You can use it to determine the location of your device and sound its alarm, and remotely lock it or wipe its memory. This will protect your data from prying eyes even if you are unable to find your iPhone.

The device search feature works even without Internet access and if location services are turned off. In this case, your lost phone sends a special signal over Bluetooth that is received by other nearby Apple devices. After receiving the signal, these devices send their location to Apple and the company forwards this data to your account. Using this feature, you will be able to see the approximate location of your iPhone in the Find My app.

To turn on the search service:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Tap your Apple ID;
  3. Open Find My menu;
  4. Go to Find My iPhone;
  5. Turn on the following features:
  • Find My iPhone;
  • Find My network;
  • Send Last Location.

You can find or lock a lost device by using the Find My app on any Apple device or at

Activation Lock is also enabled when the Find My iPhone service is turned on. This feature prevents someone from signing in to your system with a different Apple ID, turning off the Find My iPhone feature, or wiping the memory without password confirmation. That means if your gadget ends up in someone else's hands, they will not be able to use it or sell it, except maybe for spare parts. They will not be able to disable the capability to search for it or lock it.

Please note: If you wipe the memory of your phone, the Apple ID data is also deleted together with your files. In this case, the location of the iPhone will no longer be visible on the map. Therefore, only use this option in extreme cases.

However, when the lock is enabled, your Apple ID data is saved on Apple servers linked to your device ID. This means that even after wiping all data, you can unlock your phone if you find it and enter the user name and password for your Apple ID.

How to protect your Apple ID and other accounts

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Create a strong password

What for: To prevent your data and devices from being hacked.

An Apple ID account lets you synchronize music, photos, and other data across devices. However, if your account is hacked, criminals will gain access to all this data. In addition, access to your Apple ID will enable someone to remotely lock your device and format its hard drive.

Make sure that your account is protected by a strong password that complies with the following requirements:

  • Is at least 8 characters long;
  • Contains lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters ($, @, etc.);
  • Is not an actual word or easy-to-guess phrase;
  • Is not the same as your passwords for any other accounts;
  • Does not consist of information that strangers could easily find out (your name, date of birth, pet's name, and so forth — or those of your friends or relatives).

To change your Apple ID password on your iPhone:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Tap your Apple ID;
  3. Go to the Password & Security section;
  4. Tap Change password;
  5. Enter your current passcode;
  6. Create a new password and confirm it;
  7. Tap Change.

You can also change or reset the password for your Apple ID on the Apple website.

Use two-factor authentication for your Apple ID

What for: To prevent your account from being hacked.

You should enable two-factor authentication to improve the protection of your Apple ID. When this is enabled, the system will additionally require a one-time code any time you or someone else attempts to sign in to your account from a new device. In addition, it will send notifications to all the gadgets where you have already signed in to your account. If a different person has entered your user name and password, you can block the sign-in.

If you have already signed in to your Apple ID from a device and then signed out, you will not be prompted for a code the next time you sign in. In iOS 13.4 and later versions, two-factor authentication is automatically enabled when an Apple ID is created. Otherwise you can manually enable it as follows:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Tap your Apple ID;
  3. Go to the Password & Security section;
  4. Turn On Two-factor authentication;
  5. Specify the phone number where you want to receive a text message or phone call. This can be your primary number or a backup number. This number is required in case you do not have a trusted device nearby or if it is broken.

There are two ways you can receive a code on a trusted device. View it in a notification (after you tap Allow) or request it:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Tap your Apple ID;
  3. Go to the Password & Security section;
  4. Tap Get verification code.

On a Mac computer:

  1. Open the Apple menu by clicking the Apple emblem in the upper-left corner of the screen;
  2. In the drop-down list, select System Preferences;
  3. Click the Apple ID button in the upper-right corner of the screen;
  4. Go to the Password & Security section;
  5. Click Get a verification code.

If you do not have a trusted device on hand, you can receive the code in a text message or in an incoming call to the phone number you specified:

  1. Click Didn't get a verification code;
  2. Choose to have the code sent to your phone number. You will receive a text message or phone call with the code.

Automatically save data in iCloud

What for: To safeguard your data.

You can configure your iPhone to automatically save important information in iCloud. If you do so and your device is lost or stolen, you can easily restore your passwords, settings, documents, and photos.

To enable iCloud Backup:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Tap your Apple ID;
  3. Select the iCloud section;
  4. Turn on iCloud Backup;
  5. If you want to immediately save data on the server, tap Back Up Now.

Downside: With a free account, you cannot upload more than 5GB of data to iCloud.

Check your passwords in Keychain or delete them

What for: To ensure all your accounts are securely protected.

The built-in iCloud Keychain app lets you store and automatically insert account credentials and payment card details. Because of synchronization, this data is available on Mac, iPhone and iPad.

If you are using identical passwords on different websites, theft or leak of one of them may result in several of your accounts being hacked. You can use the iCloud Keychain service to check whether your passwords match:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Go to the Passwords section;
  3. Enter your passcode or use your Touch ID/Face ID;
  4. Select Security Recommendations;
  5. Make sure that Detect Compromised Passwords is enabled;
  6. You will see a list of resources with duplicate, weak or leaked passwords;
  7. Change the vulnerable passwords:
  8. Tap the website name;
  9. Select Change Password on Website.

Although this service is considered secure, there is always a risk that any electronic data can be leaked. To reduce this risk, you can delete your passwords from your account:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Tap your Apple ID;
  3. Go to the iCloud section;
  4. Tap Keychain;
  5. Turn off iCloud Keychain.

Please note that data deleted from iCloud Keychain may remain in other storage, such as the Safari AutoFill list.

Downside: You will have to manually enter your password on websites and in apps each time. You can eliminate this downside by installing a password manager with a reliable data encryption and security system.

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How to keep your account from getting hacked

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Enable automatic update of iOS

What for: To keep your protection up to date.

Even the most advanced system may contain flaws that enable it to be hacked. iOS developers regularly fix vulnerabilities and add new security functions, so it is important to install the latest patches as soon as possible.

You can configure your system to automatically install updates as they are released:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Go to the General section;
  3. Select Software Update;
  4. Tap Automatic Updates;
  5. Turn on Download iOS Updates and Install iOS Updates.

Please note that the device will be updated only if it is connected to Wi-Fi and its battery has at least a 50% charge (or if it is plugged in to a power source).

How to avoid irritation

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Block unwanted contacts

What for: To avoid communicating with unpleasant people.

You can block any contact: a useful reaction to spam calls or phone fraud, or in case you simply want to restrict calls and messages from a specific person:

  1. Open the Phone app;
  2. Find the relevant number or name on the Recent or Contacts tab;
  3. Tap the icon containing the letter i;
  4. Tap Block this Caller at the bottom of the screen;
  5. In the opened window, tap Block this Caller.

The blocked caller will not receive any notifications about being added to your denylist. You will no longer receive notifications regarding the person's messages, phone calls, or FaceTime.

To unblock a user:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Go to the Phone section;
  3. Select Blocked Contacts;
  4. Swipe left the name of the caller that you want to remove from the denylist.

How to protect yourself from snooping

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Stop apps from tracking your activity

What for: To prevent developers from collecting or sharing your data.

Apps and services on Apple devices can track your activity on websites and in other developers' apps. For instance, Facebook can find out your Google search queries and then use that information for displaying targeted ads.

To provide users with greater control over their data, Apple has introduced the App Tracking Transparency policy. It enables you to stop developers from collecting information about your activities in other apps.

If your device is running iOS, iPadOS or tvOS 14.5 or above, each application, when launched for the first time, should request permission for collecting this data. You can decline by tapping Ask App Not to Track. You can also block tracking in the system settings:

  1. Open Settings;
  2. Go to the Privacy section;
  3. Select Tracking;
  4. Turn off Allow Apps to Request to Track;
  5. You can turn off permissions for individual apps here, too.

The restriction will not affect the performance of the application. You will keep seeing adds in the app, but they will not be based on your interests any longer.

If you have not been receiving any requests of this kind, you must have turned off the Personalized Ads feature, that controls activity tracking.

What would have happened if you had chosen another privacy level?

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What are we setting up here?