So you just got a new iPhone and you’re ready to start using it for just about everything? Before you do, take a few minutes to lockdown iOS 12 with this simple checklist.
If you leave your iPhone open to privacy or security threats, it can become infected with Malware, causing the need for iPhone repair. It is easier to tick off the items on this list now than to have to deal with the ramifications of a broken phone in the future.
Create a strong passcode
Even if you use Face ID or Touch ID, you’ll still need a passcode, and the longer the passcode – the better. Just make sure it is one you can remember.
To set a secure passcode, go to Settings, then Touch ID & Passcode and enter your existing passcode. Tap Passcode Options, and choose between 4-Digit Numeric code (the least secure), Custom Numeric Code (more secure) or Custom Alphanumeric Code (the most secure).
2. Use a Password Manager
iOS 12 comes equipped with the ability to connect to third-party password manager apps like Dashlane, LastPass and 1Password. It also uses the iCloud Keychain to autofill passwords. To secure your phone with encrypted passwords, go to Settings, then Passwords & Accounts, then finally, tap AutoFill Passwords.
3. Set up your iPhone to Automatically Update
iOS gives users the ability to automatically install operating system updates, which will ensure that your iPhone is always up to date. This will protect you from holes and vulnerabilities that will be exposed to using outdated software.
To turn this setting on, go to Settings, then General, then Software Update. Tap Automatic Updates and turn them on.
4. Choose if You Would Like to Use Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode.
While Face ID and Touch ID are convenient, your passcode is more secure. You can turn Face ID and Touch ID off or on to unlock your iPhone, use the password autofill feature, use Apple Pay, and use the iTunes and App Store.
To choose, head to Settings, then Touch ID & Passcode and plug in your passcode.
5. Grant Less Access to Features from Your Locked Device
If you are looking to ramp up security, you can choose what you would like to be accessible from a locked device.
The more features that you lockdown, the more secure your data will be. You can choose to lock down the Notification Center, Siri, Today View, Reply With Message, Control Center, Wallet, USB Accessories, Home Control and/or Return Missed Call.
If anything, be sure you lock down the USB Accessories function – it will stop the Lighting port being used to connect to any accessory if your iOS has been locked for more than an hour.
To lockdown features accessible from the home screen, go to Settings, then Touch ID & Passcode, and plug in your existing passcode.
6. Booby Trap Your iPhone
iOS has a feature that will wipe the data from your phone after 10 unsuccessful password attempts to stop a snoop or hacker from trying to guess your password. To turn this on, go to Settings, then Touch ID & Passcode, plug in your passcode, and tap Erase Data.
7. Don’t Use the Same Password Twice
If you are using the iCloud KeyChain to store your account passwords, you can use the tool to see if you are using the same password multiple times, which is insecure.
To check on your passwords, go to Settings, then Passwords & Accounts, the Website & App Passwords and plug in your passcode.
Next, to any password that is reused, you will see a grey triangle with an exclamation mark. If you see one that has been reused, change it by tapping on Change Password on Website.
8. Adjust Lock Screen Timeout
You might want to make your lock screen timeout shorter because your iPhone will require your correct passcode once the screen is locked. If you have it in an insecure setting, like “never,” no authentication is required.
If you have a short lock screen timeout, if you forget your iPhone somewhere or put it down in front of an untrustworthy party, they’ll only have 30 seconds to get into your phone without your passcode.
You can adjust this by heading to Settings, then Display & Brightness, then AutoLock.
9. Set up 2fa
If you’d like to protect your data, you should set up and use 2fa (two-factor authentication). Even if a cybercriminal has your credentials, Apple will send a code to a device you’ve chosen, which will thwart most attacks.
Head to Settings, tap on your name and go to Password & Security. Select Two-Factor Authentication.
You can also set up a Recovery Key. If you set this up, you won’t be able to reset your password with it or another device signed in with your Apple ID.
Go to Two-Factor Authentication and tap Recovery Key.
10. Control Data Leakage
Even when your iPhone is locked, widgets will leak data. You can prevent Today View from being accessed when your device is locked, as described before, or you can edit your widgets.
Swipe right on the Home screen to get to the Today View panel, then tap Edit. Now it’s possible to remove any panel you don’t need.
By following this short checklist you can significantly improve the security of your iPhone and protect your privacy. Some people are more concerned about privacy and security more than others. You will need to find the right balance of convenience and security.
If a security setting is too inconvenient, you may bypass it all together rather than adjusting it to a slightly less secure setting that is more convenient to use.
Once you have found the right “mix,” you will be ready to enjoy your iPhone and all of its capabilities.