iOS 16 added several key security and privacy features for compatible iPhone models. Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
With iOS 16, you can protect private photos and notes on your iPhone with Face ID biometric security.
The security check summarizes all people, apps and devices that have access to data on your iPhone.
Lockdown mode can also protect journalists and activists from spyware attacks.
Apple’s iOS operating system for iPhone has long focused on security and privacy. However, with occasional reports of iPhone theft and iCloud account takeovers, it’s important to know how to protect your digital life in as many ways as possible.
iOS 16 introduced a number of important new features and capabilities in this area, and subsequent software versions offer further improvements. To ensure the security and privacy of your iPhone, you should always install the latest version whenever an iOS software update is available.
Here are some security and privacy features available in iOS 16 and later, plus additional privacy tips beyond the capabilities of your device.
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Protects private photos with Face ID
Your iPhone has long had the ability to hide private photos in a “hidden” folder. These images will not appear in your photo list. You need to specifically navigate to the “Hidden” folder on the Photos app Albums page to view them. But starting with iOS 16, your iPhone protects those photos (and everything in the Recently Deleted folder) with Face ID by default. That way, someone with physical access to your phone can’t see your private photos.
To use this feature, launch the Photos app and tap Albums. Scroll down and tap Hidden or Recently Deleted. You must use Face ID (or Touch ID) to view the contents of these folders. If you don’t currently have this turned on, launch the Settings app and tap Photos. Turn on Use Face ID (or Use Touch ID) by swiping right on the button.
Enable Face ID in settings to prevent unauthorized access to your hidden photo album. Dave Johnson/Business Insider
Protects private notes with Face ID
You may know that it used to be possible to lock notes that you wanted to keep private. However, you had to use a passcode to access it. Starting with iOS 16, you can now use Face ID or Touch ID, which is much more convenient. To lock a note, launch the Notes app and tap and hold the note you want to lock. Then choose Lock Note from the pop-up menu.
The first time you locked a note after upgrading to iOS 16, your iPhone should automatically give you the option to turn on Face ID for your locked notes. If it doesn’t, or you skipped this step, you can enable protection now. Launch the Settings app and tap Notes. Then tap “Password” on your Notes page. Select the Notes account you want – either iCloud or Notes stored locally on your phone – then enable “Use Face ID” by swiping right on the button.
Use the security check to see who has access to your data
Over time, you may have given various friends and family members access to data on your iPhone. For example, you could permanently share your location or photo folder in the Photos app. And until iOS 16, there wasn’t a central place to check who had access to which aspects of your phone. With the new Security Check feature, you can quickly perform a privacy check and see exactly who can see what.
To do your own verification, launch the Settings app and tap Privacy & Security. Then tap Security Check. Next, select “Manage Sharing and Access”. You’ll likely need to unlock the feature with Face ID, then tap Next. Then, in the assistant, see which people, apps, and other devices have access to your data. You can revoke access individually or tap Skip on each page to view the data without changing permissions.
Each page of the security check shows which people, apps, and devices currently have access to your iPhone. Dave Johnson/Business Insider
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Revokes anyone access to your phone’s data
The iPhone Safety Check Dashboard also has an emergency reset button. This feature instantly revokes access to your iPhone’s data for everyone, apps and data that previously had permission. You can use this feature if you suspect your personal safety is being compromised by a stalker or domestic abuser, or if you think your phone has been hacked.
Launch the Settings app and tap Privacy & Security to reset settings in an emergency. Then go to “Security Check”, tap “Emergency Reset” ??? (I don’t have an iPhone and can’t quickly figure out what the button for the German language setting is called) and follow the instructions to reset the settings.
Allow applications to copy from the clipboard
Whenever an application tries to copy data from the clipboard, you will receive a notification. Dave Johnson/Business Insider
Since some iPhone apps get information from the clipboard without permission, iOS 16 increases clipboard security. You must now first grant permission when an app tries to copy its content. Every time an app tries to read the contents of the clipboard – which contains everything you recently copied there – a pop-up appears. You will be prompted to give the app permission to read the clipboard. If you deny permission, the application will not be able to read the clipboard. You cannot grant permanent permission to the app; You will be asked for permission every time the app tries to read the clipboard.
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Install security updates automatically
Security updates are often essential, so time is sometimes of the essence. In the past, security updates were typically bundled into large updates that took time to download and install. Starting with iOS 16, Apple can now send out small security patches that don’t have to wait for larger, more extensive and time-consuming updates. These are installed automatically and ensure more security on your mobile phone.
To ensure this feature is on by default, first open the Settings app and tap General. Then tap Software Updates, then Automatic Updates and make sure Security Responses??? and System Files” are activated by swiping right on the button.
Protects your phone from hackers or government interference
Most users will find little reason to use lockdown mode. But journalists, political activists, and even some government officials might be grateful for this new iOS 16 feature that offers protection against spyware and government-sponsored hackers.
It’s kind of a nuclear option as it disables many common iPhone features. It’s designed to ward off spyware attacks by disabling some website features in Safari, blocking email attachments, preventing most Face Time calls, locking shared photo albums, and more. However, if you need to take immediate action to protect yourself, you can enable lockdown mode by opening the Settings app and selecting Privacy & Security. Tap Lockdown Mode, then tap Turn Lockdown Mode On (is that what it’s called in German?).
You can enable lockdown mode to set up a highly secure firewall on your device. Dave Johnson/Business Insider
Bonus tips to keep your iPhone safe
Keep in mind that many of the features above only protect you from hackers, malicious software or digital threats. You cannot prevent someone from stealing your password and physically accessing your device.
Still, there are some steps you can take to prevent this (and limit the damage if it does happen).
Don’t let other people see your passcode
If you still lock your iPhone with a passcode or PIN, it can be very helpful to keep this information private. Once someone has access to your Apple account, they can change your password, sign you out of all devices, and turn off Find My iPhone.
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If you’re in a public place like a bar, restaurant, or party, make sure no one sees you enter your passcode. Otherwise, you should switch to Face ID or Touch ID to protect your device.
Adds a second password for important apps
If you use the same device for email, banking, finance, and other essential services, make note of important apps and add a second layer of security to them.
For most apps you can add a restrictions password (???). You can also change your settings so that services like Apple Pay, the App Store, and iTunes require you to enter a fingerprint instead of a password for all purchases.
INSERT INFO BOX:
You should never use the same password twice. Follow our guide to creating a strong password if you think it’s time for a new one.
Removes unused or important cards from Apple Pay
If someone gains access to your Apple Pay account, they can turn your financial life upside down. Because of this, you should remove any bank cards that you don’t use regularly from Apple Pay.
This article was translated from English by Stefanie Michellek. You can find the original here.