Your phone can track your whereabouts. It can provide helpful advice on the best route to take to get to work (without you even asking). And the simple truth is this: if you own a smart phone, you are willing to lose some level of privacy in your life. You may be fine with this compromise because your phone can provide a number of other important and convenient functions. But if it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, your best course of action is to know some tracking settings that can be changed to better protect you. This is the only iPhone tracking setting that privacy experts say you should disable immediately.
Opt out of ad tracking
Advertisers use ad tracking to serve you ads tailored to your marketing profile, but knowing your data is available can be uncomfortable, says Max Shak of nerdigital.com. “Data is collected by both Apple and individual apps,” Shak said. “The information collected by certain applications could then be sold to third parties without your realizing it. It is possible to stop some of this data sharing.
You should disable ad tracking in apps by default, but make sure you haven’t accidentally enabled it, Shak recommends.
Open Settings > Privacy & Security > Tracking and make sure Allow apps to request tracking is turned off.
“In Settings, scroll down > Privacy & Security > Apple Advertising and turn off personalized ads,” Shak said. “By doing this, you will be opted out of Apple’s interest-based advertising.”
Also, Shak says it’s a good idea to head to Settings > Privacy & Security > Analytics & Improvements and turn off Share iPhone Analytics. “You can do this if you don’t want Apple to review crash reports, iCloud issues, or Siri recordings,” Shak said. “The analytics data you collect can cover a lot of information that you don’t want to share, whether anonymously or not.”
While you’re taking steps to make your phone more secure, don’t forget about Significant Locations, a setting that tells your iPhone where you are and what your usual habits are.
“That’s why you get recommendations of businesses or attractions of interest wherever you are,” said Colin Toh, CEO of Headphones. “While this can be very convenient, it also poses the problem risk of privacy breach if someone manages to access your data. They will easily be able to see where you’ve been and what your habits are.
While this may seem like a handy feature, it’s debatable whether or not it’s worth the risk it poses, Too said. “I would suggest it be disabled until you need it,” Too said. “To turn it off, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services, then tap Important Locations. Tap Clear History. Toggle the setting to Off and you can be sure it won’t track you again. If you feel the need to use it again, go back and turn it back on, but remember to follow the steps to turn it off when you’re done.