iOS 15: 5 Features to Keep Your iPhone Safe

October 7, 2021 - 7 minutes read

Over the past couple of weeks, iPhone users from all over the world have been updating their phones to iOS 15 to experience the new features of Apple’s latest operating system. And from our perspective as a California-based iPhone app development company with a presence in San Francisco, New York City, and London, we see this update having a major influence on our clients and their userbase.

From a new notification display to more natural Facetime calls, iOS 15 is chock-full of improvements geared toward a seamless user experience. However, Apple wasn’t solely focused on aesthetics with the new iOS 15 update. In the first six months of 2021, over 18 billion records have been exposed due to data breaches, and this number is only expected to rise. In other words, there is an increasing demand for enhanced cybersecurity. 

With that in mind, the folks over at Apple emphasized their interest in promoting a greater sense of online privacy through a number of new security features, making iOS 15 the much-needed advancement in smartphone security that we’ve been waiting for. 

Record App Activity 

As we’re sure we’re all well aware, Apple has been placing a heavy focus on privacy and security in recent advertising, and the iOS 15 update is no exception to this theme. In fact, Apple has added a new feature in iOS 15 called Record App Activity, that allows you to record apps that are tracking data on your iPhone. 

More specifically, Record App Activity informs iPhone and iPad users about which apps can acquire stored data as well as access device functions like the camera and microphone. Likewise, Record App Activity has the ability to record the domains and websites where these apps are sending your private data.  

Sound like a feature you could use? To enable it, simply go to Settings > Privacy and then scroll down until you see Record App Activity.

Built-In Two-Factor Authentication

Let’s face it, having to use a third-party app for two-factor authentication isn’t ideal, as these apps can often have access to more data than we’d like to allow. Fortunately, Apple has gone ahead and built their own authenticator feature into the iOS 15 update. 

With that being said, we strongly recommend using this 2FA feature from Apple as it provides an additional layer of security to greatly reduce the possibility of attackers gaining access to your private information.

Setup is easy – all you need to do is go to Settings > Passwords, tap on a password and then find the option called Set Up Verification Codes to establish a two-factor authentication for that password. 

Hide Your IP Address

Did you know that IP addresses can be used to determine your location? And, while IP addresses don’t explicitly reveal your identity, websites and trackers can use these addresses to follow and build a profile of your online activity – pretty scary, right? 

Apple thought so too, so in iOS 15 they integrated an improved tracking prevention feature that keeps your real IP address safe from websites and trackers, ultimately ensuring a stronger sense of online privacy.

If you want to keep your IP address out of the hands of online trackers (we can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t), then go ahead and tap on Settings > Safari and set Hide IP Address to From Trackers.

No More Email Trackers

Speaking of IP addresses, did you know that many email senders use tracking pixels to obtain your IP address and monitor your email actions? In fact, tracking pixels are a tool that many advertisers use to watch the way you interact with the emails they send. Once you click on it, tracking pixels report back to the sender with various private details including the time you opened the email, your IP address and your current location.

Apple saw tracking emails as a threat to online privacy, so in iOS 15 they included the Mail Privacy Protection feature to essentially render tracking pixels useless and protect your real IP address. 

To further protect your online privacy, enable this feature by tapping on Settings > Mail, and then navigate to Privacy Protection and tap to enable Protect Mail Activity.

More Secure Web Browsing 

As we discussed previously, it’s incredibly easy for companies and individuals to track us online, which is a direct threat to our online privacy. And, while there are a number of tools out there to help regain our privacy, such as VPNs, these devices are often costly and may not be entirely trustworthy. 

Fortunately for users who have an iCloud+ subscription, Apple has released a new feature called iCloud Private Relay that acts much like a VPN in the sense that it both hides your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic by sending it through a series of servers.

After you subscribe to iCloud+, enable this feature by going to Settings, tap your name and then navigate to iCloud to enable Private Relay.

Dogtown Media is a mobile media development company headquartered in Venice Beach, California with a presence in San Francisco, New York City, and London. Since 2011, our team of hardened techies has launched over 200 apps, and counting. 

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