How to Manage the Privacy Settings on your iPhone


Privacy is quite the buzz word these days.  We all want it, but do we really know what to do to keep our personal information safe from prying eyes?  It’s our responsibility to manage our own information.  We cannot rely on corporate America to do it for us.  If you’re receiving services that allegedly protect your personal information, you must ask yourself what the tradeoff is.  Nothing is free.  Our information is extremely valuable to companies and aids them in providing additional services that equate to dollars.  If we truly want privacy, how do we achieve that on our iPhones?

In addition to actively controlling the information we share on our electronic devices, it is important to consider the manufacturer directly responsible for designing and maintaining the operating system.  What’s their track record with regard to customer privacy, and how do they manage your information?  Do they keep it completely anonymous, or are they actively and openly farming information indiscriminately?  For their part, Apple has made this process easier for us by adjusting many of the iPhone’s default settings to safer modes out of the box.  With safeguards like this in place we are forced to acknowledge, and give permission to apps the first time they require information from us that is considered private.


Privacy controls start and stop with Location Services.  Apps that use Location Services on your iPhone gather and use your information to project data points based on your location. Luckily, data collected by Apple is completely anonymous and does not uniquely identify you or your location in a way that personally identifies you.  In addition, you will always stay informed of when an app is, or has been using your location because there will be an icon of an arrow to the far right of the App title within Location Services.

The extent to which the app has used your information is further broken down and identified with color and clear outlined arrows.  Solid purple indicates that an app has recently used your location. A dark gray filled arrow icon means that an app has used your location within the last 24 hours, and a purple outlined arrow indicates that a geofence is being used for that app.  A geofence is a perimeter, and it is helpful when you would like to be notified when you arrive and leave specific locations.


While still in the Settings App, you can turn location services on or off under Settings–> Privacy–> Location Services.  Here, all the apps and services that you had previously granted permission to use your location are displayed.  One item to remember-–if you ever choose to turn off location services for a particular app that you had once allowed to use your location, you will once again have to grant this app permission to use your location again.  While this may seem like a pain to have to go through, Apple is still putting your privacy first, and I appreciate that.

Lastly, you can also control when System Services use your location. This happens when services like location-based ads, motion calibration and automatic time zone adjustments are made in the background.  Full the full list of these services and to view the last time they were activated, scroll to the bottom of the list of Location Services Apps in Settings, and then select System Services.


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