Some of you have been using an iPhone for years, some just have switched to it. In both cases, there are so many little settings that you probably don’t know about, but really should. They might have to do with security or privacy, or just be useful in general. So today we are going to go over thirteen settings in Apple’s operating system for mobiles and explain why you should change them right away. Keep in mind that this article was written for the iOS 11, so if you are reading this guide in future having another operating system, things might be different a little bit.
We will start with some privacy settings as they are the most important ones for every user.
#1: Prevent Apple’s spying attempts
We think it is important to stop Apple from tracking your behavior and analyzing it for advertisement needs. Go to Settings, open the Privacy menu, scroll to the bottom, tap Advertising. Now all you need to do is to enable the option called “Limit Ad Tracking.” You will see ads after that, but they won’t use your personal information to deliver them.
#2: Stop Shared Analytics
Another setting worth disabling is also in the Privacy menu. Open it, then go to Analytics. Look for the “Share iPhone Analytics” and deactivate it because it sends all sorts of data to Apple. This includes your location data and details on how you use your device. Companies like Apple always say that they are doing these things to improve their products, but you should not trust them.
#3: Disable Location-Based Ads
Here is a very important setting you should disable. In the Privacy menu, look for the Location Services submenu, tap it, and scroll to the bottom until you see System Services. Tap it and look for the option called “Location-based Apple Ads” and deactivate it. It should be pretty self-explanatory, but you really don’t want your iPhone using battery life just send you more ads. While in the same menu, scroll down and find the “Product Improvement” section with multiple toggleable settings. We recommend disabling them all to prevent Apple from using your information for anything.
#4: Deactivate In-app Ratings
This next one is really great. Go to Settings, then open iTunes & App Stores. Look for the option called “In-App Ratings & Reviews.” Disable that to stop apps from being able to ask you to review them on the App Store, which can be really obnoxious. Apple recently changed its app store policies, so apps have to honor this setting, and use a new API for requesting reviews. This means that even if the app you are using is not up to date, it still might be able to request reviews. Also, some update apps are also asking for reviews, so hopefully Apple will start cracking down on the apps that don’t honor this option. But it should still help.
#5: No Need for Auto-Play
While you are still in the iTunes & App Stores menu, look for the setting called “Video Autoplay.” It has a few options: On, Off, Wi-Fi Only. We recommend keeping it disabled, so when you are browsing the app store, it does not play video previews automatically. Of course, you can always click them to play them manually, which is the way it should be.
#6: Change Your Passcode Settings
Now let’s talk about security settings. The first tip would be useful for anyone who uses a four-digit numeric passcode. Usually, you should use something stronger than that, but in any case, go to Settings, select Touch ID and Passcode, then click Change Passcode. After you type in your passcode once, you will see an option for “Passcode Options.” Open it to check multiple types of passcodes you can use. We would recommend creating a Custom Numeric Code with at least five or six digits. For the max security, choose the alphanumeric passcode. One obvious benefit of this is that it makes a lot harder for a thief to guess your password. Plus, every extra number makes your passcode 10x stronger, and if you are using Touch-ID, you don’t even need to type it in that often anyway. Also, if you have a longer passcode, it makes it harder for anyone else to spy on you typing in your password and remember it, like if they are looking over your shoulder.
#7: Review Your Allow Access When Locked Settings
You might not realize this, but by default, a lot of your data can be accessed right from the lock screen, without your phone being unlocked. To fix this, go to the Touch ID and Passcode menu, and scroll down to the options under “Allow access when locked.” Look through them and see if you want to disable something. For example, you might not want someone to be able to return a missed call without typing in the password. Or when you have a smart lock for your door, you probably want to disable “Home Control,” so no one can unlock your door from the lock screen.
The really big one here is Siri. Siri can do a lot, and you might not want people being able to access it from the lock screen. Apple has improved it, so you need to type in your passcode to access most sensitive information, like your emails. But for some things, like asking about your most recent call, it will still show anyone that without a passcode. Unless you use Siri a lot from the lock screen, it is best to keep it disabled (just to be safe).
#8: Enable Two-Factor Authentication
This next setting has to do with two-factor authentication. While in the Settings menu, click on your name at the top for Apple ID, iCloud, and iTunes. Then click on “Password & Security” and enable “Two Factor Authentication.” The process will make it so whenever you want to log into your Apple account from a new device, you will need to enter the second code, that is either sent to your phone number or can be shown on one of your trusted iOS devices. This is great for a number of reasons. If someone somehow finds out your password, for example, from another major database leak, you will have another line of defense. Also, someone might even be able to call up the Apple support and convince them they are you and have all your information changed. It has been numerous times, when thieves called the support service and managed to change the password, all account information, and also spent all iTunes funds on some random stuff. Apple can restore things back to normal, of course, but it might take time and also cost you a lot of nerve cells.
So, when you enable two-factor authentication, it makes it incredibly difficult for someone to try and impersonate you. For maximum security, you can enable the recovery key option. You are given one when you sign up for two-factor authentication, but if you choose, you can make it so only your recovery key can be used to reset your password. Not even an Apple support manager could do it. Obviously, if you go for this option, don’t lose the key – make several copies of it, keep it in a safe and secure place. Because when you do it and forget your password, you will lose your Apple account permanently without that recovery key.
#9: Make Sure That You Have Low Auto-Lock Time
There are a few more settings you should change in your iPhone. So, go to Settings>Display and Brightness>Auto-Lock. The lower your Auto-Lock time is, the more secure your phone will be. If you happen to leave your phone without attention, this is how long it will take before your device locks itself. Selecting “Never” is not a great idea because then anyone who walks by can get into your phone. Ideally, you would set this to 30 seconds, but most users set it to one minute because the screen will dim 10 seconds before it locks. In this case, when you have only 30 seconds, reading on your phone becomes troublesome because you don’t touch the screen, and it will dim after 20 seconds, which is super annoying.
#10: Activate Night Shift
The next one is among our favorites for sure. You might already know about this feature – it is called “Night Shift.” Open Settings, go to Display & Brightness, then Night Shift. This feature allows you to change the color of the screen at night, so it’s less harsh on your eyes. Also, the screen will become a bit more orange. The feature reduces the blue light from the screen, which is known to have a negative effect on our sleep. We would recommend maxing this setting out. You won’t probably notice the difference because your eyes will get used to it, but it will help. You can create a schedule for this mode so that the phone will switch to it automatically. Or enable it manually when you need it. If you don’t think it is a useful feature, try keeping it enabled at night for a few hours, and then turn it off for a second. You will be surprised.
#11: Find My iPhone
Want more? Ok, open Settings, tap your Apple ID at the top, then select iCloud, then click “Find my iPhone.” You need to enable the setting called “Send Last Location” in this menu. With it, if your phone’s battery is about to die, it will send our one last signal with its location. So, if you forgot your device somewhere, you will know where to look for it first. If it did not move since the last signal, you should find it there, waiting for you.
#12: Deactivate Wi-Fi Assist For Limited Data Plans
The final setting might be good to change for anyone with a limited data plan. Go to Settings, select Cellular, and near the bottom look for “Wi-Fi Assist.” This allows your phone to fall back onto cellular data if the current Wi-Fi network has a poor signal. This sounds great, but if you have a limited data plan, it could be eating a lot of data. It will actually say there how much data it has used, so if it is not a lot, you can leave it on. And obviously, if you have an unlimited data plan, you can keep it on. But all iPhone owners with a data cap that are using a few hundred megabytes or more should probably turn this setting off.
This concludes our guide on the most important iPhone settings you should change to use your device more efficiently. We do hope this article was useful.