Apple’s latest software update includes many new security features. Let’s talk about what settings should be changed now.
As with any software update, you should install iOS 15 ASAP | Photo: APPLE
iOS 15 from Apple has recently become available for download. The latest version of this mobile operating system and its iPad equivalent, iOS 15.5, are flooding devices around the world. Apple released new software after the announcement of the iPhone 13 at its annual event.
Even before iOS 15 saw the light of day, many experts called it " controversial ". Apple’s child safety tools were supposed to be added in this update, but their implementation has been put on hold indefinitely following public backlash against the constant surveillance of their children. For the second year in a row, the release of the next version of iOS is missing a key new feature.
The introduction of app activity tracking components in iOS 14, which prevents advertisers from following you, has been delayed until May 2021. They were added to iOS 14.5 even after Facebook and other advertising firms complained about their negative effects. Thus, no complaints prevented Apple from making changes and adding the necessary elements.
In addition to the child safety tools already mentioned, a lot of new features should be available in iOS 15 to improve user privacy and security. As with any software update, you should install iOS 15 as soon as possible. The update includes much more than just a set of new features. Developers immediately fix old and new security vulnerabilities: for example, the iOS 14.8 update, released in the last hours just before Apple’s annual event and the presentation of the new iPhone, proves how important it is to install new software.
While Apple has already made iOS 15 available for download, it will take some time for it to roll out worldwide, which means that certain users will need more time to download the new software. After downloading it, you should immediately change the settings, which will be discussed below.
Blocking trackers in emails
In iOS 14, Apple added special features to prevent apps from tracking user activity. This time around, the company’s target is hidden trackers hidden in incoming emails. They are most often a few pixels added to the text, header, or footer of emails to convey information about you to the sender.
Apple’s new feature called " Mail Privacy Protection " prevents email senders – most often advertising companies and online retailers – from seeing your IP address when you open their emails. Instead, iOS 15 will redirect you through multiple proxy servers and randomly assign you a different IP address. The option is not enabled by default – to activate it, you need to go to the settings, open the " Mail " section and then go to the " Privacy Protection " subsection. Here you should enable this option if you want to protect yourself from intrusive tracking.
Application activity and permissions
Apple has added the ability to view the App Activity Report (" App Privacy Report ") in the " Privacy " section of the smartphone’s settings. You can activate the " Record App Activity " option, after which the device will start collecting data. The Application Activity Report will give you a quick idea of what permissions a program has received recently, as well as the domains it has connected to.
In addition, you will be able to understand how many times the application has accessed your photos, camera, microphone and contacts in the last week (if you have given it permission to do so). The option will also give you the option to check if the app really needs to use your microphone in order to work properly. If a program doesn’t use the permissions you’ve provided, then it might be worth restricting its access to certain components and devices.
In September 2017, Apple introduced Intelligent Tracking Prevention in the Safari browser in iOS 11 called " Intelligent Tracking Prevention ", or " ITP ". ITP allowed Safari to block online tracking, which is widely used on the Internet. Thus, the system used Apple’s machine learning to automatically understand which domains were tracking your activity, and then deleted the insecure data stored on the smartphone.
ITP technology has advanced a lot over the past four years, and with iOS 15, Apple is giving users the option to hide their IP address from trackers. This means that websites can no longer turn it into an identifier to recognize you later every time you open their pages. To hide your IP address, open your smartphone settings, go to the " Safari " section and then find the " Hide IP Address " subsection. Here you will be able to activate the corresponding function – the " Trackers and Websites " option.
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from hackers is to enable two-factor authentication for all of your online accounts. Most commonly, two-factor authentication requires you to enter a code generated by an app or sent via SMS along with a password to gain access to your account.
Codes received via SMS are not as secure as those generated by the app. With iOS 15 , Apple is introducing its own authenticator, which means users no longer need to use an app from other companies. Thus, you can, if you want, not even leave the ecosystem. Sending codes for authentication must be activated in the system settings – just go to the " Passwords " section. The received codes will be automatically inserted into the line when you log into your account using the Safari browser.
Browser protection with "Private Relay"
Apple is merging some of its advanced privacy options already available with an iCloud+ subscription. In addition to increasing the size of online storage, four security features will also be added, which will be available to those who are willing to pay for it. They are available with the latest update the company has released to iCloud + subscribers.
The first is the " Private Relay " feature, which is actually very similar to a VPN. When activated, the smartphone routes your web traffic through multiple servers and keeps the user’s location private. Web traffic will be sent in two directions: this is done so that no one, including Apple itself, can find out what pages you are viewing on the Internet. All user activity on the network will be encrypted by servers owned by Apple, and then any information that can identify you will be removed from the received data. In addition, Apple says it is working with "trusted partners" who can assign you a verified temporary IP address.
To turn on Private Relay if you subscribe to iCloud+, go to settings, tap your name at the top of the screen, and then open the iCloud section. There you will see the parameter of the same name, which should be activated. Although the option has similar functionality to a VPN, it is only available for use in Safari and not across the entire device.
iCloud + also became available: the " Hide My Email " function, setting the email domain settings, the " HomeKit Secure Video " option. The first option allows you to generate random email addresses for sites that you want to register on, but are not ready to share your personal data with. The second option allows you to personalize your iCloud email address with a domain name setting. The "HomeKit Secure Video" option was designed to store encrypted videos in iCloud. It is worth noting that this feature has already been available before.
Basic privacy settings
Since you’re already thinking about new privacy settings for your iPhone, it’s worth remembering the existing security options in iOS. It is possible that you share personal data with a large number of applications and companies. There are some quick steps you can take to improve your device privacy.
Open the settings and go to the " Privacy " section. The first thing to do is to check if you have location-related settings (” Location Services ") enabled. To maintain your privacy, you can disable your location tracking entirely. However, this solution is not the most practical. There are many reasons why you would want to share your location with apps: for example, the Maps app will use it to build directions, and your camera will use it to geotag where photos were taken. You can customize access to your location on a per-app basis– among the available options there are "Always", "Never", "Ask when starting the application" or "Only while using the application".
In the Privacy section, go to the Tracking subsection. Here you can see which apps are tracking your activity in other apps. You can also disable such tracking. Use the switch next to a specific program to prevent it from tracking your activities.
In addition to everything mentioned above, in the "Privacy" section, you can view information about which applications have permission to access your contacts, photos, calendar, Bluetooth, files, camera, microphone and other devices. For each program, you can choose the appropriate permissions, as well as deny it access to a specific component if necessary.
According to Wired.