Your phone can track your whereabouts. It can provide helpful tips on the best route to take to get to work (without you even asking it). And the simple truth of the matter is: if you own a smart phone, you are agreeing to lose a certain level of privacy in your life. You may be okay with this trade-off because your phone can provide a number of other important and practical functions. But if this leaves a bad taste in your mouth, your best course of action is to get to know certain tracking settings that can be changed to better protect you. This is the one iPhone tracking setting that privacy experts say you should turn off immediately.
Disable ad tracking
Advertisers use ad tracking to serve you tailored ads based on your marketing profile, but it can be uncomfortable to know that your data is out there, says Max Shak from nerdigital.com. “Data is collected both by Apple and by individual apps,” Shak said. “The information gathered by some apps might then be sold to third parties without you realizing it. It is possible to stop some of this data sharing.”
You should disable ad tracking across apps by default, but make sure you haven’t enabled it inadvertently, Shak recommends.
Open Settings > Privacy & Security > Tracking and make sure Allow Apps to Request to Track is disabled.
“At Settings, scroll down to the bottom > Privacy & Security > Apple Advertising and toggle Personalized Ads off,” 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 disable Share iPhone Analytics. “You can do this if you do not wish Apple to review crash reports, iCloud issues, or Siri recordings,” Shak said. “The analytics data you collect may cover a lot of information that you aren’t interested in sharing, whether anonymously or not.”
While you are 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 regular habits are.
“This is why you get recommendations for businesses or attractions of interest wherever you happen to be,” said Colin Toh, the CEO of Headphonesty. “While this can be very convenient, it does also pose the risk of a privacy breach if anyone manages to access your data. They will easily be able to see everywhere you have visited and what your habits are.”
While this may appear to be a handy function, it is questionable as to whether or not it is worth the risk it poses, Too said. “I would suggest that it is turned off until you need it,” Too said. “To disable it go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services, then tap Significant Locations. Tap Clear History. Toggle the setting to Off and you can be sure that it won’t track you any longer. If you do feel the need to reuse it, just go back and toggle back ON, but remember to follow the steps to disable it when you have finished with it.”