Smartphones are inherently bad for privacy. You've basically got a tracking device in your pocket, pinging off cell towers and locking onto GPS satellites. All the while, tracking cookies, advertising IDs, and usage stats follow you around the internet.
Nearly every connection to the internet is dependent on the Domain Name System. DNS, as it's more commonly called, translates domain names like gadgethacks.com into IP addresses, which is what network devices use to route data. The problem with DNS servers is that they don't have your privacy in mind.
How To: Your iPhone Can Detect & Alert You to Sounds Around You in iOS 14, Like Alarms, Knocking, Cats, Crying & More
For those that have deafness or are hard of hearing, the iPhone can be a powerful tool to communicate with others. It works with many hearing aids and Bluetooth headphones, Live Listen makes it easier to hear nearby people and sounds, and the Messages app makes it easy to chat with anyone. But iOS 14 takes it to a new level, one that even users with perfect hearing can benefit from.
With protests springing up across America, there's a chance you may have your first interaction with law enforcement. Many demonstrators will have their phones in-hand to film the action, which, sadly, could prompt an officer to demand the device and any self-incriminating data it may contain. Before this happens, you should know there are tools at your disposal to protect your data in such situations.
How To: Check Your Android Security Patch Level to See if You're Protected Against the Latest Vulnerabilities
Numerous potential exploits are found for every operating system each month, and Android is no exception. Trouble is, lots of Android devices don't receive timely updates — but many are now getting regular monthly security patches to at least shore up these vulnerabilities.
If you save your passwords in Chrome or even just use Android's default password manager, Google has some new security tools you'll be interested in.
Pretend you're a phone thief for a moment. You might be a pickpocket or a stickup kid, but you're in possession of other people's phones on a regular basis. Now ask yourself this: what's the first thing you do after you steal a phone?
Apple's Find My app just got way more useful. While it's great for locating a lost or stolen iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, Mac, and AirPods, as well as anything attached to an AirTag tracker, it's even better now that it works with third-party accessories and gear.
Malevolent hackers can divert your incoming calls and texts to any number they want, and they don't need to be a criminal mastermind to do it. Even friends and family members can reroute your incoming calls and messages so that they know exactly who's trying to reach you, and all it takes is seconds of access to your iPhone or wireless account. These secret codes can help uncover them.
There's a lot of misinformation about VPN services, and it stems from the fact that not all of them are created equal. Some focus on privacy, others on security, and a few VPNs are seemingly even purpose-built for the polar opposite: data collection. We made this guide to help clear the air on some of these issues while objectively ranking the best of the best.
Apple's password manager, iCloud Keychain, lets you securely save important login credentials for apps, websites, and services that sync up across all of your Apple devices — iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac. One of its biggest highlights is that it can create strong passwords for you. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work, and in those cases, there are other ways to generate random, strong passwords.
Coinbase is the primary go-to for many users when it comes to investing in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), and more, due to its user-friendly interface. But before you join them, know that the ease of use comes with a price. Coinbase charges fees for each transaction, and your bank might even add charges on top of that. Plus, there is some fine print to be aware of.
With all the talk about privacy concerns recently, Google's name keeps coming up because they are a very data-driven company. As an Android user, they know basically everything about you based on your device usage. That can easily scare some people off who are worried about their privacy and security. You do have some say in what personal data Google controls, but what if you want total control?
How To: Prevent Thieves from Turning On Your iPhone's Airplane Mode, So You Have a Better Chance to Track It Down
When an iPhone is lost or stolen, it's imperative to start tracking it via Find My as soon as possible, whether that's from a computer, tablet, or someone else's phone. However, if it's stolen, there's a good chance the thief or robber turns on Airplane Mode, blocking all communication with the iPhone. If this is a scary thought, you can prevent thieves from accessing Airplane Mode altogether.
How To: Your iPhone Uses a Hidden Tracker to Keep Tabs on Your Recent & Most Visited Locations — But You Can Stop It
Your iPhone keeps track of every single place you go, especially those you frequent most often, and syncs those locations across all your iCloud-connected devices. People who gain access or already have access to your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac may be able to view all of these locations to see where you've been and where you might be. If this worries you, there are things you can do.
How To: Stop Apps from Asking to Track Your iPhone Activity in iOS 14.5 for More Control Over Your Privacy
If you're like me, you're not too keen on being tracked. So when an app asks you if it can track your iPhone activity across other programs and websites for ads or data brokers, the answer is pretty much always "no." If you're tired of choosing "Ask App Not to Track" over and over again, there is a way to stop apps from even being able to ask in the first place.
Many of us choose to use an iPhone — as well as other devices in the Apple ecosystem — because of the company's dedication to user privacy and security. If you need more proof of that commitment, look no further than iOS 14.5, released April 26, which adds new tools to protect our data while browsing the web and more control over the data installed apps collect on us.
How To: If Your Sneaky Kids Keep Making In-App Purchases on Your iPhone, This Will Block Them for Good
You can't hand over your iPhone to a kid and expect everything to be OK. Not only will they drop your iPhone (and they will), they could also do something much worse than a cracked screen — in-app purchases.
HomePod and HomePod mini are excellent smart speakers if you're entrenched in the Apple ecosystem. They even offer ways to protect your sensitive information from friends and visitors who try to ask Siri to spill your secrets. But there's an extra layer of privacy you can put in place to make sure nobody gains access to any important notes, reminders, and calendar events.
While Apple's reputation for privacy and security is nearly unmatched, it'll never be perfect when Hey Siri is always listening. Aside from iOS devices, Hey Siri always listens for questions and commands on the HomePod and HomePod mini smart speakers. If you rarely use Hey Siri on those speakers, it's worth disabling the feature for some extra privacy.