Apps can learn a lot about you just by reading information about your smartphone. They can easily track what device model you have, your phone number, and in some cases, your hardware MAC addresses. Many third-party apps will only track your device values for advertising purposes, but some might be trying to snoop on your data for ill intentions.
How To: iOS 14's New Security Alerts Rat Out Apps for Privacy Invasions on Your iPhone & It'll Only Get Better
In the tech world, our data is always under attack. When you download and install a new app, it can be difficult to know what information the app is actually accessing. Thankfully, a new emphasis on privacy in iOS 14 changes the game, exposing more of what your apps want access to — and even changing some behavior along the way.
Warning: Sensitive Info You Black Out in Images Can Be Revealed with a Few Quick Edits on Your iPhone
These days, most images we post online or share with others come from our smartphones. Whenever there is any personal data in them, such as debit card numbers, addresses, phone numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information, it's easy to jump into your iPhone's markup tools to black out the text before sharing. But using a digital marker may not be enough to hide everything.
If it has an internet connection, it's got a huge attack surface for hackers. But what makes your phone even more dangerous is its portability and the collection of sensors it houses that can be just as good at tracking you as the camera and mic.
VPNs add a protective layer between your data and your internet service provider (ISP) or bad actors (hackers), so it makes sense they've become so popular lately. Probably the most common one of these is NordVPN, so we explored its mobile app to find all the options worth checking out.
You might be giving out your name to every stranger you see, and you don't even know it. That iPhone of yours has a name — generally a combination of your first name and device model — and it broadcasts it to others via AirDrop, Personal Hotspot, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other connections. Sure, it's useful to keep your device name simple and to the point, but there are upsides to changing it.
KeePass, the free, open-source password manager, has an excellent Android client in Keepass2Android. Its UI is slicker than many of the other ports, it's packing most of the features you'd find in the official Windows version, and it's completely free. Now, it's even adding native biometrics support.
Enter a password into a password field, and it's a sure bet that black dots or asterisks will obscure the characters. Nearly every website you visit in Safari on your iPhone will do it, but sometimes it helps to see what you're typing or what was auto-filled with iCloud Keychain, LastPass, or a different password manager.
Your phone tracks your every move to some extent, and I'm not just talking about Google services. Smartphone manufacturers use telemetry services that run in the background to track how you use the device, mostly for ads or to improve their future products. You don't usually have a say in the matter, but if you have a rooted OnePlus, there's a way you can take control over it.
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.
How To: Disable FaceTime's Creepy Eye Contact Feature in iOS 14 So You Don't Look Like You're Staring Awkwardly
It's incredible what technology can do these days, but sometimes, it gets a little scary. For instance, FaceTime's "Eye Contact" feature, which Apple beta-tested in iOS 13 but released with iOS 14, makes it appear like you're looking right at the camera, even when you're actually looking at your friend on the screen. If you find this artificial trick a bit creepy, rest assured you can turn it off at any time.
Everything lives online these days, so it's not uncommon to have hundreds of credentials for different accounts on apps and websites. That's why a password manager is a must, and your iPhone has one built right into iOS that you can start using today. In iOS 14, it's gotten even more useful since it can now monitor your passwords regularly to see if any match leaked password lists online.
You feel like you have a pretty good handle on your iPhone these days. So what is the deal with those green and orange dots? They weren't there before, and now, you see them everywhere. Sorry to say you can't stop these dots from appearing, but when you know why they are there, you might just want to keep them around.
Sure, your search history can be useful, but more often than not, it's a paper trail of privacy infringement. It's perfectly reasonable not to want to see a complete list of your YouTube queries every single time you search for a new video. Luckily, blocking YouTube from saving your search history takes only a few taps.
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?
The "Hidden" album on your iPhone has always had one problem — it was never truly hidden. Since iOS 10, when the feature was introduced in the Photos app, any image or video that you conceal in the private folder could be seen by anyone with access to your unlocked device. Finally, that has changed.
How To: Disable This Wi-Fi Option on Your iPhone to Increase Security & Prevent Unresponsive Apps & Webpages
You're out and about, and nothing on your iPhone will load. A glance at the settings shows a saved Wi-Fi network with full bars that your iPhone had connected to automatically, but you're not getting any internet. If you've experienced this, you're not alone, and there's something you can do about it. You'll even increase privacy and security on your iPhone in the process.
How To: Apps & Services May Have Access to Your Apple Music & Media Library — Here's How to Check & Revoke Their Permissions
Third-party apps on your iPhone must ask for your permission to access your library in the Music app. Some will even want to get access to your Apple Music account. If you no longer use the apps, you shouldn't be letting them have access anymore. It's easy to hunt them down, and doing so might even show some apps you can't even remember giving any permissions to.
Android has not had the best reputation for privacy and security, though Google has made strides in those departments in recent years.
In iOS 13.5 and later, developers can create and release contact tracing apps for iPhone, which could help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. With these apps comes COVID-19 exposure notifications, which you may or may not want to receive. If you don't want to get these alerts, you can disable them.