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How to use all of iOS 14’s hidden privacy features

Tired of your phone leaking you personal data all over the web? We show you how to use all of iOS 14’s new privacy features to keep your private data private.

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Maintaining an iota of privacy online isn’t easy. Web tracking from tech giants like Google and Facebook can sometimes feel like an inevitability if you plan to, say, use a smart phone. Luckily, if that smart phone happens to be one of Apple’s products, you have an arsenal of tools to combat would-be data sleuths.

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Apple’s iOS 14 is more efficient than ever before in ensuring private information actually remains private, meaning a little knowledge and a couple of quick adjustments in Settings could provide some much needed peace of mind.

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Here’s what you need to know...

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Approximate Location

Location sharing can really improve the quality and convenience of some apps, but giving your exact whereabouts to any random company isn’t necessarily a good idea.

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Granular permissions

Instead of giving away your exact coordinates, iOS 14 allows you to share a more generalized location. There’s also a nice degree of granularity here in that you can choose your preferences for each app using location data.

Go to Settings

To adjust your location preferences, navigate to Settings, Privacy, Location Services, and then tap on the app whose settings you’d like to change. Toggle “Precise Location” off and you’ll now be (slightly more) incognito.

Tracking request

One of the most common ways in which your online privacy is encroached on is web tracking, where websites or social platforms collect, store, and distribute data relating to your online activity. The problem with web tracking is that the data those organizations or websites collect (i.e. device identifiers or which URLs you visit) has a nasty habit of not remaining private to those who track and purchase it.

Given those dangers, iOS 14 now offers you the option to make some developers ask your for permission before tracking your activity. To turn on this feature, navigate to settings, privacy, tracking, and then toggle on, “Allow Apps to Request to Track.”

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While this feature has been around for a while, Apple has dragged its feet on actually enforcing its new tracking rules too strictly, giving developers time to adapt their apps to the change. This month, however, it started rejecting developers whose apps were found to be non-compliant, meaning the feature will likely reach its final form in the upcoming rollout of iOS 14.5.

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Password guardian

If you’re not always on point with strong passwords, iOS 14 has a few features that can help. The “Detect Compromised Passwords” feature will let you know if your password is at risk of being stolen by factoring in things like complexity and whether it’s been used in other credentials.

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Apple also monitors your passwords to check if they’ve been involved in any known data leaks, and will notify you in the event your security is compromised.

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To activate the feature, navigate to Settings, then Passwords, Security Recommendations, and toggle “Detect Compromised Passwords.” iOS 14 is now watching your back.

Safari security reports

As we’ve highlighted, keeping track of your digital privacy can be somewhat involved, but in iOS 14 Safari will do some of the monitoring for you. With built-in privacy reports, you can take periodic temperature checks of who is tracking your web activity, and see which trackers were blocked.

Say no to tracking

To use the feature make sure you have cross-site tracking blocked by going to Settings, then Safari, and scrolling down to, Privacy. Make sure the “Prevent Cross-Site Tracking” switch is toggled on.

Check the report

Once activated, you can check in on which sites Safari has blocked by opening the browser and then tapping on the “AA” icon next to the left in the address bar and tapping “Privacy Report.” You’ll then be able to see exactly who has been trying to monitor your activity.

Sign in with apple

“Sign in with Apple” is one of iOS 14’s more novel features. It helps protect you in situations where you may be pressed to sign up for a service that you don’t fully trust giving your actual email address or social media login to.

By tapping the “Sign in with Apple” button on participating websites, you’re able to log in to services by using Face ID or your iPhone passcode as opposed to your personal credentials.

As an alternative to giving out a primary or even secondary emails address, you can use also use the “Hide my Email” feature to furnish an auto-generated email address that will relay messages to an address of your choice.

One of the best perks of “Sign in with Apple” and “Hide my email” is that they work automatically if you’re using iOS 14. To take advantage of the latter, all you have to do is press “Hide my email” when the prompt appears and emails will be forwarded from your secure burner address to the account associated with your Apple ID.

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Unfortunately no combination of iOS privacy features can keep you completely free of prying eyes, but with with these tricks at your disposal, you should be able to cobble back just a little more of your virtual identity.

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Who knows, these features might even be enough to justify paying the Apple premium.

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