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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Ways to Protect Your Apple Device

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“Privacy is a fundamental human right. At Apple, it’s also one of our core values. Your devices are important to so many parts of your life. What you share from those experiences, and whom you share it with, should be up to you.”

So says the Silicon Valley giant on its website, but mooted updates to Apple devices threaten to shake the very core of what personal privacy means.

While those plans have been shelved, for now, it seems that the days of simply trusting Apple to look out for your best interests may be coming to an end.

Here, we’ll look at the steps you can take to increase the privacy of your Apple device in the meantime.

What Was the Controversy?

While rolling out its latest operating software, Apple announced a number of security measures to limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).

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This is a very worthy action to take, but iPhone users – and even some Apple employees – were upset at the company’s methods to do so.

The Messages and Photos apps on any iPhone would be subject to scanning to detect possible CSAM – something that does not chime with Apple’s promise of end-to-end encryption on its devices.

Many people expressed discomfort with the potential for on-device scanning to be manipulated for other motives, and Apple has gone back to the drawing board for now.

How Apple Protection Has Changed Over Time

Mobile phones, in general, have come a long way from the ‘menu+*’ method of access. These devices now contain so much sensitive data that they must be fully protected. Here’s how Apple has gone about that:

  • Biometrics: Levelling up from the lock-screen passcode in 2015 was the introduction of the fingerprint scanner to access phones. Iris recognition and face recognition technologies have taken this many steps further since.
  • App tracking: You may have noticed in 2021 that your iPhone now asks you about app tracking – this either lets you allow or block apps from interacting and sharing data, letting you control who has access to what regarding your personal information.
  • End-to-end encryption: Something that has become a hot topic recently. iPhone messages can only be seen on the devices of those who either send or receive them.

Ways to protect your Apple device

Apple does that and a lot more to protect your data, but here are further steps you can take to bolster your security:

  • Use a VPN: It is especially important if you use public networks; an iOS VPN masks your data so others cannot access it.
  • Password manager: Several apps will create and store complex passwords for you, preventing you from committing the cardinal sin of using the same one for everything!
  • Update software: It’s a basic one, but taking advantage of software updates is a great way to protect your device. Hackers will often find weaknesses in old OS versions, so sticking with what you know or like could be costly in the long run.

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