Securing your iPhone in 10 simple steps

With our ten useful tips, you can quickly and easily protect your iPhone and the data stored on it from unauthorized access.

Björn GreifEditor

You got a new iPhone? Then you should set it up in such a way that unauthorized persons cannot access your data. We’ll show you how to secure your device and protect your data in 10 simple steps. [You got an Android phone? Click here for the proper guide.]

Set PasscodeProtect your iPhone from unauthorized access by third parties with fingerprints, face recognition, or passcode. You can set up the screen lock under Settings > Touch ID & Passcode or Face ID & Passcode. Tap on Turn Passcode On or Change Passcode and then on Passcode Options. Select at least the 6-digit numeric code. The safest way is to set up a custom alphanumeric code that contains letters, special characters and numbers – the more, the better. Tips for creating strong passwords that you can easily remember can be found here.

Also make sure that your SIM card is protected with a PIN. The SIM lock can be configured under Settings > Mobile Data > SIM PIN.

Allow Access When LockedTo prevent someone from reading incoming chat messages or calendar appointments on your lock screen, you should hide these notifications.

Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode or Face ID & Passcode and scroll down to the Allow Access When Locked section. Then move the sliders next to each feature to the left to turn off the corresponding notifications on the lock screen.

The digital assistant Siri is a useful feature of the iPhone but poses some risks. By default, anyone can use Siri on the lock screen when they get their hands on your iPhone. For example, someone can check your appointments or make calls without unlocking the device.

To prevent Siri from revealing confidential information, turn off the digital assistant on the lock screen. Go to Settings > Siri & Search and deactivate the Allow Siri When Locked option.

In addition, you can disable the Listen for “Hey Siri” option in the same menu to prevent your iPhone from permanently listening for this activation phrase.

In general, you should already pay attention to the permissions of an app when installing it. If there is no obvious reason for an app to access the camera, for example, deny it permission.

Fortunately, you can revoke previously granted permissions at any time: Go to Settings > Privacy to get an overview of all permissions. For example, under Camera you can then see all apps that require access to the camera. All you have to do is to flip the switch for the respective app to revoke its permission. In the same way, you can restrict the access of apps to the microphone, contacts, calendar, etc.

Location ServicesUnder Settings > Privacy > Location Services, you can completely disable location access for all apps or configure it separately for each app (“Never” or “While Using the App”).

Note, however, that if you completely disable the location services, some apps and services, such as Maps or Find My iPhone, may no longer work.

Cliqz Anti-Tracking iPhoneToday, almost every website contains trackers that collect the personal data of users and log their browsing behavior in order to profile and target them with advertising. To prevent this, you can use a privacy browser like Cliqz. It not only protects against data collectors, annoying ads and phishing, but also offers an anonymous search engine and other useful features such as a video downloader.

Additionally, you can enable the Limit Ad Tracking option under Settings > Privacy > Advertising to opt out of receiving ads targeted to your interests from Apple’s advertising platform.

Although social networking is primarily about sharing content, you should review your privacy settings to minimize the amount of personal information you share. Our guides for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram explain what options you should change.

Enable iCloud BackupTo easily restore your personal data in case of an error, you should regularly create a backup copy. To do this, go to Settings > Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store > iCloud and turn on the iCloud Backup option. The iCloud Backup includes device settings, home configuration and app data, but not the data that’s already stored in iCloud (e.g. contacts, calendars, notes, photos, etc.).

Alternatively, you can use iTunes to store backups of your iPhone on your PC or Mac. Step-by-step instructions for both backup methods can be found here.

Find My iPhoneMake sure that the remote access feature is enabled on your iPhone: Go to Settings > Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store > iCloud and check under Find My iPhone whether the feature is set to “On“. This allows you to remotely locate, lock, or delete your iPhone. However, this only works if you have activated iCloud.

Also write down your phone’s 15-digit device number (IMEI) – which you can retrieve using the key code *#06#serial number and SIM card number (ICCID). You can find all numbers under Settings > General > About. This information will come in handy if your phone gets lost or stolen.

Automatic DownloadsMake sure that the firmware of your iPhone and all installed apps are up to date. This minimizes the risk of attackers exploiting known vulnerabilities. Once an iOS update is available, you will receive a message and should install it promptly.

We also recommend that you turn on automatic downloads under Settings > iTunes & App Store. The Use Mobile Data option should be deactivated to ensure that automatic downloads only use your Wi-Fi connection and don’t eat up your mobile data.

Do you want to keep your old phone as a replacement, give it to family or friends or sell it? To prevent the new owner from accessing your data such as private photos and videos or confidential documents, you should always delete it – so that it cannot be easily recovered. Our guide explains how to do it right.

By following our tips, your device and data are well protected. You can then use your new iPhone with complete confidence that it is safe and secure.