Your iPhone and iPad have become the center of your digital identity, and it’s easy to lose track of all the ways in which Apple and other parties access your data legitimately—or without your full knowledge and consent. While Apple nearly always errs on the side of disclosure and permission, many other firms don’t. This book comprehensively explains how to configure iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 to best protect your privacy while messaging, email, browsing, and much more, and how to ensure your devices and data are secure from intrusion.
Take Control of iOS & iPadOS Privacy and Security covers how to configure the hundreds of privacy and data sharing settings Apple offers in iOS and iPadOS, and which it mediates for third-party apps. You’ll learn how Safari has been increasingly hardened to protect your web surfing habits, personal data, and identity—particularly with the addition of the iCloud Private Relay, an option for iCloud+ subscribers to anonymize their Safari browsing.
In addition to privacy and security, this book also teachers you everything you need to know about networking, whether you’re using cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or combinations of all of them, as well as about AirDrop, AirPlay, Airplane Mode, and Personal Hotspot and tethering.
Also available: You can save money by buying this book as part of a three-book bundle, which also includes Take Control of Wi-Fi Networking and Security and Take Control of Securing Your Mac. Buy all three books for $25.78, which is 40% off the combined cover prices of $42.97. Add 3-Book Bundle to Cart
You’ll learn how to:
- Master all the options for a Personal Hotspot for yourself and in a Family Sharing group.
- Troubleshoot problematic Wi-Fi connections.
- Set up a device securely from the moment you power up a new or newly restored iPhone or iPad.
- Manage Apple’s new built-in second factor verification code generator for extra-secure website and app logins.
- Protect your email by using an address Apple manages and relays messages through for you.
- Understand Safari’s blocking techniques and how to review websites’ attempts to track you.
- Anticipate Apple’s potentially privacy-challenging changes designed to improve the safety of children, both those using Apple hardware and those who suffering abuse.
- Optimize cellular data use to avoid throttling or overage charges, while always getting the best throughput.
- Understand why Apple might ask for your iPhone, iPad, or Mac password when you log in on a new device using two-factor authentication.
- Share a Wi-Fi password with nearby contacts and via a QR Code.
- Differentiate between encrypted data sessions and end-to-end encryption.
- Stream music and video to other devices with AirPlay 2.
- Deter brute-force cracking by relying on a USB Accessories timeout.
- Configure Bluetooth devices.
- Transfer files between iOS and macOS with AirDrop.
- Block creeps from iMessage, FaceTime, text messages, and phone calls.
- Secure your data in transit with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection.
- Protect Apple ID account and iCloud data from unwanted access.
What’s New in Version 2.0.1
I just learned after the initial version of this edition appeared that Apple and various mobile carriers had deployed slight changes and emendations to the way in which 5G networks are indicated in the iOS/iPadOS status bar. This update adds a little more information and teases out fully the differences among 5G, 5G+, 5GUW, and 5GUC, the confusingly named overlapping flavors of 5G across carriers. See “Which Network Are You On?”
More data appeared after the first version of this book about how an iPhone or iPad’s “powered down” status still continues to feed out Bluetooth-based data for Find My network crowdsourced location discovery. I’ve updated the book to include a sidebar that explains how works relative to privacy. See “Bluetooth with the Find My Network.”
Somewhere near the end of September 2021, Apple upgraded all Safari-related items synced via iCloud from cloud-encrypted to end-to-end encrypted. This is explained in “Cloud-Stored Data,” where I have updated the lists of items in each category.
What’s New in the Second Edition
Apple made some substantial changes to privacy and security in iOS and iPadOS between version 14 and 15, many of which involve iCloud and cloud-based services and synchronization.
This includes features available in iOS 15/iPadOS 15 only if you have a paid subscription to iCloud. Apple now calls its free tier “iCloud” and all the paid tiers “iCloud+”. Apple had increasingly added services on top of storage to paid iCloud tiers, and iCloud+ formalizes that with a new name and several new features. I call out iCloud+ throughout the book where relevant.
In addition to all the small difference documented through the book, this new edition adds and updates:
- Automatic 5G selection with iPhone 12 or later models: iOS 15 picks a 5G network if you have any iPhone 12 or later model, an active 5G plan, and an accessible 5G connection instead of Wi-Fi in several cases, explained in “Work with Apple’s Automatic 5G Selection.”
- iCloud Private Relay: iCloud Private Relay (part of iCloud+) creates a secure and anonymized browsing connection from Safari to websites you visit. See “Protect Privacy with an Anonymity-Preserving Relay.”
- Mail Privacy Protection: You can turn on a new anti-tracking feature to prevent email messages from deriving your IP address, which can be used to approximate location, and from using embedded images or code to see whether a message has been opened. See “Enable Email Privacy.”
- Hide My Email: You can generate any number of icloud.com email aliases that Apple relays to your real email address without revealing that address to the sender. Hide My Email (iCloud+) is perfect for creating addresses to use in forms on webpages where you want to be sure you’re not spammed or your address abused later. See “Hide Your Email.”
- Obscuring IP addresses: Apple has added an option to obscure your IP address from web-based tracking as part of its Intelligent Tracking Protection. See “Safari Blocks Cookies.”
- Cloud-stored data: While mentioned in previous versions of the book, this edition explains more fully how your data may be stored in the cloud—particularly iCloud. See “Cloud-Stored Data.”
- iCloud Data Recovery Service: You can opt in to a recovery service that lets you add a contact who can help you regain access to an iCloud account’s website-accessible data: photos, contacts, device backups, notifications, and more. But not device-locked data, like that related to health, your iCloud Keychain entries, and much else. See “iCloud Data Recovery Restores Some Data.”
- App Privacy Report: You can see how apps have used your microphone, camera, location, contacts, and other personal or sensor information for the previous seven days. The feature isn’t due until after the initial release of iOS 15/iPadOS 15. See “App Privacy Reporting (Coming Soon).”
- Child protection initiatives: Apple has plans to introduce several measures later to iOS and iPadOS under the rubric of “expanded child protection.” The new chapter “Understand Apple’s Child Protection Approach” provides an overview and an analysis of privacy pitfalls. Two specific sections worth calling out are on:
- Communication Safety: Apple plans to offer parents an option in a Family Sharing plan to enable warnings children under 18 will see in Messages when they receive or attempt to send images that a machine-learning algorithm identifies as likely containing sexualized imagery. Parents would also be able to turn on a notification option if a child under 13 proceeds to view or send the image. See “Manage Messages for Minors.”
- Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) scanning: To combat the re-victimization of people who appear in distributed images of sexual abuse, Apple plans to automatically check for exact matches of known material that is loaded onto an iPhone or iPad and queued for automatic syncing with iCloud Photos. See “Understand Apple’s CSAM Scanning.”
- Second-factor generation: Apple’s password manager can generate time-based one-time passwords (TOTPs) used as a second factor to validate a legitimate login at many websites and with many services. See “Learn About Second Factors.”
Where To Find “Find My”
Because this book has grown so much due to new features, this edition also sees a calving of its last chapter, formerly about the Find My features in iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and other Apple and third-party hardware.
Originally included when Apple offered its simpler Find My iPhone/iPad service, the technology has expanded significantly—including adding battery-powered trackers and other manufacturers’ hardware—and doesn’t fit neatly into the networking, privacy, and security focus of this book. We’ve also added details on opt-in person-based and Family Sharing location sharing.
We’ve created an entirely new title that encompasses all of the growing Find My universe, called Take Control of Find My and AirTags, which will itself become ever larger as Apple adds more features and partners.