5 iPhone security settings you need to change right now

Your phone does not come with a user manual. Sure, you can find Apple or Android guides online, but don’t count on Big Tech to tell you the secrets to best protecting yourself.

Default settings are often far better for the companies behind them than for you. Tap or click 10 iPhone default settings that need your attention.

Some features get more attention than others, like the new ability to take back an SMS. Tap or click to see what really happens when you retract a text message. Spoilers: It’s not quite as sneaky as you think.

Now grab your iPhone and I’ll show you a few changes you need to make to protect yourself.

1. Clear the junk texts

Spam calls are relatively effectively blocked at the operator level, but texts are different. If your phone is getting inundated with fake shipping notifications and other junk, take a few steps to stop them.

The simplest and easiest way to stop spam texts is to block the number. To block a number in messages:

  • Tap the Surname or number above in a news conversation.
  • Beat the informationthen scroll down and tap Block this caller.

You can also go a step further by filtering messages from unknown senders. Messages from people not in your contact list are sent to the Unknown Senders tab in the message list. That’s how it’s done:

  • Go to settings > Messages.
  • turn on Filter unknown senders.

Bonus Tip: If you receive a message from an unknown number that has been identified as spam or junk, you can report it to Apple. In the message, tap report junkthen Clear and report junk.

What if you receive a verification code that you didn’t request? It might be nothing, but it might be a scam. Tap or click here for instructions on how to act.

iPhone 14 on display at the Apple Store in Marunouchi, Tokyo.

iPhone 14 on display at the Apple Store in Marunouchi, Tokyo.
(Photo by Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

2. Stop all tracking

As you move from one website to another, you are often followed by trackers that collect data about where you have been and what you have been doing.

Data is available about your browsing habits, preferences, sharing, ads you click on and your shopping cart. This information may be sold to third parties or used for targeted advertising.

Safari restricts third-party cookies and data. The good news is that this is enabled by default, but it’s a good idea to make sure you have this option enabled. Here’s how:

  • Go to settings > safari.
  • Under privacy and securitySwitch on Prevent cross-site tracking. If it’s already on, you’re good to go.

Your computer’s browser is probably packed with trackers. Tap or click an easy way to delete dozens in few clicks.

TECH TIP: WHAT REALLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU SEND A TEXT ON YOUR IPHONE

3. Block the creep that won’t leave you alone

I constantly get requests for help on my national radio show and podcast from people dealing with an ex, an abusive family member, or an old friend who can’t take a clue. If you’re tired of their calls and messages, block them.

Block someone from Contacts:

  • Open contactsand then tap the name of the contact you want to block.
  • Beat Block this callerthen block contact.

Block someone from the Messages app:

  • open that news app and tap a conversation.
  • Tap the Surname, Number, or profile pic at the top of the screen.
  • Tap the Info button under the contact.
  • Scroll down and Tap Block this caller > block contact

Bonus tip: You can hide or block your number from caller id. Tap or click here for the steps to do this.

iPhone applications.

iPhone applications.
(Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

4. Browse privately

The Safari version of Incognito Mode is called Private Browsing. No, it doesn’t keep everything you do completely private, but it does have a few benefits:

  • Your browsing history is not saved and the websites you visit are not shared with your other devices.
  • Safari doesn’t remember the pages you visit, what you search for, or your autofill information.

To open a private browsing window on your iPhone:

  • Open safari on your iPhone and tap Two square button in the lower right corner.
  • If you have many tabs open, tap [number] tabs at the bottom of the screen to view the list of tab groups.
  • If you only have one tab open, tap Home page at the bottom of the screen to view the list of tab groups.
  • Beat Privatethen tap Finished.

Of course, private mode is not 100% private. Tap or click for my 60 second podcast that breaks it down.

Incognito mode logo displayed on a smartphone.

Incognito mode logo displayed on a smartphone.
(Photo illustration by Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

5. Lock your lock screen

You can access a few features from your iPhone’s lock screen — widgets, media playback controls, your camera, and control center.

You may want to change what is accessible from your lock screen to protect your privacy. If you can see it, so can anyone holding your phone.

How to keep things private:

  • Go to settings > Face ID and Passcode (on an iPhone with Face ID) or Touch ID & Passcode (on an iPhone with a home button).
  • Give her four-digit password when prompted.
  • In the Allow access when locked section, review the options and choose which ones appear on the lock screen. You can choose between the notification center, the control center and more. Turn Notification Center out if you want to keep notifications private.

TAB OVERLOAD? HOW TO CONTROL WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU START YOUR BROWSER

Keep your technical knowledge up to date

My favorite podcast is called Kim Komando Today. It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips and tech callers like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For convenience, click the link below to view a recent episode.

PODCAST CHOICE: Smugglers on social media, meta meltdown, Facebook privacy tips

Afraid of Apple AirTag stalkers? How to sniff out creeps that are chasing you. Also, watch out for this TSA scam, hide your phone number and email address on Facebook, fix your loading issues and why meta is melting. Also, smugglers are using Snapchat and TikTok to recruit Americans to drive migrants from the border into the US

Watch my Kim Komando Today podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

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Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name “Komando”.

What questions do you have about the digital lifestyle? Call Kim’s National Radio Show and tap or click here to find her on your local radio station. You can listen or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, TV or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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Hear all about the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and shares advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. Visit her website at Komando.com for her daily tips, free newsletters and more.

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