In another hit on security and privacy, Apple released a 20-page guide outlining the steps you should take to secure your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Whether you’re concerned about the security of your iDevice, including personal data, or want to further strengthen protection against unauthorized access, the guide is worth a close look. Among several security measures, what caught my attention is the checklist on how to check if someone else has access to your iPhone, iPad, and Apple account. Follow it to put your device for a quick security check and also take quick action to block unauthorized access.
Check who has access to your iPhone and Apple account
Apple offers several ways to improve the security and privacy of your iDevice. Any time you detect a threat, you can perform a security check to identify the culprit. To be more specific, it’s about spotting the usual suspects like malicious profiles, custom apps, and making sure that extra layers of protection are enabled. That said, let’s get started!
See which devices are associated with your Apple ID on iPhone, iPad, and Mac
The very first thing we are going to do is check which devices are associated with the Apple ID. By linking a device to the iCloud account, anyone can access the synced data. Therefore, make sure that no device is synced with your iCloud account.
Start the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad -> your profile/avatar. Now scroll below Family Sharing.
To throw System Preferences on your Mac. (You can also click the Apple menu in the upper left corner of the screen and choose System Preferences.) Click Apple ID. On the next screen, you should see the list of all linked devices in the sidebar.
Open a web browser and go to appleid.apple.com. Then sign in to your account and tap/click on a specific device and remove it if you no longer want it associated with your Apple ID.
If you are concerned about the security of your Apple ID, I recommend that you enable two-factor authentication. When 2FA is enabled, your account gets an extra layer of protection that asks for verification every time someone tries to log into the account. To further enhance your account security, 2FA sends the verification code only to the trusted device.
To turn it on, go to Settings app -> Profile -> Password & Security -> Two-Factor Authentication. Now follow the instructions to activate it.
Check if there is an unexpected alternate Face/Touch ID configuration on your device
Another security setting you need to check is the alternate configuration of Face or Touch ID. Maybe someone gained access to your iPhone and set up face unlock/fingerprint to access your device and view your private photos and notes. Head to Settings app -> Face/Touch ID. If there is another face unlock or fingerprint configuration, delete it.
Review all installed apps and remove any you don’t recognize
From a security perspective, it’s always best to keep track of all the apps that have been installed on your iPhone. Knowing that custom apps can be manipulated to access sensitive data, you should always guard against them, making sure they don’t exist on your iOS device.
Thanks to Application Library, it has become quite easy to access specific apps on the device. All apps are organized into different categories like entertainment, games, and productivity so you can easily find a specific type of app. Moreover, you can also view them in the list view by just tapping on the search bar to scroll through all the installed apps.
- It’s no secret that outdated apps are vulnerable to hacking and even tend to create lots of issues like draining the battery and slowing down the device. Therefore, you need to keep the apps updated. iOS lets you update apps manually and automatically.
- You can go to App Store -> Profile and then update all apps at once. If you want to update apps automatically, go to Settings app -> App Store. In the Automatic Downloads section, turn on the switch for app updates.
Delete unknown configuration profiles
Businesses and educational institutions use mobile device management tools and device profiles to manage devices and even access data. While no one can dispute the usability of MDM and device profiles, there have been many instances where they have been used to access data and location information on the device. Therefore, you need to make sure that there are no unknown configuration profiles installed on your iPhone or iPad.
To remove an MDM profile or configuration from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch: Go to Settings app -> General -> Profiles and device management. Now select the profile and press Delete profile. After that, restart your device.
To remove a profile from your Mac: Go to System Preferences and click on Profiles. Next, click on the suspicious profile and then click on the Delete button (-) under the list of profiles. After that click on To delete again to confirm deletion. After that, restart your Mac (click on the Apple menu and choose Restart).
More tips to secure your iPhone and iPad against unauthorized access
iOS offers several ways to protect your iOS device from unauthorized access. There are three notable security features that I would like you to take note of.
Configure the alphanumeric password: Head to the Settings app -> Face/Touch ID -> Change Passcode -> Passcode Options -> Custom Alphanumeric Passcode.
Automatically erase your iPhone after 10 failed passcode attempts: Settings app -> Face/Touch ID -> Clear data.
Secure lock screen: Settings app -> Face/Touch ID. In the Allow access when locked section, turn off the toggles right next to Today view, Notification center, Control center, Siri, Replay with message, Home control , wallet, return missed calls to secure your iPhone lock screen.
Additionally, there is also an option to force iPhone to ask for a passcode to allow USB accessories to connect when more than one hour has passed since your iPhone was locked.
Take control of your device access to prevent foul play
Here! This is how you can harden the security of your iDevice to block unauthorized access. It’s just a matter of checking the basics and making sure that all the designed security measures are active. Now that you know how to protect your device, take advantage of the tips to protect your private information.
You can also read these privacy-related iOS 14 articles:
- Limit third-party access to the Photos app in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14
- How to Manage Apps LAN Access in iOS 14
- Enable Private MAC Address on iPhone in iOS 14
- How to Block Apps from Accessing Your Precise Location in iOS 14
- How to Manage Access to Location Data for Widgets on iPhone and iPad
By the way, do you have any questions or comments? Be sure to snap it in the comments below.