Securing Your Apple Device Out of Box
Apple has done a fantastic job of ensuring great platform security within their devices they release. They maximize the security of their devices while at the same time not compromising the usability so users don’t feel overwhelmed when using them. With that in mind, it’s still a good idea to add extra security measures to make your device and its data more secure. Here are several ways we can accomplish this to add more security, without sacrificing the usability.
Avoid Jailbreaking Your Device
One of the big differences between Apple and Android is that Apple’s App Store only contains applications that have been vetted by Apple themselves. With App security in mind, Apple takes steps to ensure that applications on their platform are free of known malware and haven’t been tampered with. Jailbreaking your device essentially takes all of that security and assurance and throws it out the window.
Essentially, Jailbreaking is the action of downloading a jailbreaking software package and applying the software code from the package to your phone. This can allow you download applications that haven’t been approved or accepted by Apple. It can allow many more customization options to the phone as you can download things more freely. If you have security in mind, it is not recommended to do this, as downloading unknown applications could lead to harmful malware and other threats being installed on your device.
Set Up “Find My” On Your Device
Physical security is one of the first things you should consider when you want to bolster your devices security. You can put as many protections on your device as you want, but if it’s lost or stolen, those securities can be circumvented by malicious actors. Apple has introduced an app called “Find My” which works similarly to Android’s “Find My Device”. This application will use Apple’s location tracking technologies to pinpoint where your device is on a map (within a few meters) Keep in mind though, location tracking on your device must be enabled for this application to work properly.
To enable this simply navigate to:
Settings > Tap your name, then tap Find My > Tap Find My [device name such as iPhone, iMac]
You can also enable settings such as “Find My Network” which will let you locate your device even if it’s offline, or, “Send Last Location” which will send the last location of your device to Apple when the battery is critically low. It’s important to note that you can also use features such as “Sound” that will make the device play a sound at max volume if you have lost the device in a close vicinity. There is also an option to erase all data on the phone just in case it was stolen and you have sensitive data.
Use Touch ID for Biometric Authentication
If your device supports the Apple Touch ID it would be in your best interest to use it to secure your device. Having a strong password is great and is extremely recommended, however, it can be brute-forced. Your fingerprint is unique to you and would be nearly impossible to replicate so it is recommended that Touch ID is used. What’s more, is Touch ID can be used for more than just authentication. It can also be used to access specific Apple Apps such as iTunes and App Store.
To add your fingerprint, go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Tap “Add a Fingerprint” and just follow the on-screen instructions from there.
Ensure Automatic Updates Are Turned On
Ensuring your device is up to date is one of the very easy ways to ensure better device security. When Apple finds a security or software flaw, they will fix it and then release a software update for users to download. Failure to download the software update could lead to that same flaw being exposed on your device by a malicious actor.
Automatic updates for the iOS should be turned on automatically, however, from a security perspective it’s always wise to make sure. Navigate to Settings > General > Software Update and ensure Automatic Updates is enabled.
Use Security Applications on your device
There is a plethora of security applications you can download on your device to bolster its defenses from the malicious threats of the outside world. What’s more, is most of these applications are free, so there is no excuse not to have better security!
If you are looking to encrypt your text messages to prevent spying, then I highly recommend Signal or Telegram. These apps use client-server encryption for standard chats to ensure that nobody is snooping your messages. Signal, for example, is an all-in-one text messaging, voice chatting, and group messaging app. Messages can even be set to self-destruct after a certain amount of time if you are more concerned about spying.
When it comes to web browsing, having a Virtual Private Network (VPN) application on your device is a no-brainer. VPN’s will provide anonymity and security to their users by creating a private connection across a public network. This will ensure that even websites you visit that don’t use HTTPS will still be encrypted. NordVPN and Mullvad VPN are great options to choose if you can spare the low cost.