10 privacy features iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 users should know

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Apple offers many different ways to protect your privacy when using an iPhone or iPad, but iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 add even more features designed to protect you. You can hide your email address, hide your internet activity, track app permissions, monitor insecure passwords, and more.

To take advantage of the latest features, make sure you are using the latest version of the operating system. Go to Settings> General> Software update. Either you will be told that your software is up to date, or you will be asked to install the latest update. Once that’s out of the way, here’s how to use these tools.


Protect your messaging activity

Businesses and advertisers who send you emails can learn certain information about your activity in the Mail app. They can know if and when you are reading a specific email and even determine your location. The update to iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 introduces a privacy feature called Protect Mail Activity which can stop this.

Activate it under Settings> Mail> Privacy protection, then turn on the power switch for Protect email activity. When enabled, your device’s IP address is masked to hide your location. Any remote content in an email loads privately in the background, so it can’t be used to track you.


Hide your email address

hide my email

Hide My Email allows you to sign up for apps and websites with a random email account to anonymize your identity and reduce the amount of spam sent to your real email address. To use this feature, you need to be running iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 and sign up for a paid iCloud + subscription.

Go to Settings> [your name] > iCloud> Hide my email to create a new address or use random addresses that you may have already used with Apple’s old Sign In with Apple feature. The next time you need to create an account to access a website or fill out an online form, use a random address instead.

All emails generated through this account are forwarded to your real email address, but you can always turn off the anonymous address if you start receiving spam. Back to Hide my email page, select the random address and press Disable email address to delete it and keep your inbox spam free.


Hide your IP address with iCloud Private Relay

private relay

With iCloud Private Relay, your actual IP address is replaced with that of an anonymous address range based on your general region to obscure your specific location. Because your internet traffic is sent through two separate relays, no entity, including Apple, can see or monitor your internet activity.

The feature is only available to iCloud + subscribers who use the Safari browser. To turn on iCloud Private Relay, go to Settings> [your name] > iCloud> Private relay (beta), then turn on the power switch for Private relay (beta). Faucet IP address location to have the relay use your general location, rather than your exact location, or an even more general location derived from your country and time zone.

To work, the websites you visit must fully support Private Relay. If a site doesn’t, it may display content for the wrong region, require you to take extra login steps, or not work at all. If you have any compatibility issues, you can completely disable Private Relay by returning to the Private relay (beta) page and turning off the same switch again.

You can also turn off the feature only for certain Wi-Fi networks under Settings> Wi-Fi. Press the Following next to a specific Wi-Fi network and turn off the switch for ICloud Private Relay. Or go to Settings> Cellular> Cellular data options and turn off the switch to ICloud Private Relay to turn off specific cellular connections.


Track permissions for app developers

track permissions

App developers can track you and send targeted advertisements when you use certain apps and websites. Apple has introduced a new feature that will ask you if an app wants to follow you. This can be activated from Settings> Privacy> Tracking, where you need to activate Allow apps to request tracking.

When you use your apps, they may then start asking for your permission before tracking your activity. Of course, apps that don’t ask for your permission can still track you, but at least this setting gives you a fighting chance.


Share approximate location

approximate location

If you are hesitant to share your specific location with certain services, but still need to use your device’s location services for certain features, there is a solution: just share an approximation of that location.

You can configure it manually for individual applications under Settings> Privacy> Location services. Make sure Rental services is on, then swipe down to the Apps screen. Tap a specific app to share your location either While using Where Always. On the next screen, turn off the switch to Precise location, and the app will now only use your approximate location.


Deny access to your local network

local network access

Since the release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, some apps will require LAN access the first time you launch them. Some apps may need such access to communicate with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi devices, but most shouldn’t.

If you launch such an app, a message appears stating that the app wants to search for and connect to devices on your local network. Faucet Not to allow to deny access. You can also enable or disable this for each specific app from Settings> Privacy> Local network. Turn off the switch for a specific application to deny access.

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Detect access to camera or microphone

camera detection

Some apps will try to use your camera or microphone for certain purposes, even when they don’t need that access. If you’re using iOS 14, iPadOS 14 or later, you’ll see a visual clue at the top of the screen when your camera or microphone is in use.

A green dot tells you that your camera is currently on, while an amber dot tells you that your microphone is currently on. You can then judge for yourself if you think your current app needs this type of access.


Limit access to photos

limit access to photos

Some apps will ask for access to your photo library, a reasonable request for a camera, or photo editing app. But if you have sensitive photos that you want to keep private, you can limit access to specific photos.

If you receive such a request when launching an app, tap Select photos to choose the photos you want to allow access to. To configure this for all apps, go to Settings> Privacy> Photos. Select an application, change the setting to Selected photos, then choose which photos the app can access.


Detect problematic passwords

problematic passwords

Using a strong, unique password for every app and website account is a difficult task, but every weak password that you use and reuse puts you at risk of security risks. You can see which of your passwords are potentially vulnerable, either because they are too simple or because they are used with multiple applications or websites.

You can check this under Settings> Passwords> Security recommendations. Make sure the switch is on for Detect compromised passwords. The screen will show any risky passwords you need to change.


Safari Privacy Report

confidentiality report

To protect your privacy, Safari will attempt to prevent cross-site trackers from following you. Confirm that this setting is active under Settings> Safari. Scroll to Privacy and Security section and make sure that the switch for Prevent cross-site tracking is on.

Now when using Safari, you can press the button AA icon in the address field and choose Confidentiality report menu. The report shows you which trackers were blocked from profiling you and the percentage of websites that contacted the trackers. You can also see how many trackers have been stopped for each site and the names of the actual trackers that have been blocked.

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