Whether you’re an Apple junkie who owns multiple products from Apple TV to Macintosh computers, or you just like their mobile devices, no one can deny the immense success and popularity of the iPhone. Many people are eagerly awaiting the newest addition to the iPhone line of smartphones, and its release is just around the corner – according to rumors. But the iPhone 7 won’t be released until 2016, and until then we will have to use the iPhone 6. But there is one problem. Even though Apple creates very secure operating systems, your data is still at risk once it leaves your phone and is sent through the public Internet.
Furthermore, as our society shifts from a traditional client/server model of accessing and storing information, we are becoming increasingly dependent on cloud services. We store more data outside of our computing devices today than ever before, and this creates some inherent security risks. But the problems don’t end there. Corporations are becoming increasingly sophisticated at extrapolating data from user devices to help them better understand our behavior, preferences, and even our physical location. We’ll take a look at how to secure your iPhone 6 at the end of the article to shut down or mitigate a lot of these settings so your device isn’t sending information about your habits and geo-location data back to Apple, but first we need to talk about how to secure your Internet connection on your iPhone 6.
One of the least secure things with your iPhone 6 is the Internet connection – especially in public Wi-Fi scenarios where you could be sharing the hotspot with any number of other people. Coffee shops, airports, and other public places regularly offer free Internet, but it is very easy for and attacker to steal your personal information by hacking your device over the Wi-Fi connection. In addition, once you send any information over the Internet that hasn’t been encrypted, your data can easily be intercepted by the government, hackers, or ISPs. To combat these problems, all you need to do is use a VPN service that will protect your data by scrambling and encrypting it. Once your data is encrypted through a VPN tunnel, you will be able to prevent Internet attackers from reading your data. You can add VPN to mutiple Apple products such as combining a VPN router with your Airport Extreme, or configure your Apple TV through one as well. With that said, let’s take a look at the best VPNs for iPhone 6 specifically.
ExpressVPN – Full Review
Express VPN does a fantastic job of covering all of the major operating systems and their service is of the highest quality. And I don’t just mean from a technical perspective, either. Though they do have extraordinarily fast VPN connections that don’t limit bandwidth or data, there are many attractive ancillary features to their service. For example, they have amazing customer service that is 24/7 as well as a 30-day money back guarantee, and they have a tremendously strong global presence. With servers spread out around the globe in 78 different countries, you will be able to make connections to nearby VPN servers whether you are at home or traveling for business. The real disadvantage to their service is the fact that they cost more than other providers, but the quality of their service easily justifies their cost.
VPN Area – Full Review
VPN Area is another great choice for iPhone 6 users who want a reasonably priced VPN tunnel that won’t break the bank. They are moderately priced at only $4.92 per month for long-term subscriptions and they have a 7-day money back guarantee to ensure you are satisfied with their service. Not only do they have decent global coverage with servers in 51 countries, but they will help you secure all of your devices in addition to your iPhone by allowing you to connect up to 5 devices per account.
Private Internet Access – Full Review
PIA is our third choice for iPhone users, and they are a great choice given two conditions. Firstly, they are great if you want to secure more devices than a single iPhone because they let you connect up to 5 devices per user account. Secondly, they are the best choice for people looking for the least expensive service. They are cheaper than just about every other provider and their service only costs $3.33 per month with a 1-year subscription. Lastly, they have more servers to connect to than the majority of other providers owing to their 3096 servers located in 24 countries scattered around the globe.
PureVPN – Full Review
For users who travel a lot or are located in a country with a lot of Internet censorship, Pure VPN is a fantastic choice because they have 500+ servers in 140 countries – and counting. Like VPN Area, you will be able to secure all of your devices, not only your iPhone, because they allow 5 devices per account. Like other providers, they too offer a 7-day money back guarantee. But here’s the exciting part – they are cheaper than just about every other provider when you opt for a 1-year subscription.
VyprVPN – Full Review
VyprVPN is great for iPhone users because they offer a completely free trial of their service. This will give you plenty of time to test out their VPN tunnel on your iPhone without having to worry about the time constraints of a money back guarantee. Though they don’t have as many global connection options as Pure VPN, they do a great job of placing servers around the globe in most of the major regions – and they have more than adequate server capacity. 700+ servers in 50 countries will give you all the flexibility you need to unblock content and find servers that are geographically close. They aren’t the most expensive provider, but they are a little higher than the average service.
Setting iPhone 6 Settings to Maximize Security and Privacy
As mentioned earlier, the iPhone 6 has some default features that crush your privacy and Internet security. The same can be said for Mac computers and Spotlight searches being saved. Most users would prefer to share as little information as possible with corporations, so let’s take a look at some settings you can configure to share as little information as possible with third parties and enhance your phone’s security.
The first thing you are going to want to do is to increase the password to 6 digits instead of four. It may sound like an insignificant configuration, but people can easily tilt your phone in the light to see oil left on the screen by your fingers and then deduce your password. By expanding the password digits to 6, it will make it exponentially harder for them to guess your password. Simply open Settings, Touch ID& Passcode, and then select Options. You can, and should, also configure alphanumeric characters in your password to make it extremely difficult for people to break into your phone.
Disabling Tracking Feature
One thing that frightens a lot of iPhone users is tracking data, which shares information with servers regarding your geographic location by using the GPS system in your phone. To disable this incredibly invasive setting, simply open Settings, Privacy, Location Services, System Services, and then Frequent Locations. Make sure this setting is set to ‘off’ and that you clear your history.
Apps that Share Your Data
Believe it or not, there are a myriad apps that share personal information with other applications and servers, but this is highly undesirable. Most often you have to agree to this setting when you install a new application, but you can selectively disable this feature on a per-app basis. You can find these settings by opening Settings, Privacy, and then manually configure what type of data each application can access and share.
Physical Location Tracking
Yet another invasive feature of the iPhone 6 is the ability of apps to track your physical location to send you highly targeted local advertising among other features – regardless of whether or not you are running the app. To kill these background processes, you will need to disable this feature on a per-app basis the same as the last setting.
Theft and Recovery
One of the more brilliant features of the iPhone 6 is the ability to send GPS coordinates of its last known location in the event that it is stolen. You should verify you have enabled this feature by browsing to Settings, iCloud, and Find My iPhone. There is an optional setting that you would likely want to enable as well that is labeled ‘Send Last Location.’ Basically, this will send the phones GPS coordinates right before its power runs out, and it can truly be a life saver.
These days it is common to cache payment information in our phones so we can easily make purchases on ecommerce sites like Amazon. But if a child or stranger gets ahold of your phone, you could be in for a world of hurt. When you make your next purchase, you should see a prompt that is labeled ‘Always Require Authentication,’ and you need to do your due diligence to make sure this feature is enabled.
Boost the Strength of Your Wi-Fi Password
You can use your phone as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, but you need to make sure that you set a wireless password and that the wireless password is strong. Don’t make the mistake of making your password ‘ABCDEFG’ or ‘123456’ because people will be able to steal your Internet and attack your phone.
Ad Tracking Data and Location Services
Many advertisements use incredibly sophisticated features to target you based on your physical location. Ads are incredibly annoying, but using your location to send you advertisements is just going a step too far. It’s no one’s business where you are or what you are doing, much less advertising companies. Make sure you browse to Settings, Privacy, Location Services, System Services and disable the ad tracking feature.