Take Control of your Privacy Settings

Monitor your Privacy on your iPad

privacy on ipad

Keep control of your privacy by monitoring what actions your iPad can and cannot perform. There’re many ways to control the privacy of your data. Apple now allows users to control which apps have access to what kind of data on their tablets, giving you a new level of safety, and peace of mind for all those times you’re not exactly sure weather an app is using information or not. If you blindly say “Yes” or “No” when an app requests for access to information, it may be a good idea to review the privacy settings every month and optimise the settings based on your usage.

You can find Privacy in the Settings App.  Settings, Privacy.  The Privacy settings are broken down into the following sections: Location Services, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos, Bluetooth Sharing, Twitter and Facebook. Navigating to each section gives you the list of apps that have requested access to Contacts, Calendars, Reminders and Photos on your iOS device. You can enable or disable access via the On/Off toggle.

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1.  Location Services:  This uses GPS along with crowd sourced WiFi hotspots and mobile phone towers to determine your approximate location. Many apps use your location to function and work efficiently. For example, if you deny access to your location for the App, Google Maps, it can never locate you and give you accurate destinations or traffic information. Pressing the home button will take you to somewhere in America. Be sensible about which apps to which you deny permission. If you turn off Location Services, most of your apps will be next to useless. Look at the list of apps you have granted permission to use your location and think, very carefully, about whether you turn them off.

The app, Dictation and Epson iPrint have been denied permission to use your location. you can always grant permission at a later date. Just slide the button to ON>

The app, Dictation and Epson iPrint have been denied permission to use your location. you can always grant permission at a later date. Just slide the button to ON>

 

2.  Permission for Apps to access your location: Here, you can grant permission to apps that want access to your Camera roll, the microphone, Contacts etc. Tap Photos to see what apps have access to your Camera roll. So for example, the App: Pixlr Express needs access to your Camera roll to use the photos in it. If you want to edit a photo from your Camera Roll in Pixlr Express, then  you need to grant permission to use the Camera roll. Denying permission to some apps makes sense. Why does the Epson printer require access to Photos? Think about it.... If you want to print a photo from your iPad via the Epson app, then the Epson app will need access to your Camera Roll. But other apps do not.

However, remember that location data can also be used in ways you might not expect. For example, the Camera app can use it to tag photos and videos with their exact location (known as geotagging). If you then post a photo publicly online, you're also sharing the location data for that photo. While it can be useful, you may not feel comfortable sharing your location data in all of these situations. Fortunately, you can turn off Location Services for individual apps or for all of your apps. 

Grant access by sliding the toggle button to ON

Grant access by sliding the toggle button to ON

3.  Allow apps permission to access your social accounts: If you want to share a photo to your Facebook account, for example, then you need to grant that App access to your Facebook account.

Location Services icons

At the bottom of the apps granted permission to use you location, you'll see the System Services setting and the explanation of what that the little arrow icons mean.

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This section will display the list of apps that have requested your location. You can also find out which app has used location services recently or in the last 24 hours with the help of the location services icon.

  • A purple location services icon will appear next to an item that has recently used location services.
  • A gray location services icon will appear next to an item that has used your location within the last 24 hours.
  • An outlined location services icon will appear next to an item that is using a geofence (like the Reminders app).

Learn this screen and understand the meanings of the three little arrow icons. Then notice when they appear in the top right of your iOS menu bar and come back to Settings > Privacy > Location Services to see which apps are using your location data. Audit this screen frequently to disable location access for apps that don't need it. 

 

System Services Settings

Under Location services, you also have the option to enable or disable location services for System services such as Cell Network Search, Compass Calibration, Diagnostics & Usage, Genius for Apps etc. It may be prudent to disable Location services  (Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services) for apps and system services, which you think can be used without tracking your location to conserve battery life.

I recommend turning off: Location based iAds and Diagnostics and Usage. Turn on: Status Bar Icon and you will see anytime an app is using your location.

I recommend turning off: Location based iAds and Diagnostics and Usage.

Turn on: Status Bar Icon and you will see anytime an app is using your location.


Diagnostics & Usage

This setting monitors everything you do on your iPad and "anonymously" sends it to Apple for "improving iOS." Whatever. It's just like when all the major software companies changed their install screens from "send usage data?" to "customer experience program" or some such nonsense. If you leave the "Diagnostics & Usage" option on, you're giving Apple permission to monitor and record everything you do on your device.

Location-Based iAds

iAds created it's own privacy uproar in June 2010 when a 45-page update to Apple’s privacy policy which detailed how your location information could be used to allow the company – and their "partners and licensees" – to "collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device." The privacy policy has been toned down quite a bit since then and Apple posted a knowledge base article titled "How to opt out of interest-based ads from the iAd network." I turn this off and am happy with "less relevant" ads being shown.


Advertising

Next navigate to the iOS Advertising Privacy settings (Settings > Privacy > Advertising)

Here, you should do three things:

  1. Turn ON "Limit Ad Tracking"
  2.  Touch "Reset Advertising Identifier"  
  3. Touch "Learn More" and learn about what an "Advertising Identifier" is.
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 Apple has introduced a new advertising identifier, a non-permanent, non-personal device identifier that Apple says can be used by apps to give you more control over advertisers ability to use tracking methods. It’s an alternative for UDID. Apple had depreciated the ability of third party developers and ad networks to obtain the UUID (universally unique device identifiers), which was used to perform sophisticated tracking of devices (web cookies, unlike UUIDs, can’t track a specific computer, and can be deleted by the user). You can now choose to limit ad tracking  which will prevent apps from using the new advertising identifier to serve you targeted ads.

Keep control of your privacy by monitoring what actions your iPad can and cannot perform. This video shows you the ways to control the privacy of your data.