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8 Privacy Features iOS 14 Users Need to Know


Apple has long provided ways to manage and control your privacy on an iPhone or iPad, but iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 add even more features designed to keep you safe and secure. Here’s how to use them.

Update to iOS 14/iPadOS 14

First, you must update your iPhone or iPad to the latest OS version. Go to . You’ll be told your software is up to date or you’ll be prompted to install the latest update.


Tracking Permissions for App Developers

App developers can track you as you use certain apps and websites with the intention of sending you targeted ads. As one way to control which apps can and cannot track your actions, you can enable a setting that will prompt you if an app wants to track you. Of course, apps that don’t ask for your permission may still track you, but at least this setting gives you a fighting chance. 

tracking permissions settings

To set this, go to and turn it on. Here, you can also tap to get additional information on how tracking works.


Sharing Approximate Location

You may want or even need to share your location to use certain types of apps, but maybe you’re wary of sharing your specific location. If an app asks to use your location, you can now opt to share just the approximate one. You can also manually set this up for each individual app. 

location sharing settings

Go to . Make sure Location Services is turned On, then swipe down to the list of apps. Tap a specific app to share your location either While Using or Always. At the next screen, turn off the switch for Precise Location, and the app will now use only your approximate location.


Access to Your Local Network

Certain apps will request local network access the first time you launch them after the update. Some apps may need such access to communicate with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi devices, but most should not. If you launch such an app, a message appears saying that the app would like to find and connect to devices on your local network. To deny the access, tap Don’t Allow. 

local network privacy settings

You can also enable or disable this for each specific app. Go to and turn the switch on for an app to allow this access; turn it off to disallow access.


Detect Camera or Microphone Access

Some apps will try to use your camera or microphone for certain reasons even when they don’t need that access. Before it was sometimes difficult to tell which apps were accessing what phone features, but now iOS can tell you when your camera or mic are being used. 

camera and microphone access indicator

A green dot appears at the top of the screen when the camera is activated; an amber dot appears when the microphone is on. You can then judge for yourself if you think your current app needs that type of access.


Limit Photo Access

Certain 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 now limit access to just specific photos. 

photo access settings

If you receive such a request when launching an app, tap the option for Select Photos. At your photo library, tap the photos to which you want to grant access, then tap Done. To set this up for all apps, go to . Select an app, change the setting to Selected Photos, and then select the photos that the app can access.


Clipboard Access Notification

Many malicious apps like to snoop around at what you do on your phone. One tactic they use is to monitor and capture the information you copy and paste via your device’s clipboard. One new feature is a notification that pops up whenever you paste something via your clipboard. 

clipboard access notification

The notification identifies the apps or other sources used in both the copy and paste. This security feature is automatically enabled, so there’s nothing you need to do. But the next time you copy and paste content, look for the notification at the top of the screen.


Detect Problematic Passwords

Using a strong and unique password for every app and website account is a challenging task, but every weak password you use and reuse across the board exposes you to security risks. You can now see which of your passwords are potentially vulnerable, either because they’re too simple or because they’re used with more than one app or site. 

security recommendations settings

To check this, go to . Make sure the switch is turned on for Detect Compromised Passwords. The screen will then indicate any risky passwords that you should change.


Safari’s Privacy Report

Safari tries to prevent cross-site trackers from following you. To confirm this, go to . Scroll down to the section for Privacy & Security and make sure the switch is turned on for Prevent Cross-Site Tracking. 

safari privacy report

Now you can open Safari and begin using the browser like normal. Tap the AA icon in the address field and select Privacy Report. The report tells you the number of trackers prevented from profiling you and the percentage of websites that contacted trackers. Swipe down the screen to see how many trackers were stopped for each site. Tap the heading for Trackers to see the names of the actual trackers that were blocked.

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