Just upgraded your iPhone to iOS13, the latest version of the venerable smartphone beloved by millions? Great move. Lots of improvements and changes to fall in love with. But it’s also time to double check some of your privacy settings too! Here are four of the most critical…
Some companies have a bad habit of resetting all your privacy preferences on updates so that you’re wide open again, sharing way more than you would prefer. Apple doesn’t do this, which is appropriate for a company that advertises its attention to information privacy, but there are still some settings you should check and ensure match your own preferences for confidentiality.
There are also a couple of new settings that add valuable features and capabilities to iOS, now on its 13th major revision. That’s a lot of updates considering that the iPhone 1 was released less than 13 years ago! [June 2007, since I know you’re going to ask ‘when was it released, Dave?’]. So let’s jump in.
Every single setting we’ll change is within the Settings app, and I’m going to make liberal use of the search feature, which you can reach by dragging downward on the main settings screen. It just pops up at the top!
SILENCE UNKNOWN CALLERS
To start out, search Settings for “unknown”. There’s a new feature:
Tap on “Silence Unknown Callers” to proceed.
As you can see, I’m chopping these screen captures to their essence for this tutorial. Your screen will have lots more empty black space than what I show above! 🙂
Oh yes, do you want to enable this. The telecom companies have all sworn they’re trying to fix the spam call problem, but meanwhile I get at least 1-2 junk calls every hour of the day, so having those never ring or vibrate is a huge win in terms of minimizing its impact on my concentration and daily life.
OPTIMIZE BATTERY CHARGING
Apple’s gotten a lot of grief from people about how it manages battery charging in iOS. iOS13 offers a way for you to tell the phone to optimize charging to get you up and rockin’ as quickly as possible. To ensure that’s enabled, search for “battery” in Settings:
This time you want to jump to “Battery”, which has a pretty interesting display:
Stuff to check out – I had no idea that Harry Potter Wizards Unite was using 24% of my battery power, for example! – but you can go back to that. For now, just tap on “Battery Health“.
It’s that last option you want to enable: Optimized Battery Charging. Got it? Great.
Let’s get back to privacy settings again. This time let’s disable having iOS13 automatically share your location with anyone to whom you’re text messaging. There’s a fancy technical name for the Geolocation GPS data being stripped out of a communication, but whatevs, let’s just fix it.
Search for “Location” in Settings. Lots of options:
Choose the “Location” option that says “Privacy” just below it. Again, an interesting display results:
You can peruse which of your apps have permission to access your location and you could drop the axe and simply disable Location Services, but… instead, I suggest you just tap on “Share My Location” to disable it…
There you go. If you’re sending text messages back and forth with someone and they need to know your location, well, you can always share your location via Messages from within the Maps app. Easy!
CLOSE SAFARI TABS
Next up isn’t a privacy issue but it’s still darn useful: Know all those tabs that you leave open forever in Safari? How they slow down your iPhone? Now you can automatically have them closed after a certain amount of inactivity!
Start by searching for “Safari” in Settings:
This isn’t the app, but its settings. Tap on it and you’ll see there are quite a few options and some new ones for iOS13 too:
I would suggest you research and consider setting just about all of these options, but the one I want to highlight that’s new is “Close Tabs“. Currently it’s set to “Manually” but you can change it! Tap on that option…
Glorious. I suggest After One Month, but if you always have tons of tabs in Safari open, well, maybe weekly would be appropriate instead.
SWITCH INTO DARK MODE AUTOMATICALLY
One more setting, just because I have instantly become enamored of how helpful it is: Dark Mode. But not just dark mode, but being able to set Dark Mode for nighttime and regular “light mode” for daytime.
Get to this setting by searching Settings for “dark”:
There ya go, tap on “Appearance” to proceed!
You can permanently switch to Dark mode (theme? design?) or back to Light mode if you want but try “Automatic” for a few days instead. By default it switches you into Light mode at sunrise and Dark mode at sunset. You can tweak that if you prefer, and don’t forget to set Night Shift while you’re here too.
There are undoubtedly dozens of other settings to check out in the new goodness that is iOS13 for your iPhone, but these will get you started ensuring that the information you want to keep private stays that way. Let me know what other settings you find must-enable/disable in the comments too!
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing iPhone help and iOS help since the iPhone 1 was released, so check out my extensive tutorial area while you’re here!