10 tips to keep your iPhone safe

In the beginning, Apple products were tall, wide and attractive to cyberattacks. Average hackers found the company's proprietary software nearly impossible to crack, and the attack surface of an Apple product was almost non-existent. But over the years, those attack surfaces got bigger, and hackers and their tools got more sophisticated. A big target for hackers has always been the iPhone because most users live their lives on that handy little device, and most keep their sensitive data stored on their Apple-branded hardware.

These days, everything is hackable, and each of us has a responsibility to take the appropriate steps to protect ourselves. Gone are the days when the default settings were good enough. (Actually, the researchers would argue that the default settings were never good enough.)

But here's the good news: it's not hard to protect our devices. Vigilance and a few security precautions can stop most of the attacks that threaten our mobile lifestyle. Follow these tips to stay safe. Here are 10 tips to save an iPhone from hacking.

10 tips to keep your iOS device safe

Keep it up to date

Keeping your iOS up to date is essential for device security. New versions of iOS are released to fix bugs, patch vulnerabilities, and address the latest threats. Hand in hand with this practice, you should also keep your apps up to date. All software on the device must be its latest version.

Set a passcode

Create a complex passcode to unlock your phone and feel free to make it longer than the standard 4 digits. You'll find the options for this in Settings > Face ID & Password > Change Password.

Consider the automatic deletion clause.

At the bottom of the Face ID and password settings is the "Clear data" option. If you enable this, your phone will automatically wipe all data on the device after 10 failed password attempts. It's a harsh measure, but it potentially saves lives. Just make sure to back up your data regularly if you go this route.

Check app permissions and keep an eye out for fake apps

In the Privacy settings, you can review the permissions you have granted to each app. Click on the permission and it will show you which apps are accessing it. Make sure they all make sense. For example, if a flashlight app requires access to your photos, that's a red flag and you should remove that app immediately.

Avoid joining Wi-Fi networks automatically

In your Wi-Fi settings, set Ask to join networks permission to "Ask". This causes your phone to ask you before joining an open network. Remember that a common criminal tactic is to set up malicious networks using names that closely resemble the legitimate area network. Whenever your device is connected to Wi-Fi, pay attention to the name of the network and make sure it's the one you want to join. If you're not sure or have a bad feeling about the location, turn off your Wi-Fi when you're away.

Install anti-phishing security

Phishing scams have gotten so clever that many people can't tell the difference between a real website and a fake website. Cybersecurity apps will detect phishing sites and alert you. Avast is launching a redesigned Avast Mobile Security and Privacy for iOS, and we're including some useful new features like Web Protection, which protects against phishing sites and other malicious URLs with real-time anti-phishing protection.

Use a VPN

Installing a VPN on your device can greatly reduce any risk associated with public Wi-Fi. Use the VPN when you are in a coffee shop or in a public place, and you will have an encrypted tunnel between you and the Internet. Cybercriminals will not be able to see you. Avast Mobile Security and Privacy for iOS comes equipped with a VPN for this very purpose.

Enable two-factor authentication.

In the password and security settings for your Apple ID and iCloud, turn on Two-Factor Authentication. This gives you an extra layer of protection in case someone tries to crack your Apple data.

Disable Siri in locked mode

Technically, anyone can do a command or get data from Siri on your device if it's enabled in locked mode. Disabling it ensures that you are the sole master of your device. You can find the control to disable Siri from locked mode in both the Siri settings and the Face ID and password settings.

Wipe your data before selling the device

Many people forget to do this. Even if you're donating your old phone to a family member, you should erase all of its content and settings. Also, remove the device from your Apple account and unpair all connected devices.

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