The iOS 14 Privacy and Security Features You Should Know

By David Nield

iOS 14 includes a couple of new ways that you can give apps certain permissions, but only up to a point. The idea is that there are some apps you trust a bit more than others in terms of looking at your photos or tracking where you are.

If you open Settings in iOS 14 and then choose Privacy and Location Services, you can tap on an app to configure how it can access your phone's location: never, always, only when the app is open, or only when you give explicit permission. There's also a new Precise Location toggle switch, which you can turn off when you're fine if an app knows the general area you're in, but want to keep exact GPS coordinates hidden.

From the same Privacy menu, tap Photos and you get a list of apps with access to the pictures and videos stored on your iPhone. Choose an app and then change the option to Selected Photos if you only want the app to have access to a smaller subset of your files.

Sniff Out Bad Passwords

Apple has been able to sync the passwords and other login credentials for your various accounts across all of your Apple hardware via iCloud for a while now; this applies to macOS as well as iOS. To see what Apple has stored in the cloud from your iPhone, choose Passwords from Settings.

New in iOS 14 as well as macOS is a password monitoring system. This will alert you if any of your credentials are spotted in a data breach, which means access to your accounts could be compromised.

From the top of the Passwords screen, tap Security Recommendations. You'll see passwords that iOS thinks are problematic, either because of a data breach, or it's too easy to guess, or you've used it elsewhere. Follow any of the Change Password links to pick something new.

Discourage Wi-Fi Tracking

iOS 14 can make it harder for your device to be tracked across Wi-Fi networks.

Screenshot: David Nield via Apple

One small but potentially significant change to Wi-Fi security in iOS 14 is the Use Private Address feature that you'll notice if you open up the Wi-Fi menu from Settings, and then tap the blue info button on the right of the network that you're connected to.

Whenever a device connects to the web, it gets what's called a MAC (media access control) address so the local network can keep track of it. With a bit of clever monitoring, internet service providers—and from there, advertisers—can also use it to work out where your device logs on and when.