How To Manage Privacy Settings On Your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch In iOS 6

BY Jason

Published 2 Oct 2012

iOS 6

Back in February, privacy issues were raised in iOS after a blogger discovered that apps such as Path, Twitter etc upload the address book to their servers.

Apple has added a host of new Privacy settings in iOS 6 that was released couple of weeks back, which should address some of those concerns. We take a look at how you can manage privacy settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch in iOS 6.

The new privacy settings are now accessible just below “Brightness & Wallpaper” in the Settings app.

The Privacy settings are broken down into the following sections:

  • Location Services
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Reminders
  • Photos
  • Bluetooth Sharing
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos:

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.

Location Services:

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).

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. Check out tips to manage iPhone’s battery life.

Bluetooth Sharing:

In this section, apps that have requested the ability to share data via Bluetooth will appear here. Apple says these apps can share data even when you’re not using them. But it is not clear what kind of apps will have the ability to share data via Bluetooth.

Twitter, Facebook:

These sections will display the list of apps that have requested access to your Twitter and Facebook account.

Limit Ad Tracking:

This new setting is not under Privacy settings, but is hidden in the About Section (Settings -> General -> About -> Advertising). In iOS 6, 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 via Settings -> General -> About -> Advertising -> Limit Ad tracking, which will prevent apps from using the new advertising identifier to serve you targeted ads. Apple

The new privacy settings should give users better visibility and control on what apps can access on your iOS device. 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 optimize the settings based on your usage.

Has privacy been a concern for you? What do you think of the new privacy settin’s in iOS 6?