How to manage Privacy settings on iPhone and iPad

Update March, 2017: Added information about changes to diagnostic data options in iOS 10.3. Also added sections for opting out of targeted ads and viewing how Apple advertises to you.

Your iPhone and iPad Privacy settings let you control which apps have permission to access various built-in features, like your location, contacts, calendars, photos, microphone, camera, health data, and more. You can choose to allow or deny any request for access to any service, and even change your mind and enable or disable them at any time.

You can also choose whether or not to send diagnostic and usage data to Apple and whether or not your usage is tracked so that advertising can be tailored to what you view online.

How to turn off location services on iPhone and iPad

Don't want your iPhone or the internet to know where you are? No problem! Turn off your location services.

  1. Launch the Settings app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap Location Services.
  4. Tap the switch next to Location Services to turn them off.

Now apps won't be able to use your location for advertising or tagging purposes.

In this same section, you can also choose when apps get to use your location by tapping the app and selecting Never or While Using.

"While Using" means an app can only get your location while the app is open and being displayed on the screen. As soon as you switch to another app, the access gets cut off.

How to manage app permissions on iPhone and iPad

Sometimes apps can access other apps, like Google Maps may want to access your microphone so that you can just speak directions. You get to decide which apps can access other apps so that you're always keeping your information safe.

  1. Launch the Settings app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap an app to view which apps can access it.
  4. Tap the switch next to each app to allow or deny access.

If you deny access to some apps, they may end up functioning a bit differently or just requesting permission to access another app every time you perform a particular action.

How to manage Analytics on iPhone and iPad in iOS 10.3

In iOS 10.3, Diagnostics & Usage has become Analytics, and you have several additional options compared to the older control panel.

  1. Launch Settings on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Scroll down and tap Privacy.
  3. Scroll down and tap Analytics.

  1. Flip the Share iPhone & Watch Analytics switch on if you want to share analytic data from your phone and watch with Apple.
  2. Flip the Share with App Developers switch on if you want to share app data with developers.
  3. Flip the Share iCloud Analytics switch on if you want to share usage data from your iCloud account with Apple.

  1. Flip the Improve Activity switch on if you want to send health and fitness usage data to Apple.
  2. Flip the Improve Wheelchair Mode switch on if you want to send data on your wheelchair activity and workouts to Apple.

How to manage Diagnostics and Usage reports on iPhone and iPad in iOS 10.2.1 or earlier

When your an app or your iPhone or iPad crashes, that data can be sent to Apple anonymously so the company, and developers if you allow it can figure out what went wrong and fix it.

  1. Launch the Settings app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap Diagnostics & Usage near the bottom.

  1. Tap Don't Send to stop sending reports to Apple.
  2. Tap the switch next to Share With App Developers if you'd like to share diagnostic information with developers.

How to disable ad tracking on iPhone and iPad

Apple can see what you search for on your iPhone or iPad and may use that information to tailor the ads you see in apps to your browsing habits. If that doesn't sit well with you, you can turn it off.

  1. Launch the Settings app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap Advertising at the bottom.
  4. Tap the switch next to Limit Ad Tracking to do just that.

Now app developers will only be able to use your app data for limited advertising purposes.

How to opt out receiving targeted advertisements

You can opt out of targeted advertising by resetting your Advertising Identifier.

  1. Launch Settings on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Scroll down and tap Privacy.

  1. Scroll down and tap Advertising.
  2. Tap Reset Advertising Identifier...

How to see how Apple advertises to you

If you do allow targeted ads, you can see what information Apple uses in order to deliver more relevant ads to you.

  1. Launch Settings on your iPhone or iPad
  2. Scroll down and tap Privacy.

  1. Scroll down and tap Advertising.
  2. Tap View Ad Information. Apple will then display a page showing how it delivers more relevant ads to you.

If you've opted to limit ad tracking, you'll receive the following message on the page:

You have opted out from interest-based targeting in Apple News and the App Store. Information about your device's connectivity, time setting, type, language, and location (if the Location-Based Apple Ads system service is on) may be used to deliver ads.

Questions?

If you have any questions about managing privacy settings on your iPhone or iPad, let us know down in the comments.

Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.

1 Comment
  • Too bad the Photos app still collects biometric data of everyone seen in photos. I've always wondered how is it legal and why Apple hasn't been sued for this? Basically it's the same as if I were to store fingerprints on my phone of everyone whom I've taken picture of without them ever knowing and without giving them any choice.
    It should be possible to switch off such "features" (to me they seem more like violations) as well.