The iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 updates include a number of privacy and security improvements that make your devices more secure than ever, with Apple restricting access to photos and calendar events and further reducing how websites web track you on the web.
Private browsing updates in Safari
In Safari, private browsing windows are now locked down and require secondary authentication to unlock and access them. If you give your phone to someone who tries to open Safari’s private browsing tab, access will be denied without a Face ID/Touch ID scan or passcode.
The Private tab is automatically locked.
Removal of tracking URL
Opening a URL in a private browsing window automatically removes any tracking information added to the URL, plus unknown trackers are completely blocked so companies aren’t able to track your browsing across multiple sites.
URLs can also be removed while browsing in non-private browsing mode if the feature is enabled. Here’s how to remove URL-based tracking for all browser windows:
- Open the Settings app.
- Scroll down to Safari.
- Tap Advanced.
- Tap Advanced tracking and fingerprint protection.
- Turn on “All Browsing”.
Enabling this option will ensure that all URLs opened in Safari will strip away additional tracking information pasted at the end of a URL.
With iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma, you can securely share passwords and passkeys with friends and family using a new shared password feature. Using this feature, you can give multiple people passwords for shared media accounts, utilities, bills, and more.
Each person can access, add, and change shared passwords, with setup available by going to the Passwords section of the Settings app and choosing “Get Started” under the “Family Passwords” heading.
Access code reset
If you change the passcode on your iPhone and then accidentally forget the new passcode you chose, you now have a 72-hour grace period to fix it without being locked out of your device.
Apple lets you use your old passcode within 72 hours of setting a new one, which is handy if you’re someone who is likely to forget a newly created passcode.
When you enter an incorrect passcode after making a change, you can tap “Forgot passcode?” option at the bottom of the display to use the “Try to reset your passcode” option. By tapping it you can use your old passcode to create another new passcode.
For protection in case someone learned your passcode, there’s an “Old Passcode Expires Now” setting you can turn on.
Access to the photo library
Apple is tightening access to your photo library in iOS 17 and apps need to ask for permission to access your entire photo library. Apps are only given limited access unless you give them permission to see your entire library, which keeps your images private.
You can grant apps the following access:
- Restricted Access: Apps can only see images you can select, and you can review selected images anytime in the app or by going to Settings > Privacy & Security > Photos.
- Full Access: Apps can see all the pictures and videos in your Photo Library, and your device will tell you exactly how many photos and videos you’re giving access to.
- None: No access to the Photo Library.
- Add Photos Only: The app can add images to your library, but not display them. This setting is app dependent and not available for all apps.
If you open the Settings app and then go to the Privacy & Security section and choose Photos, you can see the Photos charm that all apps have access to. You can change the settings from here, and it’s a good idea to look through the list to see exactly which apps can see your images. You can also choose to remove information such as location and caption and change the format of the photo.
Downloading a new app that requires access to your photo library will display options to grant limited or full access. In the past, apps had the option to ask for general photo library access only, which gave them the entire library, rather than just chosen images. There’s a lot more control over what apps can see in terms of photos in iOS 17.
Your iPhone will also periodically remind you to restrict image access to apps, by telling you how many images an app can see.
Apps can add an event to the Calendar app without being able to view the calendar via the “Add events only” option.
Calendar access can be managed by going to Settings > Privacy & Security > Calendars. You can give apps Full Access, choose Add Events Only, or use the None option to revoke access. This section of the Settings app also tells you how many calendars you have and how many accounts you’re logged into.
Apps that have full access to your calendar can see your location, invitees, attachments and notes, according to Apple.
iOS 17 automatically assigns a passkey to an Apple ID, which is a more secure password alternative. With a passkey, users can sign in to an Apple ID with Face ID or Touch ID instead of their password, with the feature available on icloud.com, appleid.apple.com, and other Apple websites.
Passkeys use a pair of keys, one public and registered on the website or app, and one private, kept only on the device. There is no way for a third party to intercept and access a passkey, so a passkey cannot be stolen.
With iOS 17, macOS Sonoma and iPadOS 17, when you log into an Apple website, you will use biometric authentication instead of your password. Passkeys will eventually be adopted by many sites, replacing passwords.
Home activity history
The Home app now includes up to 30 days of activity history, so you can see who accessed your locks, garage doors, contact sensors and alarm sensors and when.
to know more
Learn more about all the new features in the iOS 17 update in our iOS 17 roundup.
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