Make us your home page

Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sticking with your old iPhone? iOS 7 even makes that more secure



A lot of what was written about iOS 7 before it was released had to do with crime prevention — making your iPhone less attractive by making it almost useless to thieves. A lot of the security talk lately has focused on the new iPhone 5s and its fingerprint sensor, but even older model phones are a lot more secure with the new software.

Macworld has a great roundup of the new security features. Here are the highlights:

  1. Find my iPhone authentication. Long a feature of iOS, it now requires your AppleID password before it can be disabled. Turn on Find My iPhone at Settings ► iCLoud.
  2. Activation lock. Thieves used to resell stolen iPhones, iPods and iPads by resetting them to their factory defaults, making them forget the AppleID account to which they'd been connected. That's no longer possible.
  3. Erase authentication. iOS now requires authentication to wipe a device clean of tracking or monitoring software. (This time, authentication is based on your device passcode, though, instead of your AppleID password — make sure you have one enabled at Settings ► Passcode Lock.)
  4. Added privacy settings. You can now manage which apps are allowed to access your location, contacts, calendars, reminders, photos and more with simple on/off switches at Settings ► Privacy.
  5. Expanded data encryption. Your data is encrypted in both iOS itself and in third-party apps. The encryption is keyed to your device passcode again, though, so again — make sure you have one enabled.
  6. Per-app VPN. If you don't know what VPN is, this feature probably won't be much use to you. But if you use VPN to create a secure connection with, say, your company network, you can now configure apps that support this feature so they can only access that connection at launch — and no personal information not specific to the app in question can be sent over that connection.
  7. iCloud Keychain. Originally included in early test versions of iOS 7, this feature is now listed as "coming soon" — but it will allow you to store your contact information, usernames, passwords and credit card information securely, syncing it across all your iOS gadgets and Mac OS X computers. Your information is protected with 256-bit AES encryption, making it at least as secure — and possibly much more secure — than anything you're currently storing on your phone.

Get a complete discussion of these new features in the full article: "The 7 best crime-fighting features of iOS 7," Macworld, Oct. 2, 2013.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 3:21pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours