Run, Don’t Walk, to Install iOS 14

Its said that running a mile adds 7 minutes to your life, but what if it takes you 16 minutes to run a miles? — Photo by Alexander Redl on Unsplash

I’ll admit, I kinda do a stupid thing with my iPhone. Every June, when Apple holds their big developer conference, I install what is known as a beta version of their new iPhone operating system. Betas are early versions of the software that are not quite ready for consumers — and I’ve found that out the hard way before. Some years apps I rely on would crash immediately, other times the phone would get insanely hot, or the battery would run out in less time than a 1990s Disney straight-to-VHS sequel’s runtime.

I mean, come on. Whats with this order? Thats not how numbers work.

But I kept doing it. Mainly because I wanted all of the cool new features first, but also because I wanted to know and understand how they worked. How these new aspects of the software could help my friends and coworkers not only be safer, but get things done.

Another downside of this approach is that by the time the new software rolls out to everyone else in September, I’ve forgotten what some of the new features are and need to refresh myself on them. While there are TONs of new features, lets focus on the privacy and security based ones in this article:

Recording Indicators

You know that ongoing joke that we all make about how Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Amazon are all secretly listening into our lives and serving up ads to us? That joke we all laugh at but all truly believe its actively happening? Well if you have an iPhone or iPad running iOS 14, you’ll actually be able to see when an app is listening or recording, and see who was recently doing so.

My camera telling me to back up as though I have a slight cough and am not wearing a mask

If you give an app permission to use your camera, you’ll see a green dot appear in top right hand order of the screen while the camera is in use.

If you’ve given an app permission to use your microphone, you’ll see an orange dot while its being used.

If you happened to see one of the dots, but don’t remember starting an app that uses it, you can swipe down for Control Center and it will tell you which app recently used the microphone or camera.

Approximate Location

Thanks to the iPhone’s use of GPS and cell tower triangulation, location services has gotten very specific. When you’ve allowed an application to know your location, they can often see exactly where you are (which is handy for a ride sharing application like Lyft so that the drive can pull right up in front of you). But the thing is, not every application needs hyper accurate location data for you, and given the option, most of us don’t want to give it. Now with iOS 14, we don’t have it. There will be a new option when you are asked to share your location, and with it, you can share your approximate location, instead of your precise location.

Now you can share that you’re in a certain city, without sharing that you’re at Lowes for the third time today because you refuse to measure the amount of ground you need to cover with sod and keep guessing poorly.

Fine Grained Media Sharing

In the article prior to this, iOS 14 Will Help Prevent Oversharing, I shared about this feature that allows you to limit which specific photos and videos each application has to your device.

While this popup can get annoying each time it appears, I appreciate the heck out of it. Now, instead of Instagram being able to see every photo in your library (from your memes to your hundred of dog photos, to more intimate photos), they can be limited to just seeing the handful of photos you want them to see. Yes you can give them full access to everything still, but for those of us who would prefer not to, this is a welcome addition.

Safari Privacy and Security

The amount of new features in Safari is quite staggering, and it might get boring to try and cover them all since most of them will be transparent to the user (they just work without your knowledge), but here are a few of them:

Privacy Report

Its very unsettling to look at this, but the majority of websites you visit track you. This is how the advertising companies actually spy on you to better serve you ads. By placing little breadcrumbs called cookies, attached to your profile, Google and Facebook (among others) follow you all over the web, every site you go to, to track what you’re into. What you research. What you shop for. Every time you read a review, they know. Every time you add something to your cart, they know. They in turn use this data to them serve you hyper-focused ads, designed just for people like you, to try and push you over the edge to click that buy button. But with iOS 14, Apple is not only actively blocking these trackers, but they are telling you about it through their Privacy Report in Safari. Facebook, for one, is extremely unhappy about this and has been making a stink about it in the news.

Password Monitoring

If you’ve been using the built in password manager that your iPhone has (those popups over the years asking you if you want your phone to remember your login), then this new feature could be a major new security feature for you. Your iPhone will now tell you if the login you use on a website has been compromised by a data breach (you know those news reports that seem to happen multiple times a week saying how some company didn’t secure their systems well enough and now your information has been leaked to the world), or if you’ve used that same login in multiple places. If you stay on top of reacting when you see these warnings, you can protect your finances and private information before the damage can spread.

Open Settings, click Passwords, then Security Recommendations

Don’t let that number scare you, because not every site, password, and breach is as important as all the rest. Go through the list and check on your banking and email sites first to make sure that the password for each is unique and fresh, in the case of a data breach. The detail of each listing will have a link to the website for you to change your login, which your phone will then offer to store for you. Remember, the best time to prepare for a data breach is before it happens, then next best time is now.

iOS 14 is Out Today!

These are just a few of the new security and privacy focused features of iOS 14, but they are the big ones. Other stuff like Sign In with Apple, may help cut down on the amount of spam you get, and the privacy report in the App Store will help you decide if you want to trust an application. In addition to all of these security features, iOS 14 has loads of new and fun features that you’ll be using on a daily basis. I highly encourage you to upgrade any Apple device you have that supports it, today. iOS 14 is supported by the following devices:

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st generation)
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad (8th generation)
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (4th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

Stay safe out there.

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Looking to share thoughts and strategies on living a more secure and private life in today’s digital world.

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Nickk Shepard

Nickk Shepard

Looking to share thoughts and strategies on living a more secure and private life in today’s digital world.

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