With high-profile data breaches making headlines regularly, you may be asking what you can do to protect your data.
As it turns out, the answer is quite a bit. We’ve already talked about how to keep your Facebook, Google, and other accounts safe. It’s now Apple’s turn.
If you’re an Apple lover, you’re likely to have an iCloud account and many devices containing your data. Here’s how to keep that information as safe as possible.
BASICS OF APPLE SECURITY
You should erect formidable barricades at all entrances to your Apple universe.
That means a long, unique password on your MacBook, a long PIN on your iPhone, and a long, unique iCloud password.
To make passwords as tough to crack as feasible, they should include a combination of lowercase and capital letters, as well as special characters and digits.
(And no, “Passw0rd!” isn’t sufficient.) Don’t use your address, birthday, or pet’s name as passwords; a clever attacker could use this information to get past your protection.
Finally, don’t use the same password for your Mac and your iCloud account. That way, even if one of them cracks, the other is still protected.
Using common sense is one of your strongest defenses. Rather than using a sophisticated brute force assault, hackers frequently use deception to get victims to divulge their login credentials.
Be wary of links in emails and social media that prompt you to enter with your Apple ID credentials right away.
Apple is your best buddy when it comes to Apple device security.
Apple continues to prioritize security (though this isn’t an excuse to relax), so macOS, iOS, and iPadOS all encrypt data by default.
This implies that without the correct password or PIN, nothing can be retrieved from your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook.
AUTHENTICATION WITH TWO FACTORS
Two-factor authentication helps improve the security of Apple accounts (TFA).
This feature is available for most major online accounts, and it means that in addition to your username and password, you’ll need to enter an additional code to access your account.
Attempting to log in using Apple’s two-factor authentication will result in a message being sent to your phone number or a code being shown on another device associated with your Apple ID.
If you’re setting up a new iPhone, for example, the code will appear on your existing MacBook.
To enable two-factor authentication on iOS or iPadOS, go to Settings, tap your name at the top of the first screen, then Password & Security, then two-factor authentication.
Go to the Apple menu, select System Preferences, and then click Apple ID. Under your name, click Password & Security, and then turn on the option from that screen.
Once you’ve logged in with your Apple ID, password, and TFA code on a device, that device will be tagged as trusted, and you won’t have to use TFA again.
To avoid unauthorized access, you must use passwords, PIN codes, and other forms of security on your computers and phones.
IN YOUR WEB BROWSER, MANAGE APPLE SECURITY
Open your Apple ID account page in a web browser to configure the various aspects of your security configuration.
Make sure your registered email addresses and trusted phone numbers are current and safe, in case you lose access to your account.
The iPhones, iPads, and PCs associated with your account are listed under the Devices heading.
Take advantage of this opportunity to get rid of any devices you don’t use or don’t recognize.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on this list frequently in case your account has been hacked or you’ve logged in somewhere you shouldn’t be.
The iCloud suite of web apps and services may be accessed through any web browser on any device.
If you’re using a shared computer or a public computer, just remember to sign out when you’re done.
Some browsers will ask if you want them to remember your password. On your personal computer,
you can allow this, but make sure that something else prevents a visitor from accessing the browser.
Set up a user account password to gain access to the operating system, for example.
If you go to Settings on iCloud.com, you’ll find the same Apple ID account page we looked at before,
where you can see a list of all the devices associated with your Apple ID. There is an option to sign out of all browsers at the bottom of the page.
To be sure no one else is utilizing iCloud with any other web browser than the one you’re using, click this.
ADDITIONAL SECURITY ADVICE
Apple’s app stores for iOS, iPad, and macOS do an excellent job of keeping you secure from malicious malware and viruses.
You shouldn’t have to install anything other than the iOS App Store on your phone or tablet.
On your computer, though, you may need to leave the confines of the macOS App Store from time to time.
If you do, double-check any program you install by reading user reviews and web write-ups.
When it comes to security, it’s always better to hope for the best while preparing for the worst.
So, now is the time to think about what you’ll do if, despite your best efforts, your devices are compromised.
Turning on your phone’s Find My function is a good idea (tap your name in Settings to find it).
If your iPhone or iPad slips into the wrong hands, you’ll be able to track it down and remotely delete it from the internet.
A similar option is available for Macs, which can be found under Security & Privacy in System Preferences.
It will locate your Mac machine and allow you to remotely lock or wipe it.
If you’ve just misplaced your gadgets within your home, you can use this feature to make them play a sound.
Meanwhile, if you’ve gone all-in on Apple products and purchased an Apple Watch, you can use it to unlock macOS, saving you the hassle of putting in a password every time.
To enable the functionality, go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, then turn on the option to Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.