Five iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 security and privacy features you need to know about

iOS 14 is out, and if you’re brave enough to install it you will be getting some new security and privacy features. Some are visible, others are buried in the operating system.

Let’s go on a quick tour of five new settings and features you need to know about.

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Camera and microphone access

Every time an app access your camera or microphone, a dot appears above the signal strength meter. A green dot for when the camera is accessed (similar to the green LED that lights up on Macs when the camera is on), and an orange dot for microphone access.

Camera access notification

Camera access notification

Also, if you access Control Center, there’s a notice at the top showing you recent apps that have accessed the camera or microphone.

This is automatic and there’s no user-input required and no way to turn it off.

Copy/paste notification

When data is copied and pasted a notification is shown on screen in the form of a popup. A simple yet effective way to know if apps are snooping on your clipboard.

This is automatic and there’s no user-input required and no way to turn it off.

Don’t let apps get your precise location

Now you have the option to allow apps access to your general location, but not your precise location. It’s nice to have the choice to use location data without giving a pinpoint location.

To access this setting go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and then check the settings for the apps that have access to your location.

Apps requesting local network access

Another thing that you’ll see after installing iOS 14/iPadOS 14 is apps requesting local network access. Some apps need this — they may be used to control Bluetooth or WiFi gadgets — but why other apps need it is somewhat hazy.

You get the choice.

And if you change your mind, you can head over to Settings > Privacy > Local Network and change your mind.

Put a stop to Wi-Fi tracking

iOS 14/1PadOS 14 can supply a random “private” MAC address when you join or reconnect to a Wi-Fi network. This can help prevent you being tracked when using network connections.

This feature is on by default and you can find it by going Settings > Wi-Fi and then click on the “i” in a circle next to the network.

Note that while this works fine on most networks, it can cause issues. For example, some smart networks are designed to send out a notification when a new device connects. It can also mess with parental controls or corporate/enterprise networks where permissions are assigned based on MAC address (it not recommended to use MAC address for authentication, but it happens).

If you have problems on certain  Wi-Fi networks, you may have to turn this feature off.

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