Privacy has become a major concern for smartphone users. Many apps and websites track your online activity, location, and personal data for advertising purposes or to sell to third parties. While this tracking can sometimes lead to more personalized experiences, it also poses risks to your privacy and security.

However, Apple has introduced several features and settings in recent iOS versions that allow you to block or limit tracking on your iPhone. By taking advantage of these options, you can take control of your data and protect your privacy.

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How Tracking Works on iPhone

Before diving into how to block tracking, it’s important to understand how tracking works on iPhone:

  • Advertising Identifier (IDFA): This is a unique identifier assigned to your device that allows advertisers to track your activity across different apps and websites. It can be used to build detailed profiles about your interests and behavior for targeted ads.
  • App Tracking Transparency: Starting with iOS 14.5, apps are required to ask for your permission before accessing your IDFA and tracking your activity across other companies’ apps and websites. You can choose to allow or block tracking for each app.
  • Location Services: Many apps request access to your iPhone’s location data, which can be used to track your physical movements and infer information about your daily habits and routines. You can control which apps have access to your location and when.
  • Other Permissions: Apps may also request access to other data on your iPhone such as your contacts, photos, microphone, and camera. Granting unnecessary permissions could allow apps to collect sensitive data.

How to Block App Tracking on iPhone

Here are the steps to block app tracking on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap on Privacy & Security
  3. Tap on Tracking
  4. Toggle off Allow Apps to Request to Track to block all apps from tracking you
  5. Alternatively, leave this setting on but toggle off permission for individual apps you don’t want tracking you

You can always change your preferences for specific apps later in this same section. Blocking app tracking may limit some personalization features but will give you more privacy.

How to Manage Location Tracking on iPhone

Location data is another way your activity can be tracked. Take control of location tracking with these tips:

  • Open the Settings app and tap Privacy & Security => Location Services
  • You’ll see a list of apps that have requested location access. Tap on each app and choose:
    • Never to block location access
    • Ask Next Time to be prompted each time the app wants your location
    • While Using the App to allow access only when you’re using the app
    • Always to allow location access at any time (not recommended for most apps)
  • Scroll down and tap System Services to control location access for built-in iOS features like Emergency Calls & SOS, Find My iPhone, and Location-Based Apple Ads
  • Consider turning off Precise Location for apps that don’t need your exact location

Read: How to Fix iOS 17.4 Battery Drain Issue

Other Ways to Limit Tracking on iPhone

In addition to blocking app tracking and managing location services, here are some other steps you can take:

  • Open Settings => Privacy & Security and review the permissions for different data types like PhotosMicrophoneContacts, etc. Revoke access for apps that don’t really need it.
  • Turn off Allow Apps to Request to Track in Settings => Privacy & Security => Tracking to stop apps from even asking permission to track you
  • Use Sign in with Apple instead of signing in with Facebook or Google when given the option – this limits the data shared with third parties
  • Enable iCloud Private Relay (if you have an iCloud+ subscription) in Settings => [your name] => iCloud => Private Relay to encrypt your web browsing and hide your IP address
  • Turn on Limit IP Address Tracking in Settings => Safari => Hide IP Address to prevent websites from tracking you based on your IP
  • Be selective about which third-party web browsers, email clients, and other apps you use, as some have better privacy practices than others

No privacy protection is 100% foolproof, but by blocking tracking on your iPhone you can significantly cut down on how much of your data is collected and used by third parties. Regularly review your privacy settings and be mindful of which apps and services you use to maintain a more private iPhone experience.