How to secure your internet activity on iOS devices

Learn about the on-device and network security options available to you in order to supercharge your internet security when browsing the web and using apps on iOS.

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Image: Tada Images/Adobe Stock

Securing your internet access can mean many things, but we like to think of it as a two-fold approach for both on-device data and network data once your web request has left your device. There’s much that you can do to protect both on-device data stored locally (such as your browser cache) and the data that leaves your device when making website requests.

We’ll take a look at how to secure your data on the device and how to protect your data that ISPs might see through iCloud Private Relay and VPNs.

How to secure on-device network activity

iOS does a great job at ensuring that things that are stored locally are encrypted using your passcode, and also data between apps are secured and only data you wish to share between apps is actually shared.

Mail and Safari are two apps that can be configured to be more secure than it ships with by default when it comes to network activity on the device. Let’s look at each of the settings for these apps that can make your device more secure.

Enabling Mail Privacy Protection

Mail has always been a hotbed for compromising network activity: From tracking pixels to HTML content that could load inline, email can be tracked. Fortunately, iOS 15 includes a way to protect your email through Mail Privacy Protection that will still allow you to load remote content in emails, but it will hide your location and IP address from the sender.

To enable Mail Privacy Protection:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Mail | Privacy Protection.
  3. Enable the option for Protect Mail Activity (Figure A).

Figure A

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic. Enabling Mail Privacy Protection makes opening emails with HTML content or tracking pixels more secure.

Clearing browsing history

Browsing history stored on your device can include not only the list of websites you’ve recently visited, but also a cache of those sites to load them more quickly the next time you visit the website. You can clear this data for security, but also to remove the cached…