How the iPhone Security Check Protects People in Abusive Relationships
In an effort to combat “technology-based abuse, harassment or harassment”, Apple has introduced dedicated security features to manage access to data such as location and shared subscriptions. These can be of great help to those who suffer from abuse and fear that their devices will be used against them.
What is Security Check?
Security Control was introduced by Apple with the iOS 16 update to provide a quick way to review settings and revoke access to potentially sensitive information. You can do all of this manually using apps like Find My or by diving into the Settings menu, but Safety Check brings it all together in one place for peace of mind.
The feature works in two ways: as a kill switch that quickly revokes access to apps, and as a menu to review and revoke permissions on a person-by-person or app-by-app basis.
In addition to who can see your info, Safety Check lets you quickly check shared albums you may be subscribed to in Photos, shared notes you’re a part of, health data you may have shared, subscriptions shared to the calendar and compatible with HomeKit. devices in your that you may wish to disable.
Then there are apps that have been granted access permissions such as your location data, microphone, Bluetooth access, camera, photos and other media libraries, contact list, health data (read and write) and the ability to search for devices. on your local network.
Safety Check also performs a quick security review of your Apple ID account. You’ll get a list of currently connected devices along with the option to revoke access to any of them. You can also view your list of trusted phone numbers, which are numbers that can receive verification codes for two-factor authentication purposes.
You will be prompted to change your password if you deem it necessary and to remove any emergency SOS numbers that you no longer wish to appear in your Medical ID. These numbers can be accessed without your device being unlocked if your device is lost, so it’s worth taking the time to make sure the right people are listed.
To make the feature even more secretive, Apple placed a “Quick Exit” button in the upper right corner of the screen for anyone who feels the need to quickly hide the menu from prying eyes.
Use the security check as a circuit breaker
If you want a full account access reset in just a few clicks, using Safety Check as a kill switch is the best way to go. This will remove all permissions, including Apps and Trusted People. You’ll need to set them up again under Settings > Privacy and re-subscribe to shared subscriptions in apps like Photos or Calendars.
Head to Settings > Privacy > Safety Control and choose “Emergency Reset” to get started. You will need to verify your identity with your Face ID, Touch ID or Passcode; then press the “Start emergency reset” button to begin.
There are three steps you’ll need to take to complete the process, and you can tap the “Quick Exit” button at any time to return to the home screen and leave no trace of the menu you were in.
The former lets you revoke all permissions for people and apps, including your location data, shared photo albums, and more. Tap the “Reset People & Apps” button, then confirm with the “Reset” prompt.
The next step reviews your devices to make sure you’re happy with the locations where your Apple ID is currently used. Select the devices, then click “Remove Selected Devices” to disconnect. Then you can review the trusted phone numbers (and add more) to receive verification codes, then update your password if you find it necessary.
The final step is to review the Emergency SOS settings to remove or add emergency contacts that appear on your Medical ID. At the end of the process, you’ll see some additional guidance for things outside of Apple’s control, like sharing on other networks and mobile plan privacy.
Use security control to manage access
If you’d rather not take an all-or-nothing approach and look at each permission separately. This is an ideal approach for those who want to keep some sharing settings and have time to review the menu carefully. You can maintain shared subscriptions in apps like Photos and Calendar, collaborate on Notes, and even share your location with trusted friends or family members.
To get started, click the “Manage Sharing & Access” button under Settings > Privacy > Security Control. This menu will guide you through everything, first allowing you to remove specific people or data currently shared before moving on to app access, currently connected devices, trusted numbers, password settings password, emergency SOS contacts and your device passcode.
You can access all of these settings separately in the operating system. For example, you’ll find a list of contacts who can track your location in the Find My app. Apps that can see your location are listed under Settings > Privacy > Location Services. You can also head to Settings and scroll down to find an app, then review its permissions from that menu.
Once you revoke the permission, you will not see any pop-up asking you to grant the permission again, instead you will need to grant the permission manually under Settings > Privacy.
Other Useful Privacy Tips
When you revoke access to data such as your location, other parties do not receive a notification informing them. They will notice that you have stopped sharing with them when they try to track your location or see album subscribers or similar.
The security check process mainly affects your iPhone. The service allows you to revoke login access on other devices, but this only applies to your Apple ID. If you have other devices like an Android smartphone or Windows PC, you might want to check that those devices aren’t set up in a way that compromises your privacy.
AirTags can also be used against you to track your location. Apple has built-in safeguards to prevent harassment, so make sure you know what to do if you see an “AirTag Found Moving With You” notification.
If you don’t use unique passwords for your accounts, or are concerned that someone has had access to your passwords for a while, change the passwords for services like email, social media, online banking and whatever else you care about is a solid plan.
Be careful what you post on social media, even if your account is locked. Images may reveal your place of residence, current location, and other private information that can be used against you. Make sure your Facebook account is properly locked.
If you’re on a shared mobile plan, you should also be aware that information such as call history may be available to the account owner. If there are security cameras in your place of residence that are linked to someone else’s Apple ID, you should disconnect them if you are concerned that they will be used against you.
Security Check requires iOS 16 or higher
Security Check was introduced in September 2022 with the release of iOS 16. If you don’t see the option under Settings > Privacy, you may need to update your device under Settings > General > Software Update .
Your device must be compatible with iOS 16 for this setting to appear. If you have an older device, you can manually check your privacy settings instead.