Security and General Settings

Learn all about iPhone security and make sure your iPhone settings are where they should be in this free lesson.

Security and general settings

Once you're more familiar with the iPhone, you may want to take some time to review and customize your device's settings. Settings control everything from the way your iPhone works to the data it shares with apps and other devices. You can open Settings by tapping the icon on your Home screen.

Settings gives you easy access to many different things, including settings for your notifications and privacy. In this lesson, we will focus on the Touch ID & Passcode, General, and Privacy sections.

Touch ID & Passcode

Under Touch ID & Passcode, you can customize the security for unlocking your iPhone. By default, the iPhone requires a passcode to unlock it. If you have an iPhone 5S or a newer version, you can also unlock your iPhone using your fingerprint with a feature called Touch ID.

To change a passcode lock:

When you first start up your iPhone, you'll be prompted to create a passcode lock. If you ever want to change it, it's pretty easy to do so.

  1. Tap the Settings icon on your Home screen, then tap Touch ID & Passcode.
  2. General settings will appear. Scroll down and tap Change Passcode.
  3. Use the keypad to enter your current passcode.
  4. The next screen will automatically appear, prompting you to enter a new passcode. Enter the new passcode. (You'll need to enter it twice to confirm.)

  5. Your new passcode will be set.

To set up TouchID:

With an iPhone 5S or newer, you can set your iPhone to unlock using your fingerprint. Instead of entering a passcode, you can simply place a finger on the Home button.

  1. Tap the Settings icon on your Home screen, then tap Touch ID & Passcode.
  2. Input your passcode, then tap Add a Fingerprint...

  3. Follow the instructions shown on the screen, and place a finger or thumb on the Home Button. You'll need to touch the Home button repeatedly until the iPhone gets a good read of your fingerprint.
  4. Your fingerprint will be added, and you can now unlock your phone with TouchID.

You can add multiple fingerprints to TouchID, allowing you to use any number of your fingers or thumbs to unlock your iPhone.

General

Under General, you can customize different settings that control your storage, accessibility, and overall preferences.

To set restrictions:

Restrictions act as parental controls. You can use this feature to set a passcode that will restrict access to certain content. While a passcode lock is used to unlock the iPhone, a restriction passcode is used to open specific apps and perform certain tasks. For example, you can restrict explicit music, limit the ability to make in-app purchases, and withhold access to important apps.

  1. In General, tap Restrictions.
  2. Tap Enable Restrictions.
  3. Use the keypad to enter a restrictions passcode. (You'll need to enter it twice to confirm.)
  4. Restrictions will be enabled. From now on, anyone who uses your iPhone will need to enter the passcode to access restricted content.
  5. Set the controls to green to allow apps to be used without restrictions.
  6. Scroll down to access more advanced restrictions, such as ratings for music, movies, apps, and more.

Updating your software

Software Update is where you'll download iOS updates from Apple. Updates frequently include bug fixes and other improvements designed to enhance your experience with the iPhone. If an update is available, tap Software Update, then tap the Install button.

Privacy

Third-party apps sometimes request access to your personal information. For example, an app might request access to your Twitter account to make it easier for you to share things with your friends. Another app might request access to Contacts to help you connect with the people you know.

Apps will ask for permission before accessing your information for the first time. However, you can always manage these settings under Privacy.

To manage your privacy settings:

  1. Tap the Settings icon on your Home screen.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap an item to view which apps (if any) have requested access to the information.
  4. Turn controls on or off to enable or disable access for certain apps.

Location Services

Location Services is an optional setting that uses Wi-Fi and/or your cellular signal to determine your current location. Location data can be extremely useful for a variety of apps. For example, the Maps app can use this information to give you directions from your current location, while the Weather app can give you a local forecast.

Location data can also be used in ways you might not expect. For example, the Camera app can use it to tag photos and videos with their exact location (known as geotagging). If you then post a photo publicly online, you're also sharing the location data for that photo.

While it can be useful, some users may not feel comfortable sharing their location data in all of these situations. Fortunately, you can turn off Location Services for individual apps or for all of your apps. To modify these options, go to your Privacy settings and tap Location Services.

To limit ad tracking:

Some third-party apps may use information from your iPhone to serve you targeted advertisements based on your interests. These interests are based on the way you use your iPhone, including your browsing history and installed apps. If you'd prefer not to receive targeted advertisements, you can limit ad tracking. This feature won't limit the number of ads you receive—it will simply stop third-party apps from using your personal information.

  1. From Privacy, scroll down and tap Advertising.
  2. Turn the control on to limit ad tracking.

Bluetooth settings

You can connect your iPhone wirelessly to Bluetooth devices. For example, you could connect with a Bluetooth headset for hands-free calling.

To connect a Bluetooth device:

  1. Tap the Settings icon on the Home screen, then tap Bluetooth.
  2. Tap the control next to Bluetooth to turn it on. Your iPhone will scan for Bluetooth signals and list available devices.
  3. Select the desired device.

If you're still having trouble pairing your Bluetooth device with the iPhone, review this support page from Apple on third-party Bluetooth accessories.