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8 iPhone Settings You Should Turn Off to Protect Your Privacy and Save Battery

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

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Every year, many people are eager to get their hands on the latest iPhone models and check out the new offerings that Apple has introduced.

New iPhone users are typically blown away by the number of available features and settings, while veterans don’t seem to run out of things to tinker with or try.

But an argument can validly be made that perhaps such an overabundance of features is a bit too much.

Some features make things take longer than needed, others are questionably invasive, and some are quite taxing on your iPhone’s battery life.

Certain features are worth keeping around, while others are better off being turned off.

For those interested in learning more about the latter group, keep reading to learn about the 7 iPhone settings you should disable as soon as possible.

1. Disable Location Tracking

The Significant Location feature on the iPhone uses location data to provide users with more information about their interests through targeted ads and suggestions in normally used apps like Photos and Calendar.

Significant Locations iPhone settings

As you go to different places, Apple collects that information, learning about places you enjoy frequenting or making frequent stops at.

By now, the red flags about privacy should be flying. Anyone concerned that Apple knows far too much about its customers should disable this feature immediately.

Here’s how to turn off Significant Locations on your iPhone:

  • Navigate to your iPhone Settings.
  • Click Privacy & Security.
  • Choose the Location Services section.
  • Scroll down and select System Services.
  • Select Significant Locations.
  • Toggle the Significant Locations toggle to the off position.

2. Disable Default System Services

There are a few system service locations that you should leave turned on for your own benefit, such as Emergency Calls & SOS, Find My iPhone, or Satellite Connection.

However, others are completely unnecessary and can even allow your data to be sold, drain your battery, or track your location without your permission.

While what services you disable depend on your personal needs, there are some that most iPhone users can safely turn off.

System Services Locations iPhone privacy settings

Here’s what you should turn off and why:

First, go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > System Services. And disable these features.

  1. Cell Network Search—this has nothing to do with your iPhone’s ability to search for cell networks. It’s just a fancy and tricky name Apple uses to collect data for its crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations. This database can be used to serve targeted ads based on your location.
  2. Device Management—this is for your employer or school to manage your iPhone.
  3. Networking & Wireless—this is the Wi-Fi version of the Cell Network Search feature.
  4. iPhone Analytics—this sends your iPhone location and analytics data to Apple and developers about your iPhone use.
  5. Routing & Traffic—this sends GPS data, travel speed, direction, and barometric pressure information to Apple when you’re driving or walking.
  6. Improve Maps—this collects your location for Apple to use for their products and services.

3. Disable Advertisements From Apple

Some people may enjoy getting ads, but chances are most do not. Personalized ads appearing on the iPhone are as invasive as they are disruptive.

Ads tracking setting on iPhone

Luckily, Apple provides an option to disable them:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Privacy & Security.
  3. Scroll down and select Apple Advertising.
  4. Toggle the Personalized Ads to disable them.

This feature has a disclaimer that notes that the number of ads a user gets will not necessarily reduce, but Apple’s ability to deliver relevant ads will be limited.

4. Disable Apps Tracking

When it comes to privacy concerns, few iPhone settings are more brazen than the tracking feature.

While the intentions seem noble and serve several helpful functions, most users are wary of their phones tracking their location at all times, so they prefer to disable the tracking feature.

iOS setting app tracking request

To disable app tracking requests, follow these steps:

  1. Head to Settings.
  2. Choose Privacy & Security.
  3. Select Tracking.
  4. Slide the Allow Apps to Request to Track option to the off position.

Now, any app, such as Facebook, requesting to track your activity across the web will be denied by default.

5. Get Rid Of Unsolicited Requests For App Reviews And Ratings

Apple developers are always curious about what users think of current iPhone features, as it helps guide them in their future development and refinement efforts.

Therefore, the App Store’s In-App Rating & Reviews option enables apps to request rating and review information from users.

iOS app ratings requests

Many users find this downright annoying and would rather not put up with it. The process is simple: Open the Settings app, select App Store, and toggle off In-App Ratings & Reviews. That’s it.

With this setting disabled, apps won’t interrupt you with those in-app rating prompts anymore. You can still leave reviews for apps you like directly from the App Store itself.

6. Turn Off Background App Refreshing

Background App Refresh is literally the biggest battery drainer on your iPhone. It constantly searches for updates and new content while you’re not using the apps.

iOS setting background app refresh

Turn that feature off if you want to make your iPhone battery last longer.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Choose Background App Refresh.
  4. Tap Background App Refresh again and select Off.

Now, apps would only refresh when you have them open and are actively using them.

If you prefer specific apps to always have the latest information, you can do so by

When apps have updates, Apple’s Background App Refresh feature can be set up to either regularly check for their presence or avoid doing so.

If you want specific apps to always have the latest information, you can do so by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and either choosing “Wi-Fi” or “Wi-Fi & Cellular Data.”

There, you can choose which apps can automatically refresh in the background instead of having it turned off or on for everything. This gives you more control over your battery life and data usage.

7. Turn Off Personalized Recommendations for Media Purchases

There’s a feature on your iPhone that sends your app usage, downloads, purchases, and other activity to Apple so they can make personalized recommendations for you.

iOS settings App Store recommendations

In other words, this is just more data collection from Apple. Here’s how to turn that off.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap your name at the top.
  3. Tap Media & Purchases.
  4. Select View Account from the popup.
  5. Turn off Personalized Recommendations.

8. Turn Off Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement

There’s a feature called “Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement” that sounds like it would protect your privacy, which is turned on by default.

However, it actually does the opposite, as it opts you into ad tracking. This feature essentially lets advertisers track clicks and purchases made across the web.

iOS Privacy preserving ad measurement

But Apple says all this happens anonymously, meaning neither advertisers, merchants, nor Apple can see what ads are clicked or which purchases are made.

For example, if you click or tap an ad, the advertiser won’t be able to identify you personally. They’ll just know that someone clicked the ad or made a purchase, not who specifically.

Let’s turn that feature off so there’s no ad measurement of any kind, whether they say “it’s private” or not.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and select Safari.
  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom and select “Advanced.”
  4. Then, toggle off “Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement.”

Now, we all know the web runs on ads, meaning that many of the free online services we enjoy are funded by advertising.

This article is free, thanks to advertising. If you prefer not to support the open web with ads, follow the above steps to turn this feature off.

Final Takeaway On Protecting Your iPhone Data

That is just a handful of features that, while potentially nice to have on an iPhone, are not worth the battery drain, space demands, or privacy invasiveness.

While there are other potential features to explore alongside these, the 8 presented above are settings you should readily disable now to improve your iPhone’s performance and battery life.

For any questions or suggestions, please use the comment section below.

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

Herby Jasmin

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