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New iOS 16 Privacy & Security Features You Need To Know About 2022

Apple’s new iOS 16 operating system provides numerous privacy and security enhancements for your iPhone. In this article, I’ll explain all of the new features.

At a Glance

As has become traditional, Apple in 2022 released iOS 16, the latest version of its operating system for the iPhone. With each update, Apple has improved the privacy and security features of its mobile operating systems, and iOS 16 is no exception.

This time around, Apple has definitely stepped up its game when it comes to privacy and security, allowing users to manage what they share with other users, providing additional security for hidden and deleted photo albums, a “Safety Check” feature to make it easy to quickly reset what data and location access has been given to other users, and much more.

In the following sections, I’ll explain what each feature does, how you can make use of it, and also provide helpful screenshots to take you through each step along the way. Let’s get started, shall we?

Make Sure You’re Running iOS 16

Before we get started, let’s make sure you’re running iOS 16 on your iPhone.

How to Check Your iPhone’s iOS Version

To determine the version of your device’s operating system, do the following:

  1. Go to the “Settings” app.
  2. In the Settings app, scroll down just a bit, until you see the “General” menu option. Tap that.
  3. In the General menu, look for the “About” menu option. (It should be at the top of the screen.) Tap that.
  4. On the About screen, look for the “iOS Version” or “iPadOS Version” menu option. (It should be the second from the top.)
  5. You can read the current version of your device’s operating system on that line. You can also tap that menu option for more details about the version you have installed. Suffice it to say, if it doesn’t say at least “16” on that line, you need to update your device before attempting to access any of the new features I’ll be telling you about.

Check iOS

Updating Your iPhone’s Operating System

I strongly recommend before installing any update that you backup your device, either to iCloud or to your computer, to ensure that you have a copy of your information. While the backup process is beyond the scope of this article, you can find step-by-step instructions on how to backup your device on the Apple Support website.

Updating your device is also beyond the scope of this article. However, you can find handy step-by-step instructions on updating your iPhone or iPad to the latest version of iOS 16 on the Apple Support website.

New iOS 16 Privacy and Security Features

iOS 16 includes a new feature that will be particularly helpful for someone in an abusive relationship. Before we take a look at this first new feature, I’d like to emphasize that no one deserves to be in such a relationship.

If you are in an abusive relationship, don’t blame yourself. One in four women and one in nine men in the United States are victims of partner violence at some point in their life.

Talk to the police, your doctor, a nurse, or a social worker. Call the police if you feel you’re in danger. In the United States, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which can provide the name of a local shelter that can help you.

Safety Check

The new “Safety Check” feature allows users to quickly reset all of the data and location access that they have granted to other users. Apple says the new feature is intended to make life a little easier for people embroiled in a domestic or intimate partner violence situation.

To get to the Safety Check screen, do the following:

  1. Open the “Settings” app.
  2. Scroll down on the Settings screen until you see the “Privacy & Security” menu option. Tap that.
  3. On the Privacy & Security screen, scroll down until you see the “Safety Check” menu option. Tap that.

Safety Check iOS

On the Safety Check screen, you’ll see two options:

  • Emergency Reset: This option allows you to immediately reset access for all people and apps, immediately stopping the sharing of everything with all people and apps. This includes anything you might be sharing with other users, including location information, your home data, photo albums, and much more. Emergency Reset also allows you to quickly remove all emergency contacts, as well as to reset your Apple ID and password so no one else can log into your account.
  • Manage Sharing & Access: This option allows you to customize which people and apps have access to your information so you can’t be secretly tracked or monitored via location sharing, shared photo albums, and other iPhone features. You can select individual people or apps and immediately stop sharing with those parties.You’ll also see a list of all third-party apps installed on the device, see the permissions those apps have, and immediately disable that access if you wish. You can also view which devices are logged into your iCloud account, giving you the option to log out, reset your ‌Apple ID‌ and password, and deactivate Emergency contacts.

All Safety Check screens include a “Quick Exit” button in the upper right-hand corner. If you are in danger of getting caught using this feature, you can tap the “Quick Exit” button to immediately exit to the iPhone’s Home Screen. If anyone enters the Settings app, it has returned to the default Settings menu.

Rapid Security Response

iOS 16 allows Apple to send out important security updates without updating the entire operating system. The new “Rapid Security Response” feature makes it easier for the Cupertino firm to distribute security patches in small, quickly downloadable and installable files. While your iPhone will need to restart, it will do so much faster than a full operating system update, greatly reducing the device’s downtime.

Once your device has been updated to iOS 16, your device will be set by default to receive and install these security updates automatically. The feature can be disabled by going to “Settings” -> “General” -> “Software Update” -> “Automatic Updates.” Tap the green switch marked “Security Responses & System Files” to turn off the security updates. Repeat the process to re-enable the feature.

Rapid Security Response iOS 16

Locked Hidden and Recently Deleted Photo Albums in iPhotos

The iOS 16 Photos app now locks down the Recently Deleted and Hidden photo albums with biometric authentication via Touch ID, Face ID, or a passcode.

Tapping on either hidden or recently deleted photo albums in iOS 16 will require biometric authentication or a passcode to open the album, ensuring other folks can’t view the photos in either type of album.

Landscape Face ID

If you’ve ever been disappointed that Face ID doesn’t work in landscape mode, there’s good news. iOS allows users with an iPhone 13 or newer handset to unlock their device whether it’s being held in portrait or landscape mode.

Clipboard Copy & Paste Permissions

iOS 16 requires apps to ask for explicit user permission before accessing your iPhone’s clipboard to copy and paste the information that is currently stored there. This helps to alleviate concerns by security researchers over apps that have been discovered to be accessing the iPhone’s clipboard without users’ knowledge. Apps have been required to request access to the iPhone’s microphone, camera, location, and other sensitive data.


iOS 16 adds passkeys, a new security feature that provides a faster and more secure way to log into accounts without being required to remember and enter passwords or passcodes. Passkeys are unique digital keys stored on your device. They are end-to-end encrypted and can only be unlocked by Face ID or Touch ID. Passkeys use Apple’s iCloud technology to sync across all of your Apple devices.

Passkeys are linked only to the app or website that they were created for, preventing phishing attacks from tricking you into using them to log in to fake websites or apps.

Currently, only a few websites support the passkeys feature. However, its use is sure to expand in the future. Currently, you can use passkeys on AOL (yes, it still exists), Dropbox, Facebook, Google, ID.me, Twitter, WordPress, and a few other websites.

Lockdown Mode

iOS 16’s Lockdown Mode, in Apple’s own words, provides extreme protection that should only be used if you believe you’re being personally targeted by a sophisticated cyberattack. While most people are never targeted like this, the feature could be handy for journalists, activists, and other folks who may indeed be the target of such attacks.

Lockdown Mode severely limits the functionality of many iPhone features, blocks most attachment types in Messages, blocks FaceTime calls from people not in your contacts, limits web browsing functionality, prevents configuration profiles from being installed, and more.

Lockdown Mode can be enabled by going to the Settings app and tapping “Privacy & Security,” scrolling down to the bottom of the screen and tapping “Lockdown Mode.” Tap “Turn on Lockdown Mode” to enable it.

Lockdown Mode iOS 16

Editing Known WiFi Networks

Are you aware of just how many WiFi networks you’ve connected to with your Apple devices? Do this, go to the Settings app and then tap the “Wi-Fi” menu option. On the Wi-Fi screen, tap the “Edit” button in the upper right-hand corner. If you have iCloud Keychain enabled on all of your Apple devices, you’ll see a list of all of the WiFi hotspots that those devices have connected to.

WOW! That is a lot of WiFi networks!

Edit WiFi Networks iOS 16

If you want to prevent your device from connecting to any of these hotspots or home networks you can delete the hotspot from the list by tapping the red icon to the left of the hotspot’s name and then tapping the Delete button that appears.

This will help you get rid of hotspots that may have had either a weak insecure password or one that has no password.

In Closing

As you can see, iOS 16 brings multiple privacy and security improvements to your iPhone. By updating your iPhone to iOS 16 you’ll have a more secure device, with more protection against local and online threats.

iOS 16 Privacy and Security FAQs

What iPhones are Compatible With iOS 16?

iPhones Supported:

  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone Plus
  • iPhone SE (2022)
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (2020)
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus

How Can I Protect Access to My iPhone?

There are several ways to keep your iPhone safe from unwanted access, these include:

  • Set a strong passcode. This is one of the most important things you can do to protect your iPhone from unauthorized access. You can set a four-digit or longer passcode. You can also create an alphanumeric code that will make the code more difficult to guess.
  • Turn on Face ID or Touch ID. Using Face ID or Touch ID not only helps secure your iPhone from unwanted access, it also makes it more convenient to unlock your phone using your face or a fingerprint, authorized purchases and payments, and sign into apps.
  • Turn on Find My. Find My allows you to track the location of your iPhone if it’s lost or stolen. You can also remotely lock your iPhone, which means no one can use it or activate it under another account.

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