To access the restrictions we will be discussing in this article, please navigate to Settings > General > Restrictions and proceed to the Privacy area. If you have never turned on iOS restrictions before, we recommend you familiarize yourself with “Parental Restrictions In iOS 7 – Part 1 (Enable Restrictions & Allow Apps)” before proceeding. You may also be interested in Part 2 of our Parental Restrictions guide that looks at the content that end users are allowed to access.
At mac-fusion, we believe everyone has a right to protect his or her privacy and the first line of defense can often start with an iOS device. Whilst it is more common for adults to be concerned about privacy, an increasing number of our youth don’t share these same values and frankly share a little too much about all aspects of their lives.
The options that are shown within this article will assist you with ensuring the privacy of the end user remains intact.
When you select this area, you will be taken to a wide range of options that allow you to micromanage the Apps and Services that can use Location Services.
The first option is to either Allow Changes, or Don’t Allow Changes. When setting up the device for an end user, we suggest that you select Don’t Allow Changes after you have set the Apps, or Services, that can have access to the Location Services functionality. It is important to note that allow, or don’t allow, functionality is present in all Restriction options within the Privacy area.
When you select Don’t Allow Changes the options will be greyed out and inaccessible to the end user. Whilst there is no passcode protection in this area, Location Services and all functionality contained within the Privacy area are protected by the master passcode that you have setup previously for Restrictions in iOS.
The next option will allow you to turn off Location Services completely. By doing this all Apps, and Services, that have Location Service features will have this functionality disabled. The apps will continue to work, but in the case of the Maps App, the end user will not be able to get directions from their current location; or in the case of the Camera App, photographs will not be saved with reference to where the photograph was taken. Similarly, services such as current Weather conditions based on the end user’s current location will also be disabled if you turn Location Services off completely.
Another feature that will be semi-disabled, by the turning off of Location Services, is Find My iPhone.
Find My iPhone allows you to see the exact location on the Map of any iOS device, or Mac, that is attached to your iCloud account. When you turn the Location Services off completely, you will no longer be able to log into iCloud.com and view the location of the device.
That being said, you can still access functions such as Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase iPhone.
We recommend that you leave the Find My iPhone Location Services turned on to ensure that you can easily locate a device, and the location of an end user. This setting allows you to find out exactly where your kids are without worrying and having to call them frequently; but let’s not tell them about that!
In all honesty, we recommend that you discuss this setting with your children to ensure they understand it is a safety measure and not an invasion of their privacy.
When you tap on Find My iPhone, you will notice an option exists for Status Bar Icon. If you don’t want the end user to know you are tracking the device, then ensure that this option is turned off. Otherwise, the Location Services arrow will be shown in the Status Bar when you are searching for the device.
The last series of options, within the Location Services area, relate to the System Services. Within this area, we suggest you turn off Location-Based iAds. When you turn this function off, an iAd will still be presented, but it will be generic and irrelevant to the end user’s current location. iAd’s are most often located in free, or lite versions, of apps as well as via iTunes Radio in the case of audio based iAds.
The other option you may wish to consider restricting access to is Frequent Locations. As you travel through different locations, your iOS device collects various pieces of information and in some cases this information is sent back to Apple to assist with aspects such as improving maps. Whilst improved mapping is a good thing for all users, you may wish to disable this functionality as a further line of defense to protect the whereabouts of your children as it is plausible that this information has the potential to be obtained by a third party
Figure 20 highlights a brief view of the kind of location information that is being collected. When you tap on a location that has been found within the History area, the exact location where the end user was at, when the location was captured, will be presented on the map.
Figure 21 shows one example of locations that have been recently visited and how they appear on the map. Of note is the exact address of these locations. When you tap on one of the addresses, as shown in Figure 22, you will be presented with a list of dates and times that you had visited these addresses.
It is truly amazing, and rather frightening, how much location information is stored on iOS devices.
Many users won’t be concerned about Location Services recording their exact whereabouts, but it is good to know that Apple gives users the ability to turn this functionality off; especially when setting up a device for children.
When you tap on the Contacts area, you will be presented with a series of options relating to allowing specific apps to have access to the end user’s contact list.
In the example, shown in Figure 23, you will see that these apps can be turned on, and off, and as previously shown in Location Services, you can disable the ability for changes to be made.
We strongly suggest that you disable access to any app that the end user will not be using on a regular basis or that you believe does not need access to the Contacts information stored on the iOS device.
Calendars And Reminders
Calendars and Reminders operate in very much the same way as Contacts. We therefore recommend that you disable access to any apps that are unlikely to require this information.
It is important to note that third party calendar, or meeting apps, will need access to Calendars information in order to correctly present the end user with relevant information. This is essential should the end user use a different Calendar application on a Mac and synchronize data with a service such as iCloud.
The options available for Photos is similar to those presented above, but it is imperative for the end user’s privacy that you spend considerable time reviewing which third party apps can have access to the Photos stored on the iOS device.
Figure 24, showcases a few apps that have requested and, in two cases, have been granted access to Photos. Whilst Pages is not a major concern, we strongly recommend you consider disallowing social networks, such as Twitter, from having access to the photographs stored on the device. If this option is not deactivated then any photograph can then be published on Twitter along with the photograph’s meta data that may contain location information as to where the photograph was taken.
Bluetooth settings mimic those found in earlier options such as Contacts. The only difference with this area is that apps can share data with other Bluetooth enabled devices, even if the end user is not currently using the device. Therefore, you will need to review these settings on a case-by-case basis.
This area allows you to set which apps will be allowed to use the Microphone functionality of the iOS device. It is important to note that there is no option for FaceTime, or the Phone app, in this area and therefore these functions are not impacted by any changes made in this area.
Should you have apps similar to Skype, or YouTube, installed then you may wish to remove microphone access for these apps if you are worried about the how the end user may use these types apps.
Twitter and Facebook
Due to the popularity of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, Apple has built-in iOS support for these networks and subsequently third party apps can have access to the end user’s account login and password that is associated with the social networks.
Within this area, you can select the apps that are permitted to have access to the account information. It is important to note that denying access to third party apps may result in the app not functioning correctly, or at all.
You can also access these options at anytime from Settings > Twitter, or Settings > Facebook. When you access the settings via this method, there is no passcode protection to ensure the end user cannot make changes. It is therefore imperative that you select Don’t Allow Changes, from the Twitter and Facebook Restrictions Settings. By doing so, the end user will be restricted from making changes in the non-passcode protected area.
Like it or not, advertising is here to stay within both apps and websites. This option allows you to prevent the end user from being targeted with specific ads based on the end user’s location, or information that has been researched via the Safari browser for example.
It is important to note that even if you turn this function off, targeted ads may still be presented for sometime until the advertising network servers are updated. Also, this option is different from the iAds setting as presented earlier. This option relates to the delivery and visibility of third party ad servers that are external to Apple’s iAd platform. Subsequently, this setting will affect advertising that is presented when visiting websites from Safari for instance.
Turning this option off will not eliminate ads completely, although we do recommend that you disable it.
This has been Part 3 of our guide to Parental Restrictions In iOS 7. Make sure you follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be automatically notified when Part 4 is released along with other special deals and information pertaining to our group learning classes.
If you have any questions, please drop into our store and our knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to help you.