Safer Internet: Connection: Turn Off Unnecessary Services


  • + By default, it's easy to share too much info with other apps, services and sites
  • + Services / sharing can be useful in many contexts, if settings can be adjusted rather than just turned off.
  • - Settings can be difficult to locate -- sometimes scattered in several places
  • - Repeated access requests could be annoying



  • Control info shared between apps and over the Internet
  • There are other ways to share files -- see section Share Files Privately
  • Besides exploring every option under Preferences / Settings, you can use Search
  • macOS: System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy : Location Services, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Accessibility, Diagnostics & Usage [screenshot]
  • macOS: System Preferences > Sharing : Screen, Files, Printer, Remote, Internet, Bluetooth [screenshot]
  • macOS: System Preferences > Extensions : All, Actions, Finder, Photos Editing, Share Menu, Today
  • iOS: Settings > Privacy : (many) [screenshot]
  • iOS: Settings > General > Restrictions: (many)
  • Windows: (File Sharing) {Figure 7. TCYOP-3: 59; TCYOP-2: 51; TCYOP-1: 50}

Login ("Lock") Screen

  • iphoneAdding contact(s) can be useful in case of medical emergency, or your lost device is found
  • macOS: System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General (lock message) [screenshot]
  • iPad: Settings > Wallpaper > Choose a New Wallpaper (annotated image) [screenshot]
  • iPhone: Health > Medical ID: Medical Conditions, Spouse, Child, Blood Type, Organ Donor; result: "Emergency" link on lock screen
  • [Refs:macOS]: "Add Contact Information to Your Mac's Login Screen"
  • iOS: Settings > Control Center > Access on Lock Screen If on, someone would be able to enable Airplane Mode on a lost/stolen phone, which would disable Find My iPhone
  • iOS: Settings > Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode) > Allow access when locked: Notifications, Siri, Wallet, etc. [screenshot]
  • [iOS]: "Security flaw in iOS 9 discovered, could expose photos, contacts (via Siri)"

Find My Mac / iPhone / iPad

  • keysLocate, and optionally erase, your lost/stolen device
  • macOS: System Preferences > iCloud > Find My Mac [screenshot]
  • iOS: Settings > (my acct) > iCloud > Find My iPad/iPhone [screenshot]
  • [2] iOS: Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Status Bar Icon: off If your phone is lost/stolen, and you're tracking it, it's better not to advertise it, though this turns off for all location services?
  • Windows (iCloud required)
  • to use: login to iCloud account
  • [Refs:iOS]: "Find a Misplaced iPhone by Making it Beep Remotely from iCloud"


  • batcaveDo you want apps / sites to know where you are? could be useful for maps, local stores
  • Before
  • macOS: System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy : Location Services [screenshot]
  • macOS: ... Location Services > System Services > Details > Show location icon in menu bar when System Services request your location
  • macOS: Safari > Preferences > Privacy > Website use of Location Services [screenshot]
  • macOS: Firefox -- none?
  • macOS: Chrome > Preferences > Advanced Settings > Privacy > Content Settings > Location
  • iOS: Settings > Privacy : Location Services: Share My Location; Apps; System Services choices: Never, Always, While Using [screenshot]
  • iOS: Settings > (your acct) > iCloud > Share My Location
  • After: allow/deny for individuals web sites that request access
  • [Refs:Loc]: "Visa wants to track your travels abroad to prevent declined payments"

Computer, Keyboard, Camera, Microphone, Screen

  • Avoid snooping on your keyboard and screen over your shoulder in public places; control remote access
  • macOS: System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Accessibility > Allow apps to control your computer [screenshot]
  • macOS: System Preferences > Sharing > Screen Sharing; Remote Login [screenshot]
  • macOS: System Preferences > "Camera??" -- use a piece of cardboard & tape except for specific apps!!
  • [Refs:WebCam]: "How to Stop Hackers From Spying With Your Webcam" Mac,Windows
  • macOS: Chrome > Preferences > Advanced Settings > Privacy > Content Settings > Mouse cursor; Media (camera, microphone)
  • iOS: Settings > Privacy > Microphone, Camera, Motion [screenshot]
  • iOS: Settings > Safari > Camera & Microphone Access

[2] Bluetooth

  • a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances between "paired" devices, e.g., for keyboard, headset, AirDrop (file sharing), share Internet connection
  • range: 30-300' depending on device power Class and environmental factors
  • most modern devices and implementations support encryption
  • however, if you enable only temporarily when you need it, your device will be more secure, use less power, etc.
  • macOS: System Preferences > Bluetooth > Turn Bluetooth: On/Off [screenshot]
  • iOS: [swipe up] > AirPlay
  • iOS: General > AirDrop: Contacts Only -- or Receiving Off; if Everyone then just temporarily
  • iOS: Settings > Bluetooth: On/Off [screenshot] -- note: disabling via iOS11 Control Center does not completely turn off!
  • [Refs:iOS]: "EFF: iOS 11's Misleading 'Off-ish' Setting for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is Bad for User Security"

[2] Notifications

  • Control messages that appear in the "Notification Center"
  • useful vs. annoying; risk if someone sees screen, e.g., verification codes via SMS
  • allow/deny for web sites that request access?
  • macOS: System Preferences > Notifications [screenshot]
  • macOS: Safari > Preferences > Websites > Notifications: Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications
  • macOS: Chrome > Preferences > Advanced Settings > Privacy > Content Settings > Notifications
  • iOS: Settings > Notifications [screenshot]

[2] Speech

  • Allow Siri request logging?
  • iOS: Settings > General > Siri > About Siri and Privacy (read)
  • Dictation online: spoken words are recorded and uploaded to Apple's servers for translation
  • Enhanced (offline) mode more private but requires software install
  • macOS: System Preferences > Dictation & Speech > Dictation > Use Enhanced Dictation
  • [Refs:macOS]: "Keeping Dictation on a Mac Private"
  • [Refs:Microphone]: "Amazon may give developers your private Alexa transcripts"

[2] Other

  • iOS: Settings > Privacy > iPad/iPhone Analytics: [none/all] Share iPad Analytics (with Apple), Share With App Developers, Share iCloud Analytics (with Apple)
  • macOS: System Preferences > Security&Privacy > Privacy > Analytics: [select] Share Mac Analytics (with Apple), Share with App Developers, Share iCloud Analytics (with Apple)