Image: James Martin/CNET

Devices using iOS 13 are some of the most secure in the world; however, there are settings you can change to make your iOS experience even more secure. After implementing these extra security settings, if your iOS device ever falls into the wrong hands, your personal data will be better protected.

SEE: Apple’s Face ID: Cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to disable access to the Lightning port for data transfer

The Lightning port on iOS devices is an entry point for accessing various services on iOS devices. Plugging your device into unknown USB ports for charging can be a security risk because it could potentially expose access to Photos, Contacts, and more.

To disable access to the Lightning port for data transfer, perform these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Navigate to Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode.

  3. Enter your passcode.

  4. Uncheck the option for USB Accessories (Figure A). This ensures that USB accessories cannot access your iOS device when it has been more than an hour since your iPhone was locked.

Figure A

Turning off the USB Accessories option makes your iOS device more secure when connecting to accessories over the Lightning port.

How to set a strong passcode in iOS 13

If you are not using a passcode or are using a four-digit passcode, it’s time to upgrade your security. To do so, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Navigate to Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode.

  3. Select Change Passcode.

  4. Enter your existing passcode.

  5. Select Passcode Options.

  6. Select 6-Digit Numeric Code or Custom Numeric Code, and enter at least six digits for the passcode (Figure B). You also have options for Custom Alphanumeric Code, Custom Numeric Code, and 4-Digit Numeric Code. Using a Custom Alphanumeric Code with uppercase and lowercase letters and special characters is the most secure option but is more difficult for you to unlock your device.

Figure B

A passcode containing more than four digits or an alphanumeric code is more secure.

How to automatically delete messages in iOS 13

iMessages are encrypted and can be stored on devices and in iCloud, but for additional security and privacy, you may want to have older conversations automatically deleted after a certain amount of time.

To set auto removal on older messages, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Navigate to Messages | Keep Messages.

  3. Select 30-Days, 1 Year, or Forever.

As a bonus, this frees up space on your devices, giving you more room to store photos, apps, and more.

SEE: Apple reveals worldwide national security requests for customer data (CNET)

How to audit privacy settings for apps in iOS 13

One of the biggest changes with iOS 13 is the granularity for more privacy settings, including revamped location privacy.

One thing all users need to do each month or every few months is audit their privacy settings to ensure that trusted apps have access to the appropriate privacy settings and untrusted apps don’t.

To do this, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Select Privacy and then disable apps in these categories that you no longer want to have access to that particular iOS service: Contacts, Bluetooth, Microphone, Speech Recognition, Camera, Health, Files And Folders, and Location Services (Figure C).

Figure C

Select each of the privacy categories, and ensure that only apps you trust have access to those features.

How to disable biometrics access in iOS 13

If you are ever in a situation where you need to disable biometrics–either Touch ID or Face ID–on your device, there’s a way to quickly do so.

To disable the biometrics and require the passcode when you unlock your device, press and hold the Volume Up Or Down button along with the Sleep/Wake button. When the Power Off button is displayed, press the Power button again.

You will be required to enter your passcode to unlock and re-enable Face ID or Touch ID.

SEE: How to control location tracking on your iPhone in iOS 13 (TechRepublic)

How to set your iOS 13 device to automatically erase after 10 failed passcode attempts

If you want even greater privacy, you can set your iOS 13 device to erase itself after 10 incorrect passcode attempts, rendering the contents useless to a thief. Follow these steps to enable this setting.

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Navigate to Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode.

  3. Enable the Erase Data option.