There are hundreds of thousands of free and premium apps available in App Store. Though all those apps pass Apple’s stringent security criteria, most of the apps need permissions to access features on your iPhone. For example, a video conferencing app needs an access to your camera and microphone for you to connect to the calls. Over period you might have provided access to lot of apps. If you wonder how to change app permissions in iPhone and revert back unnecessary permissions, here is how you can do that.
Initial App Permission Request
Let us explain with some examples so that it is easy to understand the permissions you grant for apps. Microsoft Lens is the popular app for scanning documents and reading text from images using OCR technology. When you install this app and setup, you will see a screen asking you to allow access. The app needs access to photos for scanning, you can deny this access or provide access to selected photos or to all photos. The same Lens app also need access to your camera for taking pictures.
Similarly, most of the apps ask permissions for sending notifications, using cellular data, accessing microphone, using location services, etc.
View Granted App Permissions
Unfortunately, most of the users simply press “OK” or “Allow” to all the pop-ups without understanding. Though it is needed and not a problem for granting access to reputed apps, it is always necessary to be careful instead of worrying later. For Lens app, in most cases you do not need to provide access to all photos. If you forgot what access you have provided for apps or wanted to revert the access back, then it is easy to do that in iPhone.
There are two possible ways to view and change app permissions in iPhone.
Viewing All Apps Accessing Specific Permission
As mentioned, iPhone groups and categorize the permissions required for major features in your phone like camera, microphone, photos, etc. You can view permission categories and find all the apps having access to each category. For example, you can find all the apps having access to your camera or photos. This is useful if you want to analyze the permissions based on the feature and do not know the name of specific app.
- Tap on Settings app and go to Privacy section of your iPhone.
- Here you will find different categories and tap on a specific item you want to check. For example, tap on Camera to find all the apps having permission to access your camera.
- As you can see, Microsoft Lens app is having the access. Simply turn off the button to disable the access.
Remember, the app will request your permission again whenever you open it. Some apps will not work without appropriate permissions, as in this case with Microsoft Lens app which needs camera access.
View and Change Permissions of Individual Apps
It is also possible in iPhone to view all the permissions granted to individual app and change the permission if required. For example, you can view the permissions granted to Microsoft Lens app and remove the access to all photos. This is useful if you know the app name and wanted to change the permissions you have wrongly granted to that app.
- Tap on Settings app and scroll down to see the list of apps installed on your iPhone.
- Find the app for which you want to change the permissions and tap on it. The apps will be listed in alphabetical order so that you can easily find based on the sorting.
- Let’s take the same example of Lens app. Tapping on it will show the “Allow Lens to Access” as the first option.
- You can find the app is having access to photos, camera and Siri & Search.
- You can disable camera access by turning off the switch. For photos access, tap on that option and change the permissions to none. You can also choose the “Selected Photos” option and give permissions for only few pictures that you want to scan/edit with the app.
Analyzing App Permissions with App Privacy Report
Android offers Permission Manager and Privacy Dashboard options to analyze the permissions apps are accessing on your phone. Similarly, iPhone also offers an App Privacy Report feature which you can enable and find which apps are accessing which permissions.
- Go to “Settings > Privacy” section and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
- Tap on “App Privacy Report” and then tap on “Turn On App Privacy Report” to enable the option.
- With this, your iPhone will start recording the permissions accessed by all the apps, network activity and the domains contacted by the apps.
- Under the “App Network Activity” section, you can tap the app and find the list of domains the app tried to contact when you opened it.
Based on this information, you can understand the permissions used and the contacted domains when opening the apps. Remember, this is only a report for analysis the app permission usage. You will not be able to change the permissions directly from the report section. You need to use one of the above explained methods to change the permissions already granted for the apps.
Disable App Tracking
Earlier apps used to track your activities across your device to show personalized advertisements. However, Apple made this as optional and now you can stop the apps from tracking you. Apple claims they do not track across apps for ad targeting but still show personalized ads based on your usage statistics. You can disable this by going to Privacy settings page, tap on “Apple Advertising” option at the bottom of the page. On the next page, disable “Personalized Ads” option to disable showing targeted ads from Apple.
To disable tracking from other apps, you can do it in two ways similar to managing permissions.
- Go to “Settings > Privacy > Tracking” section and view all the apps having access to track across all other apps installed on your phone. Turn the slider off against each app to disable tracking and make sure to enable “Allow Apps to Request to Track” option.
- For individual apps, find the app from “Settings” page and tap on it. Disable “Allow Tracking” or similar option that shows in the app settings page.
Cellular Data Usage for Apps
Though using cellular data is not precisely a permission, still apps will request you to confirm whether you would allow WLAN or cellular or both. If you find the data usage is high with apps like YouTube, then you can revoke the cellular usage by going to “Settings > Cellular” section. Tap on the app that uses large data and choose “Off” option.
Similarly, you can access individual app settings page and tap on “Wireless Data” option and turn it “Off”.
As you can see Apple offers a complete control of permissions granted to apps. You can any time check and change the permissions based on categories or view all permission granted to individual app and disable them. in addition, you can use the App Privacy Report to analyze the usage of permissions and find the apps misusing the permissions.