This iPhone feature may threaten your privacy, but there is a way to disable it

This iPhone feature may threaten your privacy, but there is a way to disable it

One new iPhone app has a feature that links your smartphone with devices of nearby users with access to your personal information. And while Apple says it is completely secured, here's an advice for those who want to be as safe as possible.

Updating your smartphone OS to the latest version is one of the main measures you can take to ensure its stability and protection from threats. And it seems that everyone, or almost everyone, is aware of it. But not everyone knows that new updates can sometimes install new applications on your phone without your consent. If you don't read the detailed description of the new features included in the update, you might not even notice that there are new apps on your device. These apps usually upgrade your phone and are therefore very useful. However, it is prudent to check the privacy settings of this app before using it on your iPhone.

In mid-December 2023, Apple released an update to its mobile operating system, iOS version 17.2. This update brings a number of new features and improvements, including support for spatial video on iPhone 15 Pro, improved security in iMessage, and the new Journal app that installs automatically. Synced across all Apple devices, Journal allows users to quickly and easily record their daily thoughts, events and experiences in journal form using a variety of tools, stickers, photos and audio recordings. Immediately after the update was released, a number of experts expressed concern about some of the risks associated with this application. The topic was about security vulnerabilities that can occur when using your device's Bluetooth. Apple patched these vulnerabilities when it was introducing Journal to users, and the problem was seemingly resolved. However, one feature of the app still remains controversial.

Journal has a feature called Journaling Suggestions, which allows your smartphone to automatically connect with other users' devices nearby and, based on their experiences, determine which photos, trips, recordings, and moments to highlight in your app. "Journaling Suggestions may also use contextual information to determine which suggestions may be more meaningful or relevant to you. Journaling Suggestions uses Bluetooth to detect the number of devices and contacts around you without storing which of these specific contacts were around. This information is used to improve and prioritize your suggestions," Apple explains. In other words, your smartphone itself determines which people are important or close to you at a certain moment. The Journaling Suggestions splash screen included in the app provides information about how user data is processed and how user privacy is protected. However, despite strong security measures, there remains concern that your personal data may be exposed when data is exchanged between devices.

Fortunately, for those who don't want other people nearby to connect to your device, Apple gives you the ability to turn off this option at any time. To do this, go to to Settings > Privacy & Security > Journaling Suggestions. Here you can disable the "Prefer Suggestions with Others" option, after which nearby users will not be able to detect your device.