Apple has worked hard to secure the privacy of its users’ data. There have been a lot of improvements in terms of giving users more control to manage data sharing with apps, especially after several user data leak reports in the old days. With the iOS 14 update, a new feature would let you control which apps access other devices on your local network.
Whenever you download an app like Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Google Meet, etc. on your iPhone, you’ll see a prompt asking that the app wants to “find and connect devices to your local network“. In this article, we will explain how it works and how to manage apps that access local networks on iPhone.
What does this privacy control mean?
If you are playing a game or watching a movie on Netflix, you can mirror your iphone screen wirelessly to your TV. It is a function of AirPlay. Similarly, when you want to play a song from Spotify on your HomePod or other smart speakers, you need to allow Spotify to access that speaker connected to your local network. After you install and open an app for the first time, you will get a prompt that the app wants to search and access devices on your local network and you have two options – Do not allow and OK.
This privacy control lets you choose whether or not to allow an app to access your data. If you grant this permission, the app will access other devices connected to your local network and collect information about how you use them. If you allow this permission to Spotify, the app will start collecting data about your device usage habits. But some apps like Facebook can also start creating an ad profile based on your preferences.
When should you allow access to the local network
This feature of scanning devices connected to the local network is nothing new. This was a background activity aimed at enhancing your experience. But after iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, it started showing up as a prompt in apps. If you are confident about the security and privacy of the app and want to use it to connect to devices such as smart speakers and smart TVs, you will need to tap OK when you receive the guest. Some apps in categories like Music, Smart Home, Games, and Streaming won’t work if you deny this permission.
But if you get this prompt after installing a banking app or any app that asks for LAN access seems nonsensical, we recommend tapping Don’t Allow when the prompt pops up. Also, if you are not planning to connect this app on your iPhone with your smart speaker or smart TV, you can consider denying this permission. This will prevent these apps from collecting information about your other connected devices.
How to manage applications that access the local network
If you previously allowed the app to access your local network, you can disable it on your iPhone. These steps also apply to iPad users. Make sure you’re using iOS 14 and above or iPadOS 14 and above.
Step 1: Open the Settings app.
2nd step: Scroll down and go to Privacy & Security.
Step 3: Tap on Local Network.
Step 4: Tap the toggle next to the app you want to disable access to.
What happens if you deny access to the local network
If you don’t allow certain apps to access devices connected to your local network, they will continue to work on your iPhone as they should. The only difference will be that they will not interact with other devices connected to your local network. These apps will also be able to use Apple system services like AirDropAirPlay, AirPrint and HomeKit.
Manage access to devices on the local network
Apple always keeps an eye on how to constantly improve your data privacy. With the release of iOS 16, the company introduced the feature of Security check on iPhone to prevent access to the data of users who unfortunately find themselves in abusive relationships.