Quickly Stop Your iPhone Apps From Accessing Your Location, Microphone and Camera

Apple's new Safety Check feature of iOS 16 lets you revoke permissions from third-party apps.

Nelson Aguilar
Nelson Aguilar is an LA-based tech how-to writer and graduate of UCLA. With more than a decade of experience, he covers Apple and Google and writes on iPhone and Android features, privacy and security settings and more.
Nelson Aguilar
2 min read
Safety Check and Privacy screen during the Apple event with speaker in front

Apple announced the Safety Check last year.

Apple/Screenshot by CNET

Safety Check is a relatively new security feature for the iPhone designed to quickly show you all the information you're sharing with someone else (like your location or account credentials), and then instantly revoke those permissions, in the case of domestic abuse or another similar situation.

And while Safety Check is meant to protect you from people first, it can also protect you from third-party applications that have access to important permissions, like your camera, microphone, photos or contacts. If you feel uncomfortable with an app having access to a certain feature or setting, Safety Check is a quick way to scope it out and stop this access completely. 

Here's how you can use Safety Check to beef up your security on iOS 16.

If you want to learn more about Apple's privacy and security features, check out our stories on the new Lockdown Mode, Sign in With Apple and AirTag stalking.

Use Safety Check to view and revoke app permissions on your iPhone

On your iPhone, launch the Settings app and go to Privacy & Security > Safety Check. Here you'll be greeted with a few options: Emergency Reset, which is used for exactly that, emergencies, and Manage Sharing & Access, which is what we'll be using to manage app permissions.

Safety Check settings in iOS

Use Manage Sharing & Access to customize which apps have access to your information.

Apple/Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

After tapping Manage Sharing & Access, use Face or Touch ID to access the security feature. Next, you'll get a detailed summary of what you can review, including people, apps and account security. Again, we're focused on app permissions, so we'll be reviewing all your applications and what information they have access to.

Go through the Sharing with People section by hitting the blue Skip button until you reach App Access, which is the second step in the Safety Check feature. You should see a list of your third-party apps, along with a short description of what information (Bluetooth, camera, location and so on) is being shared.

To revoke an app's permissions, check the circle next to the app and then tap the Stop App Access button at the bottom of the page. You can revoke permissions for multiple apps at once by selecting more than one. If you want to view everything a specific app has access to, tap on the information button (ⓘ). You can revoke specific permissions, such as local network or location, instead of every single permission.

Managing app access to information in Safety Check feature

You can manage permissions per-app or by information (i.e. microphone).

Apple/Screenshot by Nelson Aguilar/CNET

The most extreme thing you can do is hit Select All & Stop Access. But applications need certain permissions to work, so I wouldn't suggest this option.

You can also revoke permissions by information. If you tap on the Information tab at the top, you'll see all the information that's being accessed listed, instead of the apps. For example, you can remove media library or calendar permissions for every app that has it, at once.

Once you're finished revoking app permissions, you can either skip through the rest of Safety Check or use the Quick Exit option at the top right.