data leak iphone

Apple is the biggest name in the smartphone game, so, chances are, you’re reading this very article via an iPhone or iPad.

Likewise, there’s a pretty good chance you got here ‘cause of a notification like this: “This password appeared in a data leak.”

So you’re probably confused about the situation and asking yourself: “What is a data leak on iPhones?” or “How do I fix leaked passwords?”.

Let’s find that out!

    What does a data leak mean on iPhones?

    Even though Apple calls it a data leak, the notification means that your data ended up in a data breach, and your sensitive details are publicly exposed online.

    Data leaks are not the same as data breaches. The latter is related to hackers committing cyberattacks on company databases for stealing your data. 

    The former occurs due to mismanagement of data by companies (data scraping, employee leaks) and accidental user behavior (clicking malicious links, installing harmful files). 

    In short, both result in data leakage, even though the causes are different. Either way, exposing your data means turning into a sitting duck for criminals.

    Why did you receive this notification?

    Your iCloud Keychain notifies you when your password has appeared in a data breach and your accounts are vulnerable to misuse (iCloud Keychain is a service for Apple devices that securely stores your login credentials with end-to-end encryption and auto-fills them on a website or app). 

    This message pops up because Apple has expanded its iCloud Keychain with a cybersecurity feature called password monitoring. It continuously scans your saved passwords and compares them with a list of compromised passwords.

    So, the alert means criminals could have obtained your compromised passwords and gained access to your online accounts.

    From there, they can exploit your account information for financial gain. For example, by committing crimes under your name (spending your money, impersonating you) or selling your data on the dark web.

    How do you check breached accounts on an iPhone or iPad?

    Easily. All you have to do is:

    1. Open Settings.
    2. Tap the Passwords menu.
    3. Go to Security Recommendations.
    4. Turn on Detect Compromised Passwords.
    Turn on Detect Compromised Passwords.

    That’s it! Now you can view your compromised accounts on the Security Recommendations page. 

    There are two sections: High Priority and Other Recommendations. High Priority contains breached passwords, while Other Recommendations includes reused and weak passwords that could be better.

    Security recommendations
    Security recommendations

    How do you change all the passwords that were compromised?

    To change the password for a compromised account on your iPhone, follow these steps:

    1. Go to the Settings app and tap Passwords.
    2. Select Security Recommendations.
    3. Choose the account you’d like to change.
    4. On the account details page, tap Change Password on Website.
    On the account details page, tap Change Password on Website.

    Naturally, you need to change a breached password immediately. Your iOS device will also suggest generating a strong password for you, so definitely use that. Criminals will have a rough time cracking a password like that.

    Also, if you’d like to level up your password game, you can use a password manager instead. It is a handy tool that generates unique, long passwords, and you only need to remember the master password.

    What else can you do to protect your Apple device against data leakage?

    1. Set up two-factor authentication (2FA)

    2FA is a valuable feature that helps you keep your compromised accounts safe even if your saved passwords end up breached. Here’s how you can enable it on your iPhone and iPad:

    1. Go to your Settings app.
    2. Tap on your name at the top.
    3. Choose Password and Security.
    4. Select Two-Factor Authentication.
    5. Slide to set up.

    And that’s it. You’re good to go!

    2. Keep your passwords strong

    You might think that your saved passwords are solid, and you might be right. But it’s too early to celebrate. Make sure that your password is:

    • Unique for every site.
    • At least 12 characters long.
    • A mix of uppercase and lowercase letters and contains numbers and symbols.

    Or save yourself the hassle and use a password manager.

    3. Follow Security Recommendations

    It’s crucial to immediately change your reused or breached passwords on your iPhone so that you can keep your accounts safe from illegal access.

    With that in mind, open Settings and tap Passwords to access Security Recommendations from time to time. It is a great basic tool to keep track of your breached accounts. 

    4. Use Surfshark Alert

    Even though Apple’s password monitoring is a useful feature, it is far from perfect. The Surfshark Alert tool that comes with our One bundle is a better alternative. With it, you receive:

    • Real-time monitoring and email notifications about breaches;
    • Email monitoring;
    • Credit card monitoring;
    • National ID monitoring;
    • Fast processing of newly leaked data;
    • Scanning of the largest data breach database, leaving no stone breach unturned.

    You can also add an unlimited number of entries so that you can protect your relatives too!

    Plus, a 30-day money-back guarantee applies, so what’s the harm in testing it out?

    In a nutshell, should you be concerned about leaked passwords?

    Yes, you should. Most websites’ security practices are not up to par, leading to more and more data breaches every day. 

    So, it’s essential to take your online privacy into your own hands. To that end, why not take advantage of Surfshark to secure your digital life?

    Secure your identity online

    Get Surfshark Alert


    What is an iPhone password data leak?

    It is a data breach reported by your iCloud Keychain. A data breach is a cyberattack on company databases that causes private data (including passwords on your iPhone) to leak online.

    How does Apple know my password was in a data leak?

    Your Apple iCloud Keychain saves your passwords and auto-fills them into forms. It has a password monitoring feature that checks your saved passwords against a list of known leaked passwords. Then, it notifies you that your credentials have been breached.

    What happens if your data leaks?

    Your sensitive information is exposed on the internet, and criminals can use it to access your accounts, commit fraudulent transactions, impersonate you, or sell your data to the highest bidder on the dark web.

    Is a data breach serious?

    Yes, it is pretty serious. If your details are breached, they are up for grabs to anyone with malicious intent. It’s vital to act quickly – change your password, or contact your bank if financial details were compromised.