How to prevent apps on your smartphone from tracking your every move.
We used to download apps, enable permissions, and share data without thinking twice. Most people these days want more control over their information.
It starts with protecting you against endless data breaches, leaks, and hacks. When was the last time you checked that your information isn’t circulating the web so that anyone can find it? Tap or click to verify your email address against a database of top hacks.
Then you have to face the giants of Big Tech. It’s hard to do much online without Google and Facebook knowing it. Tap or click here for critical settings everyone should adjust to protect their privacy.
And what about all those apps on your phone? It’s easier than ever to see if they know exactly where you are and stop them if you want to.
Your location is yours to protect
Some apps need to know where you are to work properly. A lot of those who don’t need this information are asking for access and you probably said yes when you installed it.
On your iPhone or iPad, follow these steps to change your overall tracking preference:
• Faucet Settings, navigate to Privacy and press Rental services.
• If the first cursor is turned to, it means apps can track you.
• Drag it disabled if you want to universally prohibit your device from using location services.
The list of apps displayed under Location Services has access to your location and how often it is used. Tap a specific app if you want to change the settings. You can choose Never, Ask next time, When using the app, Where Always.
To take advantage of the transparency of Apple’s application tracking, change its settings by tapping Settings, pressing Privacy, by selecting Regular, and by tilting the Allow apps to request tracking.
On Android, start by checking which apps have access to your location:
• Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap Site. If it’s not there, search your Settings menu and find Location.
• Faucet Application authorization. You will see a list of apps that can access your location at any time, only while it is in use or when you give permission.
You can change the app permissions here or try this method:
• On your Home screen, find the app icon. Touch and hold the icon of the app you want to adjust.
• Press the Info icon> Permissions> Location.
• Choose from All the time, Only when using the app, Ask every time, Where Refuse.
Things to keep in mind
Turning off location services prevents your smartphone from tracking your location, but there are some drawbacks. The most obvious is that apps like Maps, Uber, and your weather app of choice won’t be able to determine your exact location.
To work around this problem, you can either change the setting so that apps only use your location when using the app, or manually turn it on or off as needed.
Ending location tracking entirely can be painful. Android and iOS provide built-in options to minimize and limit ad tracking if that’s more your speed.
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Also stop ad tracking
These changes will not prevent businesses from tracking your phone activity. They won’t limit the number of ads you see, but they will allow you to reset your Advertising ID and unlink any targeted advertising profiles associated with your gadgets.
This means less creepy ads that make it clear to advertisers what you are doing online and what your preferences are.
On iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch:
• Go to Settings > Privacy.
• Faucet Apple Advertising. Switch personalized ads to Deactivated.
• Go to Settings and press Google.
• Faucet Ads. To fall over to Disable ad personalization.
We view our gadgets as useful tools that make our lives easier, but they can also backfire on us. The data collected by your devices is so valuable that it could be used against you in a criminal trial, requested by the police, or even purchased by the government through a data broker. I sit down with Electronic Frontier Foundation technologist Bennett Cyphers and he reveals all the secrets you lose – and which devices fly the most.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.
Discover all the latest technologies on the Kim Komando show, the nation’s biggest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and gives advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.