Sat. Jun 6th, 2020

How to Stop Your Smartphone From Tracking You and Sharing Your Data

Have you ever wondered how much your smartphone knows about you?

Quite a lot.

In fact, if you think about it, your smartphone is basically a handheld version of your best friend. It knows your favorite phrases, where you work, where you live, where you enjoy eating, and it knows where you are sitting or standing at this very moment.

How? Good old, GPS.

And while GPS is essential for directions, it also serves another purpose–targeted advertising. Companies like Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and many others make money off mobile ads. And your personal information is the gas that fuels their data-mining machines.

Why is your phone allowed to track you and share your data with unknown third parties? In short, it boils down to that pesky privacy policy and terms of agreements contract.

The one we all get, but hardly anyone ever reads.

And buried within the pages are data sharing policies. Sadly, no matter what device you use accessing the internet subjects you to behavioral tracking.

But, if the thought of your phone tracking you makes you uncomfortable, cheer up, there’s a solution!


Location Settings

Turn off location settings on Apple Devices:

1.     Click “Settings”

2.     Go to “Privacy”

3.     Select “Location Services”

4.     Scroll down to “System Services”

5.     Choose “Significant Locations” to see the logged record of where you’ve been; de-select this to turn it off

You can also clear your history here by clicking “Clear History.”

Change location settings on Android Devices:

1.     Open the App Drawer and go to “Settings”

2.     Scroll down and tap “Location”

3.     Scroll down and tap “Google Location Settings”

4.     Tap “Location Reporting” and “Location History” and switch the slider to off

5.     To delete your device’s location cache, tap “Delete Location History” at the bottom of the screen under “Location History”

6.     Repeat this process for each Google Account you have on your Android device


Limit Ad Tracking

On Apple Devices:

iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch – Go to Settings >> Privacy >> Advertising >> Toggle “Limit Ad Tracking” to On.

On Android Devices:

Go to Settings >> Google >> Ads >> Toggle on “Opt out of ads personalization

Stop Google from tracking your every move

Google services have recently come under fire for storing your location data – even if you’ve tweaked the privacy settings on your iPhone or Android gadgets.

To turn off Google’s location tracking for good, try these settings:

Turn off Web and App Activity:

1.     Sign in to your Google Account.

2.     Click on “Your personal info” in the “Personal info & Privacy” section.

3.     On the left-hand pane, click on “Manage your Google Activity” and select “Go To Activity Controls.”


Use a private browser on your phone

Many computer users are familiar with private web browsers. Lesser well-known are the browsers that allow you to search the internet on a mobile device anonymously.

One such app is Mozilla’s free Firefox Focus app. This anonymous mobile web browser blocks advertising, analytics and social trackers by default. It also erases passwords and browsing history after each session.

The mobile versions of Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s Edge also have incognito and InPrivate modes you can use.

If you don’t want a mobile browser that’s associated with the big data brokers, you can try the third-party app Dolphin browser.

If you’re on a Samsung smartphone, you can also use the company’s Samsung Internet app. This browser has a built-in ad tracking blocker that will keep other sites from tracking your online activity.

If you don’t like the idea of Google recording all your search terms, alternative engines such as Yippy, DuckDuckGo and Ixquick don’t track you as aggressively.


One last thing:

While you’re tweaking your phones features, keep in mind that your personal information can also be accessed through malicious viruses and malware. So, phone protection is equally as important. If you’re also interested in phone protection, check out our article about endpoint protection software here.