You’ve strengthened the protections for the privacy of your online accounts,
so you can confidently put your phone in your pocket and walk out the door.
However, many people are unaware that their phones’ software can track their every action.
Apple and Google can collect data about how you use your device,
whether you have an iOS or Android device: where you go, what apps you use, what search terms you type into the web browser, and so on.
Although this may appear to be overly intrusive, the corporations do make use of a lot of your information in beneficial ways.
Apple, for example, uses crash reports from apps to correct issues in its software,
while Google tracks your whereabouts so it can estimate how long it will take you to get home.
Are you okay with your phone disclosing its position if it means you’ll be able to track it down if it goes missing?
If you value your privacy more than these advantages,
you may choose how much you trust these companies with your data and how much information you’re willing to disclose.
Whatever option you choose, be mindful of what you’re sharing and how you can limit it if necessary.
IOS PRIVACY VS. ANDROID PRIVACY
Apple collects data from a smaller number of locations than Google.
A lot of your personal information, like what Siri knows about you,
stays on your device and never makes its way back to Apple’s servers.
Apple also stores less personal data on its customers. This anonymized data enables the organization to gain insight into its users’ habits without having to store entire profiles of people.
Google claims that the additional data it collects, which includes everything from what you’ve seen on YouTube to your home address, allows it to better personalize its services and apps for consumers,
including programs that recognize you across all platforms. We’ll leave it up to you to decide.
Your phone’s privacy settings, regardless of which operating system you use,
will allow you to determine the data Apple or Google can gather about your activities.
Here’s how to decide which information you’re willing to share—and which you’re not.
IMPORTANT PRIVACY SETTINGS ON IOS
The Privacy tab in the Settings app on an iPhone is the obvious place to start.
To adjust how Apple can use your location and how it can’t, tap Location Services, then System Services.
For example, if you tap Significant Locations, you may utilize a toggle switch to decide whether iOS keeps track of places you visit frequently.
To proceed, you may need to enter your passcode.
This information is used by Apple to provide location-based services in Calendar, Maps, and other Apple apps.
You can also clear your iPhone’s location history from a similar screen: On the popup menu, tap Clear History, then Clear History again.
From My Find iPhone to Routing & Traffic, the location-use menu has dozens of options.
It’s up to you to decide which ones you want to enable.
From the main Location Services menu, you can also turn location tracking on or off for specific apps, whether they’re Apple-made or not.
Apple collects data on your phone’s hardware and software performance in addition to your location.
You can control how much of this anonymized data Apple sends back to base and developers by returning to the Privacy page and tapping Analytics & Improvements.
You may also choose whether Apple uses your data to try to offer more relevant adverts to you.
To turn off targeted ads on iOS, tap Apple Advertising, then toggle off Personalized Ads.
If you want to learn more about why the data is gathered and how it is used,
you can read the explanatory notes that come with each of these choices.
It’s worthwhile to educate yourself on the subject to find a balance between privacy and convenience.
Stopping ad tracking may not necessarily lessen the number of ads you view,
but it will raise the likelihood that they will not be of interest to you.
You may modify applications individually outside of the Privacy menu.
For example, go to Siri & Search in settings, press Siri & Dictation History,
and select Delete Siri & Dictation History to delete all Siri knows about you.
On the popup menu that opens, confirm your selection.
You can turn off suggestions based on sites you’ve visited in the past and block Safari from presenting commonly visited sites if you access the Safari menu in Settings.
Remember that even if Apple isn’t collecting data on you, many apps and websites will,
and you’ll need to configure these app settings independently.
If you have Google apps loaded on your iPhone, this includes them.
If you open Google Maps for iOS, tap your avatar, then Settings, you may disable Google from tracking your iPhone’s location (the Personal content menu) and the places you’ve been in Maps (the Maps history menu).
Apple does not monitor or track much of what you do on your iPhone, such as your text messaging history.
Apple is also less interested in creating a profile of you for its marketers than Google.
So, when it comes to iOS privacy, you should concentrate on locations and previous searches.
Just keep in mind that if you disable the tracking of this data, you will lose access to the monitoring’s useful functions.
ON ANDROID, PRIVACY SETTINGS ON GOOGLE
As previously stated, Google’s apps capture more data about you across more platforms than Apple’s apps.
To be fair, Google also provides an easy-to-use interface for organizing all of this information.
Swipe down from the top of your Android device’s screen,
then touch and hold Location to see if your phone knows where you are at all times and permit or refuse apps access to that data.
Location History is another option that allows you to prevent location data from being shared back to Google (so that it will be synced across all your devices and the web).
Go to Timeline, then Settings, and then Location History to find it.
Choose Google from the Settings app, then open the Google Settings app to control the data logged by Android and other Google services.
You may then either utilize Google’s Privacy Checkup or manually customize the various forms of activity,
such as location tracking, web search logging, voice commands you’ve used on Android, and so on.
You may access and delete information in numerous categories under Manage your Google Account,
as well as prevent this information from being logged in the future.
Choose Data & privacy, then Web & App Activity to erase your “OK Google” voice searches, for example.
If you disable the option to save audio recordings, no subsequent voice searches will be recorded.
The other aspects of the activity, such as location and web searches, function in the same way.
You’ll have to select where you want to draw the line, much like with Apple’s services.
Google promises that tracking what you’ve looked at on the web and asked Google about in the past will help the search engine provide more relevant answers in the future.
As you progress through the menu, Google, like Apple, provides a wealth of background information on each option and type of data.
Ad Settings can be found farther down the Data & Privacy screen. If you press here,
you’ll be able to pick whether or not the adverts you see are personalized,
as well as provide Google with some information about the topics you’re interested in based on your previous interactions with Google apps and Android.
Keep in mind that Google collects information from a variety of sources, including Android TV boxes and the Google Nest Hub you may have installed in your living room.
Go to your Google account page on the web to manage the data acquired from all of these sources.
Outside of Google’s software, it’s a good idea to examine what specific apps are logging about you, just like on Apple devices.
You may accomplish this by looking at the privacy policies of each app.
Uninstall the app in question or change its permissions in the Apps & notifications section of Settings if you see something you don’t like.