your phone and your privacy


It’s Your Phone and Your Privacy

January 17th, 2022

It’s your phone and it’s your information. Increasingly, hanging onto your privacy is your call. The most recent updates to iPhone and Android operating systems allow you greater control over what data the apps on your phone can collect. Here’s how to dial up your privacy settings.

A little background

Just about all apps gather information about you. Some gather a lot, some just a bit. Even seemingly innocuous apps can be invasive. Weather apps, for example, gather and share your location data—valuable information to marketing firms trying to build a profile of your online behavior. This is the root of the tracking economy.

Boost your privacy

If you want to keep the apps on your phone out of your business—and, really, you should—start here. The New York Times thinks it’s a good idea, too.

Tap the “Settings” app and then select “Privacy.” You will see a range of menus and screens with switches to control privacy levels. For example, you can control which apps can access your phone’s microphone or camera.

You can fine-tune privacy controls and designate access to information for each app on your phone. It might take a few minutes to browse through every app, but it’s worth the effort. After all, this is a chance to begin to restore your privacy, to assert some control over the information you share.

The companies behind the apps you use don’t really need to know where, exactly, you and your phone are at all times. The latest versions of iOS and Android allow you to share just an approximate location instead of your specific coordinates. Android and Apple also enable you to adjust settings to keep advertisers from homing in on your whereabouts and refining that ever-growing profile.

These steps are the first in long, long, long journey toward privacy, something most of us have sacrificed over the last decade. There is more to do, but this is a worthy start. It’s your phone, your information, and your call.

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