How to stop smartphone apps from collecting your personal data

Smartphone apps can collect a whole lot of data about you: 

Your name and email address, location history, personal contacts, photos and videos, purchases, health and fitness data, financial information, browsing and search history, your IP address and other sensitive data.

Why? Your personal data is worth money — and although Apple and Google are working to crack down, these companies may share and sell your data to third-parties, usually without you even knowing.

If you’re concerned about your privacy, here are a few steps you can take to further protect your data on your smartphone.

Stop third-party apps from collecting data on iPhone

  1. Limit app tracking, to prevent apps from tracking your activity across other companies’ apps and websites:
    • Go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking > Toggle off “Allow Apps to Request to Track”
    • Toggle any app in the list below to “off” as well
  2. Limit app access, , to contacts, microphone, photos, health, etc:
    • Go to Settings > Privacy 
    • Click on the category you would like to limit app access (for example, Photos)
    • Click on an app in the list and change the permissions
  3. Limit location sharing
    • Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services (Note: Location services may be essential for some apps to function properly or as expected, think ride-sharing, mileage tracking or weather apps.)
    • Choose an app to change its permissions

Stop third-party apps from collecting data on Android

  1. Limit location sharing:
    • Go to Settings > Location
    • Choose specific apps to modify their location permissions
  2. Turn off diagnostic data sharing and marketing information:
    • Go to Settings > Privacy
    • Toggle off Send diagnostic data & Receive marketing information
  3. Turn off ads personalization:
    • Go to Settings > Google
    • Tap Ads. Toggle on Opt out of ads personalization
    • Depending on your Android model, you may need to go to Settings > Privacy to access this option
    • Delete or reset your Advertising ID.
  4. Remove permissions from apps:
    • Go to Settings > Privacy > Permission manager
    • Choose and tap a permission to modify settings
    • Choose the app and tap Don’t Allow, Ask every time or Allow only while using the app