Turn off these default smartphone settings to protect your privacy

Our smartphones are amazing little machines. But did you know that these devices can collect a lot of personal data about our usage habits by default without us even knowing?

It’s true. Manufacturers and app makers are collecting data by default to improve their products, fix bugs, and even serve up advertisements — but sharing too much information is unnecessary and probably not in our best interests.

In this week’s tip, we’ll give you a few quick ways you can turn off these default settings to protect your privacy.

Turn off these default settings on Apple devices

  • Allow Apps to Request to Track allows app manufacturers to track your usage across other apps and websites. By turning off this default setting, you can automatically deny all apps from tracking.

To turn it off: Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Tracking > Toggle off Allow Apps to Request to Track

  • iPhone Analytics allows Apple to track how you use your device to improve its services and devices, but it could drain your battery, too.

To turn it off: Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Analytics & Improvements > Toggle off Share iPhone [& Watch] Analytics

While you’re there, you can toggle off sharing iCloud analytics as well.

  • Apple Advertising. Apple promises that it does not track you, but it can personalize ads for you among its own sites and apps and you may not want to share this kind of data.

To turn it off: Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Apple Advertising > Toggle off Personalized Ads

  • Location Services allows apps to know your current location. It’s an important setting when using maps, a rideshare service or another app that relies on your location to function properly. However, many apps that have know business knowing your location still want to know where you are and where you’ve been.

To turn it off on an app-by-app basis: Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > then click on the app you want to change > choose from the options Never/Ask Next Time/While Using the App/Always.

A tip from the New York Times: You can also turn off Apple-specific location services tracking by scrolling down to the bottom of the list, choosing System Services, and toggling off “iPhone Analytics and Routing & Traffic to prevent the device from sharing geodata with Apple for improving Apple Maps.”

Turn off these default settings on Android devices

  • Turn Off or Limit History by visiting https://myactivity.google.com/ and changing the settings for Web & App Activity, Location History and YouTube History. You can set these to never store your history or to auto-delete after a set period of time.
  • Personalizations allow Google to track you around the web. You probably want to turn this off.

Go to: myaccount.google.com > Manage your data & privacy > Turn off Web & App Activity, Location History, and YouTube History.

To turn off personalized ads, click on My Ads Center > Toggle off Personalized Ads.

  • Location Tracking. Just like iPhone, Android devices can track your location and you can turn this off as well. The settings may differ by manufacturer or your OS version, but to turn this off on an app-by-app basis:

Go to Settings > Privacy > Permissions manager > Location > then choose the permissions for each app (Allowed all the time, allowed only while in use, or denied)

To learn more about protecting your privacy on your Android device, visit this great post from Android Police.