Android Tips and Guides

Best ways to prevent Android apps from tracking you

When we install any application, It asks us to enable certain permissions like Location, storage, and contacts. We often give the apps whatever permission they require without reviewing the terms. This allows apps to access all our data and track our location. In most cases, these permissions are crucial to the functioning of an application but sometimes it’s just for advertisement. so, it becomes important to restrict the permissions and prevent Android apps from tracking you.

According to research shared with CNET by the International Computer Science Institute, roughly 17,000 Android apps capture identifying information that builds a permanent record of your device’s behavior. In most situations, the data collection appears to be in violation of Google’s policy on collecting data that can be used to target users for advertising.

We are moving towards an era of technology and AI, while all this may sound pretty cool, it’s also very concerning. Users need to take their privacy and data more seriously. Let’s dive into the article and we’ll show you how to figure out which Android app is tracking you and how to prevent Android apps from doing so.

How to prevent Android apps from tracking you?

The problem of tracking and data selling is deep-rooted but it can still be solved. Advertisement is the primary reason behind it.  All the free apps and social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook rely on Ads to keep their business moving. It is said wisely that “When something is free, you are the product they are selling”. So how do you prevent Android apps from selling your data and tracking you?

1. Disable location permission

Many apps use your location to provide you with personalized services, in most cases it’s helpful, but some apps require your location solely for advertisement purposes, In this case, it is best to turn off location.

But it’s not that easy, you’ll need to find out which app actually needs your location and which doesn’t. You can review the terms of service of an application to find more details.

Once you have identified the apps that unnecessarily use your location, Go to the settings> App permission> location and disable it.

2. Disable Unnecessary permissions

While most permissions are required for an app to function, some apps also ask you to enable some unnecessary permission, Permissions that have nothing to do with them. For example, A photo editing app asks you to give Contacts permission.

Users rarely spot these, but it is very important, not to sound paranoid but this can put your privacy at a huge risk. The best way to deal with this problem is to carefully review the app permission before allowing them.

3. Disable Facebook and Google from tracking you

It will not be wrong to say that Facebook and Google know you better than you know yourself. You may remember the recent controversy between Facebook and Apple. Apple launched a new feature in 2021 that stopped Facebook from tracking users’ data. Facebook was left in a daze like a fish out of water when Apple unveiled this. This shows how much the social media giant relies on your data. You can prevent Facebook from tracking you by going to your Facebook Information>Off-Facebook Activity> Clear History and Manage Future Activity. Here you will see the list of apps tracking you (You’ll be surprised). You can manually disable these apps from sharing your data.

3. Use Paid apps and tools

All the free apps and services rely on ads to keep their business up and running, which means they share your data with Facebook and Google. But that’s not the case when you use paid services, You may have noticed that the first thing any app mentions when offering a paid subscription is “Ad-free experience”. It’s going to get hard on your wallet, but it’s worth it.

What apps are tracking you and how to prevent it

Starting with a review of the apps on your phone that have access to location data is a smart approach. Many apps need to track your location for valid reasons, so be aware that disabling location tracking may prevent some apps from working properly. If a navigation tool, such as Google Maps, doesn’t know where you are, it won’t be very useful.

Many apps on your device collect your personal information and share it with advertising companies to boost the search results and give you the exact results you may be searching for. Apps collect your data mostly to advertise, the apps can track you by linking your Advertising ID — a one-time-use, resetting number used to customize the advertising — to additional identifiers on your phone that are difficult or impossible to remove. The IMEI and Android ID are the device’s unique signatures. Only around a third of apps that gather identifiers use the Advertising ID, as Google’s best practices for developers encourage.

Apps to keep an eye on for location monitoring include:

Ridesharing Apps

Apps like Uber and Ola, Rapido will track your position for their drivers, and they may do so on a regular basis rather than only when you require a ride. These apps normally don’t have a mechanism to turn off location tracking without disabling them.

You can prevent them from tracking you and set the settings for the apps to track you while using, or the easiest way is to turn off your location, but this doesn’t work when you lose your phone, turning off your location makes it difficult to find your phone.

Applications for news and weather

Often these apps track your location data in order to deliver more relevant information based on your current location, which might include the temperature, weather report, or the local news through your mobile. However, they are rarely required to do so in order to function. These apps track your location data and connect you to the local news and your location’s weather report, this might be useful but these apps usually keep a track of your location to give you accurate results. Turning off the location for these specific apps would be useful if you want to prevent them from tracking you.

Automobile insurance applications

Many automobile insurance apps may use your phone’s sensors to assess not only your location but also how fast you’re driving or how hard you brake, among other things. This can be turned off manually by selecting the app and turning off the location permissions.

Deals and Coupon Applications

Booking apps like Trivago, Bookings.com, and food order apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats, collect your data and your location to get you the deals nearby, These apps strive to collect as much information about you as possible for advertising purposes, which usually includes your location information and your personal information.

We can restrict these apps from tracking the location all the time simply by removing permissions and changing them to allow while using the app only on Android.

Online Streaming apps

Yes, even Netflix and YouTube track your location & browsing history, and they don’t have a solid justification for it other than possibly dealing with geo-restricted content. However, you can manually remove all your history on Netflix.

Your YouTube searches and plays are meticulously kept in your YouTube history in order to aid YouTube in providing better search results and recommended video clips.

To see all of your YouTube searches, return to the Account Activity screen, hit YouTube Search History, then Manage History. (Searches from any device that is signed into your Google account are included in the list.)

Tap the three-dot menu button next to a search to remove it from the list, then tap Remove from Search history. You can also remove the full list by tapping the Clear all search history button.

Social Media Apps

Some of the most infamous location and data-sharing platforms. However, you can alter permissions to this app but at times most of your personal information has already been collected by them for advertising purposes.

Final Words

Through your phone’s settings and special permissions, you can prevent your apps from collecting your data in the above-mentioned ways. Unfortunately, there is no easy method to identify or delete the information that corporations collect when you use associated apps. If you wish to take matters into your own hands, you can contact the company that is collecting your information and read their privacy policies. Most likely, they’ll have already sold your information by then.

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