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How to Protect Your Privacy on Apps

Privacy on Apps

It’s critical to understand app privacy settings. When you download apps, they frequently request permission to access personal information such as your location, contacts, or even your camera. They may require this information to make the app work, but they may also share it with other companies. The following are other ways to protect your privacy.

Before You Download an App

Before you install an app, here are some things you can do to protect your privacy:

Make use of official app stores

Download apps only from official app stores, such as your device’s manufacturer or the operating system app store. This will reduce the risk of installing potentially harmful apps.

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Determine what information the app will have access to

Before you download an app, read the app’s privacy policy to determine how you will use and share. Is there any ambiguity in the policy regarding how the app will share your data? If it is, or if you are concerned about how your information may be shared, you should look for another app.

Examine the permissions

Apps require your permission to access information such as your location or contacts, as well as features such as your camera and microphone. You may be asked to grant permission when you first download the app. This can also happen when the app attempts to access that information or feature for the first time.

Keep a close eye on the permissions that the app requests. Is it, for example, really required to access your location or photos to do its job?

Settings on a smartphone

The first step is to go through your phone’s settings to ensure that the manufacturer, Apple, Google, and your apps don’t have unneeded access to your personal information. Turn off location tracking services, camera and microphone access, and data sharing features you don’t need.

You can enable and disable these services app by app on iPhones and newer Android devices. Remember that disabling permission can potentially cripple an app, so make sure it’s not required for the app to function properly.

Encrypted calls and chats

Not all chat apps are encrypted, and even if they are, the company that created them may hold the key to decrypting them. WhatsApp, Viber, iMessage, Snapchat, and Facebook Messenger are all encrypted somehow. 

Even over encrypted channels, whether your messages remain private is determined by how difficult it is for a hacker to reverse engineer the app or how easily the company succumbs to government pressure.

CryptoCat is one of the few encrypted chat apps available for those who do not want their privacy in the hands of a multinational corporation.

The signal is probably your best bet for encrypting live phone calls. The free app provides encrypted voice calling as well as instant messaging.

Password Manager

Strong, varied passwords are essential for protecting your online privacy, but remembering different passwords for each app is time-consuming. Password managers are available for this purpose.

A password manager allows you to encrypt and store your passwords in a single app, requiring you to memorize only one master password. Password managers for mobile devices are available from both master password and LastPass.

Your Privacy Concerns Regarding Existing Apps

If you already have an app on your phone or tablet, there are some things you can do to protect your privacy:

Examine the permissions of the app

Go to your settings and check the permissions to ensure that the app does not have access to information or features that it does not require. Unnecessary permissions should be disabled.

Consider deleting apps that require a large number of permissions – some apps request a large number of permissions that aren’t required for the app to function. Apps that have access to your contact list, storage, camera, location, and microphone should be avoided.

Restriction of location permissions

Some apps have access to the location services on your device. If an app requires access to your location data to function, consider restricting access only when the app is in use.

Don’t use a social network account to sign in to apps

When you sign in to an app using your social network account information, the app frequently collects information from your social network account and vice versa. Sign in with your email address and a unique password if you don’t agree with that.

Keep apps up to date

Apps with out-of-date software may be vulnerable to hacking. Install app updates as soon as they are available to protect your device from malware.

Delete any apps that you no longer require

If you’re not using an app, delete it to avoid unnecessary data collection.

Security Apps

Many privacy and security apps are available for download from reputable app stores. Because Apple prefers to take security into its own hands-on iOS, Android tends to have more of these.

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