How to keep your phone from being tracked? In this day and era, tech wizards seem to be one step ahead of everyone when it comes to gadgets like phones. However, it shouldn’t be the reason you don’t put in the extra effort to protect your personal information.
The growing hunger to stay informed about what someone is doing, who has a new partner, what’s in the other person’s bank account, and more are some of the reasons individuals and companies are investing a lot in device tracking. Most phone users may not even be aware that they’re giving these spies a go-ahead to track their devices.
Smartphones a big source of information
Our phones are such a big source of information, you’d be surprised. How you use it daily can either be what sells you away or keeps your personal information private. From the sites you visit, you’re GPS, browser choice, and others. They all have a big role to play in this.
Advertising companies show you adverts based on your interests. Ever wondered how they know you so well? Simple, they use your personal information to determine what you love the most i.e. preferred food choices, taste in clothes, movie preferences, taste in music, and the likes. Based on these personal likes, they know exactly what to present to you in the form of adverts.
Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google collect so much personal information daily from people’s phones. This is mainly because we’ve permitted them to. When we download these applications, we simply sign and agree to their terms and conditions without really knowing what we’re getting ourselves into, or what we’re allowing to happen.
So why all this information about companies and applications? First of all, companies benefit so much from the private information that’s sold to them by the applications we install on our devices. Your data is sold off to third-party marketing agencies that use it anyway they want. And yes, it’s almost impossible to stop this been tracked unless you decide to completely quit the internet and not use any applications.
However, you can also use certain tools and techniques to help reduce the chances of your phone being tracked.
Below are the techniques to employ on how to keep your phone from being tracked.
Change your phones location settings
This feature is found somewhere under device privacy settings. By default, the feature is always turned on and can only be turned off manually. Apple and android users need to turn this feature off, otherwise most of their daily routines /phone activities can be tracked.
The term “frequent locations” may sound familiar to most phone users. It’s a feature that records where you’ve been, where you are, how long you spent there, at what time you arrived, basically everything. It can even predict your possible place of work and home, depending on what times of the day you are there, what you do, and when you leave. Seems like your private life is now not so private right? Well, if you don’t want all this personal information exposed, then you need to turn the locations feature off. Here’s how.
- Visit your phone’s device settings.
- Tap on privacy settings
- Click on location services
- Click on system services
- Then select significant locations (This shows where you’ve been) Un-select it and turn it off.
If this seems like too much of a job you can also just clear your device cache/history.
Note: The location settings of various devices may differ.
Control how much access you give to downloaded applications
There’s a reason as to why most phones provide the option to choose whether to grant access to certain apps or restrict them. When a new app is downloaded, it presents permission requests that need to either be approved or denied. This is especially for apps downloaded from Google play store or Apple store.
However, some of them ask for way too much access which sometimes is unnecessary. For example, why would a flashlight app ask to have access to your phone storage? Does it make sense? No, but here’s why. Once you grant it access, it’s able to steal personal information which is then sold off to advertising companies. They then use it to send targeted advertisements to users.
Make it a habit to routinely check and revise app permissions. It will allow you to gain control of how much personal information gets tracked. You can also just restrict certain apps to avoid being tracked. Once this is done, spying apps won’t have access to your personal information. That’s why you need to always check and revise the different permissions. Also, think of it as another way of improving your battery life for apps that are always running in the background.
Re-think using Virtual Assistants – How to keep your phone from being tracked
The Google Assistant app is known by most phone users. This online assistant carries out tasks by command on behalf of the user. It’s easy and very convenient. However, this same feature secretly stores your gathered voice commands. They are later uploaded and saved in Google servers to be processed.
Together with any other personal information, the virtual assistants may have gathered, behavioural patterns which are collated and used for targeted advertising. You can allow the Google Assistant app together with other similar virtual assistants to capture your voice only if you don’t mind being tracked. However, if you don’t want to be tracked, just type the words yourself the old fashioned way. It will keep your information private.
Limit tracking – How to keep your phone from being tracked
Updated phones have software to minimise and limit tracking (IOS and Android). The inbuilt options limit one’s ability to track your activities by presenting to you the option to reset your advertising I.D and un-sync advertising profiles.
For Android phones:
- Visit settings
- Click on Google ads
- Then opt out for Ads personalisation.
- Visit settings
- Click privacy
- . You’ll see Limit Ad tracking which you will then turn on.
Restrict Google from tracking your activities
Most Google services found in iPhone and Android devices continue to store your location data, even after privacy settings have been changed. You need to completely turn off Google’s location tracking feature. Below are the step required to do this:
- Disable web and App activity. How?
- Sign in to your Google account
- Click the Personal information feature located under personal information and Private category
- After this click on “Manage Google activity”
- Under it is “Activity controls” There you’ll find a range of data that is saved to your Google Account which you can then turn off
You can click Pause on “Location history” though it won’t completely turn off Google location markers. However, activities from your Google service won’t be saved under your account.
Opt to use a private browser in your device – How to keep your phone from being tracked
Use available anti-web tracking tools to your advantage when browsing. With this type of browser, searches and other device activities are kept private. An example of such tools is the Firefox Focus Application. It can block advertisements, analytics, and other social trackers. It also erases all passwords and browsing history after you’ve finished using certain applications and sites.
Also, check out the Dolphin Browser. It allows you to choose private mode while blocking huge data brokers. It provides one of the best browsing experiences. Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge have private modes. Samsung users can try out the Samsung Internet App. It blocks sites that want to track your online activity. The above private search engines will not record all your search history as we’ve seen with Google.
Check up on your online accounts – How to keep your phone from being tracked
Don’t be surprised by this. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft know you on a personal level. This is because every time you use their services, their algorithms keep track of what you like, what you’re always watching and your most “clicked on.” This information is used to create targeted ads and posts that are more relevant to you. These are ads are the ones you’d most likely be interested in.
If you aren’t interested in them, they can be disabled via Google settings. In Google and Microsoft settings, privacy settings can be controlled to limit the chances of your activities being tracked.
Block Ads – How to keep your phone from being tracked
By now you’re aware that as your busy browsing over the internet, some kind of phone tracking could be taking from behind the scenes. Companies use algorithms to track your behaviour so that they can send you targeted ads.
If you don’t like this then disable the “behavioural-based ads.” Keep in mind that doing this alone may not completely erase all the ads that pop up online as you’re browsing, only that advertisers will no longer be able to send you targeted ads since your device activity can’t be located.
How to keep your phone from being tracked? It’s very possible to use your phone and not be tracked, not totally but at least you can minimize the chances of your private data landing in anyone’s hands. If you don’t want your phone tracked, simply incorporate the above-mentioned methods in your device and everyday routine.