Do you sometimes wonder what kind of data Google has on you? Did you know that anyone can get your personal information and read your private messages? Let’s put a halt to all of that and look at some of the most creative ways to stop your smartphone from tracking you.
Alright, time to put on your tin foil caps boys and girls because we’re going to have a chat about the bits and the bytes.
Everyone has that person in their life who can’t help but ‘click’ you know what I mean? They don’t bother to read anything and yet there they go clicking on ‘okay’, ‘next’, ‘accept’. DON’T BE THAT PERSON!
“Target advertising” incase you didn’t know is a massive phenomenon. Most companies can’t wait to flood your screen with annoying ads, which are mostly related to your day-to-day searches on Google. Giant corporations like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google(obviously) and LOADS of others make money off of these ads and they need this information to feed their data mining machines.
Companies usually have a very reasonable detailed explanation, such as Apple tracking personal calls and emails to prevent fraud. If this is not considered as an invasion of privacy, then what is?
Thankfully, now you don’t need to stand for this form of data collection since we are going to have a look at 5 Ingenious Ways To Stop Your Smartphone From Tracking You.
Let’s get started…shall we?
Customize & Tweak Your Phone’s Location Settings
There are multiple ways you can prevent any iOS or Android devices from tracking you, but this isn’t easy. The feature can be found inside your devices’ privacy settings. It’s job is to record your daily routine.
Aptly named “Frequent Locations” this feature keeps a continuous tab of where you are and how long you would stay there. If that wasn’t enough it also knows where you live and work simply based on how long you’re there and the frequency of your visits.
Here are the ways to disable to this feature if you find it too intrusive.
Turn Off Location Settings on iOS devices:
- Click “Settings”
- Go to “Privacy”
- Select “Location Services”
- Scroll down to “System Services”
- Choose “Significant Locations” to see the logged record of where you’ve been; de-select this to turn it off
Want to clear your history as well? Not an issue, just click on the “Clear History” option.
Turn Off Location Settings on Android devices:
- Go to the “Settings” option.
- Scroll down and tap “Location” or “Advanced” if you have a work profile.
- Turn “Use location” off. You can find this option at the top.
- To delete your device’s location cache, tap “Delete Location History” at the bottom of the screen under “Location History.”
- If you have multiple Google Accounts repeat this process for each of them.
Stop Google From Tracking You, PERIOD.
I think it’s fair to say that Google knows exactly where you right now and has a detailed idea about all your movement patterns. This is done largely through Google Maps. But did you know your Android phone is also tracing your movements? This is done through the usage of several built-in apps.
Just follow these simple steps below and stop your phone from tracking you.
Stop Google From Tracking You Through A Browser
- First, go to https://myactivity.google.com/.
- Then select “Activity Controls.” This option is found in the left-hand menu.
- Scroll through the list of various activities and simply switch off the ones you don’t want.
If you want you can also “Device Information” (information about contacts, calendars, etc.), “YouTube History” (this includes both your search and watch history), and “Ad personalization” (which uses your history to choose which ads you’ll see). We personally recommend you turn this “Ad personalization” feature off.
Now, you have prevented any more data to be gathered. But what if you want to delete all or some of the information which was already captured previously?
No worries, just follow the steps:
- Go back to the My Activity page and click on “Delete activity by” in the left-hand menu.
- There you’ll get a pop-up window that allows you to delete your activity based on a select time period. You can choose from options like “Last hour”, “Last day”. “All time”. You can also select a “Custom range” if you have a date in mind.
- Click on “Next” when you’re ready.
- After that, you’ll get a preview of some of the activities you’ll be deleting. If you’re fine with those just press “Delete.”
Limit Ad Tracking
iOS and Android devices also provide a built-in feature for you to minimize ad tracking.
How To Limit Ad Tracking on iOS
- Open “Settings”
- Go to “Privacy” and then scroll down to the bottom of the page and select “Advertising”.
- Then go to “Limit Ad Tracking.” This should be turned off by default. Turn it on.
- Finally, tap on “Reset Advertising Identifier.”
You can take this one step further by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services and turning off Location-Based Apple Ads.
How To Limit Ad Tracking on Android
Go to Settings > Privacy > Advanced > Ads and toggle on Opt out of Ads Personalization.
Opt Out of Targeted Ads
When we first learned about this, even we couldn’t believe that we have the power to simply opt-out of interest-based advertising – well at least most of it! The Digital Advertising Alliance has a consumer choice page that allows you to have a look at which of its partners is currently targeting you to showcase its personal ads.
On first visiting the website, the Alliance will do a thorough scan of your device. Upon completion, it will show a list of these partners. From there you can opt-out through “opt-out cookies”. This one of the key ways you can stop your smartphone from tracking you today!
Please note that this will NOT block all ads you see when you’re online. You’ll just be seeing less targeted ads.
Take Control of Your App’s Permissions
As discussed at the start of the blog, please don’t be one of those individuals who click on “Yes” and “Accept” to everything without reading them first.
Checking what feature you’re allowing will not only allow you more privacy but also prohibit these apps from continuously running in your background.
Useful Codes for Smartphones
- *#21# – Through this code, you can find out whether your calls, messages and other data are being diverted.
- Dial *#62# – if you want to find out where calls, messages, and data are being redirected to if it seems that no one can get through to you.
- ##002# is a universal code for switching off all forms of redirection away from your phone.
- Dial *#06# to find out your IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identifier). If you know this number, you can find your phone if someone steals it.
If you use Android, you should periodically check your phone for viruses. PlaceRaider is one of the most dangerous ones that can infect your device. If a phone makes odd noises during a conversation, loses battery power rapidly, overheats, or unexpectedly restarts, this is merely an indication that you need to get it repaired rather than a telltale sign that you’re being listened to. Finally, only use messaging apps that are completely closed to outsiders, such as Telegram, Chare, Wickr, or Signal.
… and You’re Done!
People, the bottom line is to play it smart and super safe! Be the best audience and be the savviest on being smart about what’s on your device.
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog on the 5 Ingenious Ways To Stop Your Smartphone From Tracking You. Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know what topics you want us to cover next.
Catch y’all soon. Take care!