Android is owned by Google and is the biggest operating system, with over 2.5 billion active users worldwide. However, you share many of your details when interacting with Android that the company uses to create your detailed profile.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to completely turn off the tracking if you are concerned with how Google gathers and uses your data. In fact, there are disquiets that Google Assistant and Home are listening to more than just commands to play music or buy something online.
In this article, we will show you some of the settings you can tweak on your android device to improve your privacy.
1. Apps permission manager
Some apps will require you to grant permission to access certain parts of your phone, like the camera, microphone, or contacts. However, you should only allow necessary access to safeguard your privacy. Also, turning off the permissions on apps you no longer use is also a good measure.
Use the following steps to turn off the Android app
● Go to ‘Settings’ and click on ‘Privacy’ then ‘Permission manager’
● Click on each permission to see the apps you have allowed and denied
● Tap on the app you want to restrict the authorization and click on ‘Deny’
Thankfully, new Android versions come with extra app permission options. For example, you can allow apps to access your location only when active rather than always. Also, there is an option to grant permission to apps on a limited, one-time basis.
2. Google location history
Google collects and saves your location history data even when the navigation apps are not active. This is an infringement on your privacy, although it is meant to improve your experience. So, you should turn off ‘Google location history’ if you don’t want Google to know where you are going all the time. Here is how to do it.
● Open ‘Settings’ and click on ‘Privacy’ then ‘Google location history’
● Click ‘Turn off’
● Scroll down on the pop window and tap ‘Pause’
● Finish by clicking ‘Got it’
This will stop Google from saving your location history. However, your location is still visible by third parties such as your ISPs and the websites you visit. The best way to hide your location on your device is to use a secure virtual private network (VPN).
3. Android personalization service
Android personalization services tailor your content based on the apps you use. For example, you can enter text in one app, and it will appear as a search suggestion in a different app. While the feature is designed to improve your experience, it crosses the privacy line. So, you should deactivate the settings unless it helps you. Here is how to disable the ‘Android personalization service’.
● Go to ‘Settings’
● Click on ‘Privacy’ then ‘Android personalization service’
● Tap on the toggle to switch it off
4. Usage and diagnostics
When the ‘Usage and diagnostics’ setting is active, Google will automatically collect information about your device to improve its service. This can include app usage, battery level, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection quality, etc.
While this cannot reveal your identity, you never know how a malicious actor might use this information. For example, the data can be used to steal your sensitive information, such as your location or email address. The following steps will help you to turn it off.
● Go to ‘Settings’
● Click on ‘Privacy,’ then ‘Usage & Diagnostics’
● Click on the toggle to switch it off
5. Ads personalization
Google uses an advertising ID to create your profile to target you with specific ads. However, you can disable the ads personalization settings to improve your privacy. Here is how to turn off ‘Ads personalization’ on Android.
● Open ‘Settings’ on your phone
● Click on ‘Privacy’ then ‘Ads’
● Toggle off the switch
Essentially, it isn’t easy to stop Google from collecting your data. So, if you want total privacy, you shouldn’t own a smartphone in the first place. However, you can take measures like using a VPN to improve your online security and privacy if you want to enjoy the internet’s benefits. That is the least you can do.