Photo: Marian Weyo (Shutterstock)
Some of you have just upgraded to a shiny new iPhone. More of you probably thought nah, my old iPhone works just fine. Whichever camp you belong to, there is one thing you absolutely must do with your iPhone right now—a comprehensive privacy audit.
Each time you open a new app on your iPhone, it likely bombards you with permission pop-ups requesting to access your location, notifications, contacts, camera, photos, yada yada yada. If you’ve been granting these permissions without thinking much, take a few minutes to reevaluate those decisions.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook-owned apps are particularly egregious when it comes to asking for far more permissions than they need. For instance, Instagram doesn’t let you post stories if you don’t grant it access to the camera, microphone, and your entire photo library. Other apps, like Uber, work just fine even if you don’t grant them location access—as long as you’re willing to manually select your location each time.
While it is great to deny apps access to permissions they don’t need, you shouldn’t be under the illusion that will somehow magically keep your information out of the clutches of the data mining industry. Advertisers and service providers have tons of ways to access your data and create a unique profile of you on the internet, and you only control a small part of this machine by revoking these permissions, but it’s still worth doing—your smartphone is loaded with private data no one should access without your explicit permission. Changing these settings will also have a positive impact on your phone’s battery life, as multiple apps won’t constantly be accessing your location or other sensors.
It’s good to keep all of the above in mind and periodically revisit your iPhone’s privacy permissions page. And with that, we’ll walk you through the privacy audit process.
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Stop apps from tracking you across the internet
Your iPhone lets you stop apps from tracking you across the web. You can refuse to allow apps to track you across both the apps and on the web using data such as your device ID, a unique advertising identifier, and your email address.
To do so, go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking on your iPhone and disable Allow Apps to Request to Track. Be aware that apps whose business depends on tracking you will probably find ways to flout this permission dialog, …….