Are your devices spying on you unintentionally?

Is it “Big Brother” or your phone that you have to worry about?

The constant assault on privacy seems inevitable in this digital age. When you think of being spied on, it’s easy to think of shared devices in How to Know Who’s Spying on You. However, as you educate yourself against some of the obvious culprits who invade your privacy, it can be hard to imagine that one of the most pervasive entities is a product you use every day: your smartphone, computer, or tablet.

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Part of the appeal of such a smart device is that the phone and the apps that host it gather information about your preferences and behaviors to anticipate your needs and make your life easier. However, a large number of apps do not need access to certain functions of your device or your data to function as needed.

While manufacturers have made great strides to help people limit when to use their cameras and microphones, it’s up to you to take the extra step to protect yourself. iPhones have indicators in the upper right corner that notify you with a green dot when the camera is in use and an orange dot when the microphone is in use.

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As apps continue to press for more access than is necessary for their core functionality, here are ways to proactively control them on iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Android devices. This will help you be more aware of what your apps are actively doing or in the background, and will give you power again to decide who is watching, listening, and studying you.

Your phones or other devices may be “spying” on you in a sense.
(file)

How to limit unwanted access

While there is comfort in seeing green or orange dot indicators, there is no need to wait until your app opens to find out. After all, some apps access your devices microphone, camera or data even while they are not open.

1. Delete unwanted or unused apps

Some apps use your device’s camera and microphone and collect your data even when you’re not using them. Getting rid of unused apps frees up storage space on your phone and unlocks the lock screen. It can also get rid of one of the other potential apps that might be unknowingly collecting information from you.

On iPhones and iPads:

  • Press firmly on the app icon of the app you want to delete
  • Choose Remove the application
Here's how to delete apps you no longer use.

Here’s how to delete apps you no longer use.
(CyberGuy.com)

  • You will be asked to confirm your decision in the next window by clicking Delete the app
  • Then again by clicking delete
Faucet "Delete the app" It will disappear from your device.

Click on “Delete App” and it will disappear from your device.
(CyberGuy.com)

On a Mac:

  • Tap and hold the icon of the app you want to delete
  • Drag to the trash can icon
  • empty the trash

On an Android device:

  • Go to the Google Play Store app
  • At the top left, tap on the profile icon
  • Choose Application and device managementclick Manages
  • Select the name of the application that you want to delete
  • Choose uninstall

Android settings may vary depending on the manufacturer’s settings.

2. Review and change permission settings

Although reviewing and changing app permission settings may seem like an extra effort, it will give you more peace of mind knowing which apps have access to certain functions and data in the device. Most devices now have a dedicated part of their settings to display which apps are using the different functions of your phone and what data they have access to.

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Change camera settings:

It may seem easy to just give access to your camera to certain apps. This way, you can easily use the camera function whenever you drag the app to use it. However, there are apps that do not need access to the camera to function. Does your navigation app need access to your camera even when not in use? Take back control of your camera by using the steps below to discover which apps can access your camera and turn it on or off.

On iPhones and iPads:

  • go to the settings
  • Scroll down and select Privacy or Privacy and security
  • Choose camera
  • You can see which apps have access to the camera. Of course, you can leave the apps where it makes sense to have access to the camera. For apps that don’t, you can turn off access (it will be disabled)

On a Mac:

  • Choose System Preferences in your dock
  • Click secretariat & amp; Privacy Or it may be listed as Privacy and security
  • Choose Privacy tab
  • Click camera See which programs and applications can access these functions
  • Check or deselect Apps or programs You want to grant or deny access to the camera

On an Android device:

  • Opens settings
  • Choose Apps
  • Select the app you want to change (if you can’t find it, select View all applications)
  • Choose Permissions Displays whether you have allowed or denied any permissions for the app
  • To change a permission setting, select it, then choose Allow only while using the appAnd Ask every time or do not allow

Android settings may vary depending on the manufacturer’s settings.

Change microphone settings:

On iPhones and iPads:

  • go to the settings
  • Scroll down and select Privacy or Privacy and security
  • Choose microphone
  • You can see which apps have access to your microphone. Of course, you can leave applications where it makes sense to access your microphone. For apps that don’t, you can turn off access (it will be disabled)
Here's how to change your device's microphone settings.

Here’s how to change your device’s microphone settings.
(CyberGuy.com)

On a Mac:

  • Choose System Preferences in your dock
  • Click secretariat & amp; Privacy Or it may be listed as Privacy and security
  • Choose Privacy tab
  • Click microphone See which programs and applications can access these functions
  • Check or deselect Apps or programs You want to grant or deny microphone access

On an Android device:

  • Opens settings
  • Choose Apps
  • Select the app you want to change (if you can’t find it, select “View all apps”)
  • Choose Permissions Displays whether you have allowed or denied any permissions for the app
  • To change a permission setting, select it, then choose Allow only while using the appAnd Ask every time or do not allow

Android settings may vary depending on the manufacturer’s settings.

Location change service:

A quick scan of who and what is on the receiving end of your exact location will surprise you. We all tend to click yes or ok when downloading an app. Over time, the list of location tracker apps starts to grow longer than what is safe for your privacy and protection.

On iPhones and iPads:

  • go to the settings
  • Scroll down and select Privacy or Privacy and security
  • Choose Site services
  • in Site servicesYou can see which apps can access your location and when
  • Select the app whose location services settings you want to change (ex: you have selected “All Recipes”)
Here is the list of application site services.

Here is the list of application site services.
(CyberGuy.com)

  • You will see the following options: Don’t ask next time while always using the app
  • Start
  • Ask next time
  • while using the app
  • Always
  • In this specific example, I don’t feel like the Cooking Recipes app needs my location at all times. However, it is useful to have an accurate location service while using the app because it collects information about where and how much of the ingredients in the recipe are being sold near me.
  • Still nervous about your exact location? switch out exact location to provide an approximate location instead.
You can switch "exact location" to protect your privacy.

You can toggle “Precise Location” to protect your privacy.
(CyberGuy.com)

On a Mac:

  • Choose System Preferences in your dock
  • Click secretariat & amp; Privacy Or it may be listed as Privacy and security
  • Choose Privacy tab
  • Choose Site services And check which apps or programs you want to give access to your location information

On an Android device:

  • Swipe down from the top of the screen twice
  • Click and hold Location
  • Choose Application permissions
  • under categories like allowed all the time And Only allowed during useUnder it, you’ll find which apps can use your phone’s location and when
  • Select the app if you want to change its permission
  • Under Location permissionchoose one of the following:
    allowed all the time
    Allow only while using the app
    do not allow
  • allowed all the time
  • Allow only while using the app
  • do not allow

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Take back control in your hands

It’s easy to overlook the importance of protecting your privacy on your devices. However, a lot of information is collected about you and your loved ones outside the range necessary to operate accurately. It is essential that you control your privacy by ensuring that you:

  • Find out which apps use certain functions of your phone and what data they collect
  • Restrict unnecessary access.

While it’s convenient to call Siri when your hands are full, it’s an entirely different situation knowing your rideshare app is using microphone and camera access when you’re not using them.

Sure, you may have nothing to “hide”, however, do you really want to collect bits of text messages and contact information about you and sell them to the highest bidder?

Other preventive measures to take include:

  • Download apps only from official sources like Apple App Store or Google Play Store
  • Make sure that the apps you download come from well-reviewed and reputable developers
  • Install antivirus software. See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS by searching for “best antivirus” on CyberGuy.com by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.

Related: Free Antivirus: Should You Use It?

Head here for information on protecting your technology privacy.

Head here for information on protecting your technology privacy.
(CyberGuy.com)

Tell us how you can adjust your controls on your device to help protect your privacy. We’d love to hear from you.

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