With passcodes, passwords, and location tracking, smartphones collect hoards of data on users. Here’s what you should know about everything they know. (Hint: It might be time to change some privacy settings.)
Every place you’ve ever been
Both Androids and iPhones have internal tracking devices that can see your location at any given point. Hidden in the settings of iPhones and Androids lies “Location Services.” If yours is switched on, your phone has likely built up a pretty long list of places you’ve been.
This feature does use up a lot of battery life, so many users have it turned off. However, some apps like Uber or Airbnb turn it on when you authorize them. And all this information your smartphone knows about you is helpful to hackers…
Everything you’ve told Siri
Apple collects data from Siri to “understand you better and recognize what you say,” according to the software license agreement. This can track anything from the way you pronounce words to the trends in Siri searches. However, the information Siri learns is connected to your phone with a random ID––instead of your Apple account––to ensure anonymity.
Your personal IDs
The China-based Android smartphone company OnePlus was found using personal identification information (like device passcodes) from its users. They explained themselves, saying that they used the info to improve the user experience, and thankfully rolled back the privacy breach.
But they shouldn’t have been invading users’ privacy, especially when it comes to such sensitive information. And after the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, it makes us wonder if other tech companies are hiding things from their users.
Every message you send
If you’re an iPhone user that deletes texting/iMessage conversations, here’s a surprise: Those conversations are probably still around. Apple keeps messages in an encrypted form “for a limited period of time” before they actually get deleted, just to “ensure that they get delivered and read properly.”
The only thing is, Apple didn’t disclose how long “a limited period of time” is. Maybe it’s five minutes, but maybe it’s years.
Have you ever logged into an app or website on your smartphone, and when prompted to save your password, you’ve answered “Yes”? We’ve all been there. It’s convenient and easy for the sites we visit to remember our information and save us the time it takes to login.
However, do you really want Google, your smartphone, and some of those sketchy websites storing your information? Maybe not. Try the old fashioned way—just write down your passwords in a computer doc or, even better, with paper and pen (just don’t lose it)!
All the information you’ve given to Google
Androids are powered by Google apps (think: Chrome, Play Store, Gmail, etc.). As soon as you sign into your Android with your Google login, your phone is linked to all of your other Google accounts. Once you’ve logged in, your phone has access to everything Google does, including the length and type of your phone calls, your device, where you are, and more.