Do you consider how to protect your privacy when you download new apps? You find out about a new app which promises to rock your world and you wonder why you don’t have it yet? You think ok I will just install it and my life will become so much better and easier, but will it?
There are steps you can take to protect your privacy with the apps you may want to install.
Do I need this app?
The first and most important question to ask yourself when contemplating a new app, is of course do I need this app? or just want it because other people I know have it.
Will it really benefit my personal or work life?
Is it just a game that will become a new addiction that robs me of my time and patience and stresses me out.
Use only Official App Stores.
This reduces the risk of installing potentially harmful apps. Use your device’s manufacturer or operating system app store. Don’t forget to research the company behind the app. Are they reputable or reliable? Who else are they connected with?
The cost of the app?
If it is free how does that work? The company will be making money somehow. Is it with in-app purchase? Will it require me to pay for updates or membership? Is it gaining access to my private information and selling that on to other companies?
Understand what information the app will be able to access.
Read the list of permissions the app is demanding to have.
You need to give an app permission to access information on your phone like your camera, microphone or torch. It also needs it for your photos, contacts and location. They may look for it when you initially install the app or even when the app first attempts to access it. Always read the permissions the app is requesting. Does it really need access to your photos or location to function? You can uninstall the app if you feel it is crossing that line of accessing too much personal information.
WHAT ABOUT THE APPS YOU ALREADY HAVE?
If you want to make sure that the apps you currently have are safe, now is the time to refresh and de-clutter any from your device that you are no longer using.
Review the Permissions you have allowed.
Go to settings and read the privacy terms and permissions you have given. Turn off any unnecessary permissions. If an app needs a lot of permissions and they are not necessary for the function of the app then it’s time to delete the app. Special consideration should be made to all the apps that insist on access to your contact list, camera, microphone, storage and location and why could they possibly need all of them.
Limit location permissions.
If you have given an app permission to your location data and you realise now that the app does not need it all the time, only when you are using the app, then consider limiting the access to only when you decide you are using the app.
Keep apps updated.
Apps which are using out of date software may be compromising your device as they could be easily hacked. Reputable apps want to have safe operating software so by installing updates as soon as they are released you are protecting your device.
Don’t use your social network account to automatically log in to your app
This allows the app to access information from your social network account and of course your social network account can access the information from your app.
Use a different email address and a unique password to sign in. Changing your passwords regularly is also advisable.
Delete and uninstall any apps you are no longer using or have not used in a long time
This frees up space on your phone/tablet or computer.
With smartphones there are so many apps which are running in the background and don’t need to. They are draining power from your battery.
Maybe it is not a new phone you need but a de-clutter of your apps and your phone has more memory space available and the battery is not drained as fast.
While this may all seem so tedious, boring and time consuming, then consider how important is your privacy? If it is compromised it may be too late to reclaim it.
By getting into a routine of considering these steps before installing a new app you are already limiting the number you have on your device and intentionally aware of how they are accessing your information.
If you don’t want to do that then you don’t really need the app you only wanted it. Needing the app means you want to know what exactly it is and what you can do with it. How can it help you in that area?
Plan a once a month app health check and assess which ones you are using, which ones are working for your needs and delete and uninstall any redundant or unused ones.
De-clutter your device and protect your privacy.
Do you know how many apps you currently have on your device? If you want to read more then check out this post here