7 Ways Mobile Apps Compromise Privacy

mobile apps compromise privacy

You love all the apps on your smartphone, but how much do those mobile apps compromise privacy? Most of the time, no one thinks to check the lists of permissions apps claim to need. Your apps could be invading your privacy in ways you’ve never thought of.

1Tracking Your Every Move

It’s not uncommon for apps to want to track your location via GPS. However, do you really want your apps to know where you are all the time? For instance, if you turn on Snapchat’s new map feature, you’re showing up on a map with other users. Photo apps often geotag photos and social media apps always want to know your location.

All of this tracking shows thieves, stalkers, and even businesses where you are at any given time. So, turn off the GPS permission unless you absolutely need it on.

Often times, apps also ask for access to your camera and microphone to learn more about you. This is also a way many scam apps spy on you.

2Making Your Data Visible

Sometimes mobile apps compromise privacy without meaning to. For instance, an app might not encrypt your data, making it much easier for it to be stolen over public Wi-Fi. Check the app’s privacy policy before entering any personal data first.

Some apps use sketchy in-app payment systems too. This means your payment details could be used to steal your identity.

Related Read: Public Wi-Fi Security Risks to Know

3Unnecessary App Permissions

Gizmodo provides a simple explanation of the most common app permissions. However, it’s important to note that just because an app says it needs a certain permission, doesn’t mean it actually does. This is why Android and iOS both have ways to revoke permissions.

Many apps ask for extra permissions for marketing purposes. They track where you are to better target ads to you or view your browsing history to sell to other companies. Some apps don’t even ask for your consent, such as Uber tracking locations without permission.

4Collecting & Sharing Data

That leads into the next way mobile apps compromise privacy – collecting and sharing your data. While it seems harmless enough, do you know how that data’s being stored? Imagine a database with your browser history, what you’ve posted on social media, where you shop, what other apps you use, where you go, and how long you use your phone. That’s too much personal data for apps to just collect and share with anyone they want.

Related Read: Who Can See Your Facebook Photos?

5Checking Battery Status

Some apps track your battery status. Why? It’s one of the more shocking ways mobile apps compromise privacy. While Uber denies it, there’s the possibility of the app tracking your battery status to see if users are more willing to pay surge pricing. Sometimes you can’t avoid the battery status permission, but try to avoid running your battery too low while out and about.

Related Reads:
How to Get a Better iPhone Battery Life  
How to Get a Better Android Battery Life

6Watching When & Where You Shop

Store-specific apps and loyalty card apps are some of the most privacy intrusive apps. While convenient, these mobile apps compromise privacy in multiple ways. They track your location to study where you shop, which aisles you go down, how long you stay in different areas, and even which other stores you shop at. They even track phone activity. One infamous example is how Target knew a teen was pregnant before her parents.

Related Read: Tips for Safe Online Shopping

7In-App Ads

In-app ads are annoying, but they’re also tracking you. Some ad libraries track your entire phone state. This includes anything from call logs to which apps you use.

Mobile apps are sometimes risky. Pay close attention to app permissions and app privacy policies.

Related Read: When to Enable and Disable Cookies