How to Avoid Unwanted Tracking on Your Phone
A lot of us are constantly on our phones. Whether it's to send a funny text message we want to share, or to post a picture of our latest happy hour on Instagram, our phones have become an essential part of our daily lives. With that in mind, not being able to use your phone without having your location tracked by companies can be quite annoying. Here are some tips for how to avoid unwanted tracking with your smartphone.
What Is Location Tracking and Why Is It Unwanted?
Location tracking can be a nuisance when you're out and about. If a company is using your location data to track your movements, then they are able to collect information about where you are in real-time. This information can be used for marketing purposes, including marketing related to the product you bought or service you received. For example, if you go into a store and purchase a dress, then that company might use your GPS information to send you ads for other stylish dresses on Instagram.
Another reason why people don't want companies to track their location is because it's considered an invasion of privacy. You might consider a smartphone as your personal device that can be used anywhere at anytime without being tracked by anyone else; however, if someone else knows where your phone is located in real-time, they have access to all of the information on the phone as well.
Why Does It Matter to Avoid Unwanted Tracking?
Some people find their phones to be more than just a means of communication, but also their personal digital assistant. We rely on our phones for everything from sending text messages and checking our emails to making dinner reservations and browsing the internet. If you value your privacy, it's important that you know how to avoid unwanted tracking with your smartphone. Here are some tips for how to do that.
How to avoid phone tracking
Disable Location Services
It may seem like a simple task, but disabling your location services on your phone is a good way to stop companies from tracking your movements without your permission.
A lot of apps ask for location permissions before you can use them. If the app doesn't ask, you should check the app's settings to see if it has an option for disabling location services. If that option isn't available, you'll need to disable those specific locations from accessing the app at all.
Use a VPN
If you'd rather avoid having apps track your location data altogether, consider using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts all of your internet traffic and connections so that no one can see what websites or apps you're visiting or how long they're being used. It also encrypts all of the data that travels between your smartphone and the VPN server so that no one else can access it either. A VPN can also help you hide your real location. For example, with a China VPN (中国VPN) or Japan VPN (VPN日本) you can hide your real IP and appear to be in another country. To get started with a VPN, download and install an app onto your device like TunnelBear or ExpressVPN.
Uninstall Unnecessary Apps
Another way to avoid unwanted tracking on your phone is uninstalling unnecessary apps. With the amount of apps on your phone being so large, it's easy to forget about some that you don't use. Uninstalling them is an effective way for people who are looking to avoid unwanted tracking when their phones know a lot more than they should. There are also many other ways including turning off Wi-Fi and disabling location services as well as not allowing certain websites from accessing your data, though these methods aren't always practical given how much we rely on our smartphones nowadays.
What to do if you're experiencing unwanted phone tracking
If you're experiencing unwanted tracking on your phone, there are a few things you can do.
First off, it's a good idea to disable location services and/or location sharing. This is because many apps will automatically send your location to other apps if they're not turned off. Additionally, you can delete the apps that are using this function to send your location without consent.
Next, turn off WiFi and GPS in your phone settings. This might seem like a big step back at first, but it will help with unwanted tracking and for when you need GPS during the day.
Finally, make sure your phone isn't always scanning for nearby Wi-Fi networks or Bluetooth signals. It's best to keep these features turned off when you're not using them so that they don't keep trying to find networks with which to connect even when they're not needed.
With so many apps and websites that allow you to share your location, it’s easy to lose track of what apps are accessing data, when they are accessing it, and why. It’s your personal data and you should be in control of what apps have access to it. Hopefully the tips offered in this article can help you increase your online privacy.