What are the five most used applications on your phone? For me, it’s Messages, Mail, Refin, Instagram, and Podcasts.
There are also those forgotten apps that I downloaded and only used once or twice. I know you have them too. Before hitting “uninstall”, there is a crucial step you need to take. Tap or click to see the correct way to remove apps.
While making your phone more secure, take some time to remove tracking cookies. You do this on your computer, and it’s also a step worth taking on your phone. Tap or click to see the steps to get the job done.
Before you revisit Google Play or the Apple App Store, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid intrusive and dangerous downloads off of your phone.
1. Beware of misleading “always-on” permissions
How many apps have access to your camera, microphone, location, and contacts? I can tell you without looking that the answer is “Too many.” Few apps really need those permissions, and even fewer need them enabled all the time.
Here’s an example: your iPhone will notify you if it’s about to rain. I thought it sounded useful so I went to enable the feature. Surprise, it also required you to have “always-on” location tracking. No thanks.
Third-party apps will also try to get their hands on whatever information they can through these permissions. (More on his contacts at # 3 on this list.)
Over time, you can lose track of the specific permissions that you set for each app. It is worth checking out.
Manage app permissions on an Android phone
- Go Settings > touch Applications.
- Select app you want to adjust.
- Tap Permissions
Adjust app permissions on your iPhone
- Opened Settings > Touch Privacy.
- Select a categorysuch as Photos, Microphone, or Camera.
- For each category, you will see a list of apps that have requested permission to do so. Slide the toggle to the left next to each app to remove access to that category.
PRIVACY DRIVE: Google knows what you type, look and say unless you follow these steps.
2. Don’t be in a rush to connect with Facebook
With most applications and services, you have a few options for setting up an account. The most common are using your social media login or creating a new account with your email address or phone number.
While it is faster to connect with Facebook, I suggest that you create a new account. By enabling third-party app permissions, your sensitive information spreads to more companies and data brokers.
It is also a security risk. If you use the same login for many accounts, what happens when someone is hacked? Make sure each account you set up has its unique password as well.
Speaking of social media, hackers, creeps, and trolls can easily use the content you’ve posted against you. Tap or click to see the security and privacy mistakes you’re making.
3. Protect your contact list
When you let an application access your contacts, you are revealing other people’s private information.
Let’s say your friend isn’t interested in a social media app that you want to try. If you connect your contacts to the app, you’re giving away their phone number, email, and maybe even home address, all without their consent.
Here’s a little-known fun fact. Often you give an app permission to change or add contacts to your address book when you enable this feature.
Related: How to clean your iPhone’s contact list in 4 easy steps
4. Stop downloading duplicates
Bad downloads infiltrate app stores too often. Tap or click to see the 10 apps you need to remove from your phone now. Malicious code is often hidden in seemingly innocuous applications such as PDF editors and photo editing software.
Then there are things like flashlight apps or QR code scanners. Neither of these should appear on the home screen. Why? Your phone has these functions built in.
Downloading apps you don’t need leads to a bloated phone. Tap or click here for a list of bloatware apps you didn’t even know were slowing down your phone.
5. Look for specific phrases in reviews
At this point, we know that online reviews are not the most reliable. Amazon is known for this exact problem; It’s hard to tell if those five-star reviews are from real people who have tried the product.
That being said, an app’s review section can be a good indicator of serious issues. We often write about fraudulent apps on Komando.com, and if you check the reviews for those downloads, you will see a common thread.
Be on the lookout for complaints about strange pop-up ads, phone slowing down, unexpected charges, or other strange behavior. If any of these flags are under review, please do not download the app.
Do you like what you have read? Be sure to check out the podcast below.
Additional tip: How to find out everything Amazon knows about you
Amazon knows your voice, search history, advertiser preferences, favorite books, Alexa history, and more. I speak with two Reuters reporters who exposed Amazon’s secret war against your privacy in this episode. You’ll learn how to find everything Amazon knows about you, and how to remove it and stop tracking forever.
Check out my “Kim Komando Explains” podcast on Apple, Google podcasts, Spotifyor your favorite podcast player.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just look for my last name, “Komando”.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s National Radio Show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here to watch Kim’s free podcasts.
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Learn about the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For her daily tips, free newsletters, and more, visit her website at Komando.com.