Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Android Smartphone Settings for Privacy

I was just asked to write up some tips for managing privacy on smartphones. I figured this would be generally useful to share with folks on the Internet.

1. Many Android phones track a person's location history. You can check if Google has your location history by logging into your Google account and going to:
   https://www.google.com/maps/timeline

If you want to turn this feature off, on your smartphone, go to:
  Google Settings (app) -> Location -> Location History

Or go to:
  Settings -> Location -> Google Location History

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2. You can also choose to opt out of personalized ads. Android phones can share an advertising ID with sites, and this ID can be used to build up a profile of interests. These advertising IDs are just like web browser cookies.

If you want to turn this feature off, go to:
  Google Settings (app) -> Ads

Or go to:
  Settings -> Accounts -> Google -> Personal Info & Privacy

You can also use this screen to generate a new advertising ID if you wish.

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3. You should add a screen lock to your phone, just in case you lose your phone or if it's stolen. You can find the right settings if you go to:
  Settings -> Security

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4. You should also turn on remote location and remote lock and erase, in case you lose your phone. To do this, go to:
  Google Settings (app) -> Security

You'll see that there are some other useful features here for protecting your phone.

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5. You can also see basic personal information Google has about you, and do some basic privacy settings here:
  Google Settings (app) -> Personal info & privacy

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6. Lastly, you can go to http://myaccount.google.com to manage settings that are connected with your
Google account (rather than just your smartphone). In particular, try out the Privacy Checkup.

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