How To

How to manage Android permissions to prevent apps from spying on you

Nacho Requena Molina

Nacho Requena Molina

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“You agree to the terms of use and…” Accept. As a general rule, when the “terms of use and conditions” show up, we click yes or accept. Very few of us stop to read every one of the terms, and the problem is that some of them may hold surprises.

In the specific case of apps, every time we give one of them access to our phone, we’re exposed, a lot. Camera, calendar, messages, photo gallery. The number of features that we allow apps to access is insane. And what if they’re spying on us for those so-called cookies?

How to manage Android permissions to prevent apps from spying on you

In this guide, we’ll show you how to manage Android permissions to prevent apps from spying on you. Pay attention; it’s easier than it seems.

Step by step

Since Google updated the Android operating system to the Marshmallow version – this was a few years ago – the general trend has been the same: the user can see permissions granted within the apps. It was one of the most demanded requests from the community and Google didn’t hesitate to provide it (and didn’t take it out of later versions).

To see app permissions, just go to the gear icon of your smartphone, i.e., Settings and click Applications. Here, a list of all the programs you’ve installed on your cell phone will open, so it’s a simple matter of seeing those you want. Is Facebook accessing more data than you thought? Well, manually adjust the permissions.

Go to the app, and you’ll see Uninstall, Force stop, Storage, Data usage, and a long list of other options. However, the one we want is called “Permissions. If you click there, the system will reveal what features are intruding on your privacy.

As a general rule, it’s typical to make use of popular features such as camera, contacts, calendar, location, storage, etc. The button that appears on the right-hand side is what you need to enable or disable them. If it’s green, that means it has access; if it’s grey, it doesn’t. Easy peasy.

Remember that although many apps can spy on you this way (to give you similar searches or know your preferences when recommending sites), some need specific features to work. For example, if Google Maps doesn’t have access to your location, there’s little the software can do to take you to the place you’ve specified.

Use common sense when you go to disable permissions.

Nacho Requena Molina

Nacho Requena Molina

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