How to prevent apps from accessing too much information on your phone

What are the five most used apps on your phone? For me, it’s Messages, Mail, Redfin, Instagram, and Podcasts.

There are also those forgotten apps that I downloaded and used only once or twice. I know you have them too. Before pressing “uninstall” there is a crucial step you need to take. Tap or click the correct way to remove apps.

While you are tightening the security of your phone, take the time to clear tracking cookies. You do this on your computer, and it’s a step worth taking on your phone, too. Tap or click on the steps to get the job done.

Before you visit Google Play or Apple App Store again, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid curious and dangerous downloads on your phone.

1. Beware of sneaky “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 much. Few apps really need these permissions, let alone have them always on.

Here’s an example: your iPhone will warn you if it’s about to rain. I thought it looked handy, so I went to activate the feature. Surprisingly, it also required me to have “always on” location tracking. No thanks.

Third-party apps will also try to get their hands on all the information they can with these permissions. (More information about your contacts at # 3 on this list.)

Over time, you may lose track of the specific permissions you set for each app. It’s worth checking out.

Manage app permissions on an Android phone

• Go to Settings> press applications.

• Select the app you want to settle.

• Faucet Authorizations.

Adjust app permissions on your iPhone

• Open Settings > Press Private life.

• Choose a category like photos, microphone or camera.

• For each category, you will see a list of apps that have requested permission for it. Slide the toggle to the left next to each app to remove access to that category.

INCREASED CONFIDENTIALITY: Google knows what you type, watch, and say, unless you follow these steps.

2. Don’t be so quick to login with Facebook

With most apps and services, you have a few options for creating an account. The most common are to use your social media login or create a new account with your email address or phone number.

Although it is faster to log in with Facebook, I suggest that you create a new account instead. Enabling third-party app permissions distributes your sensitive information to even more businesses and data brokers.

It is also a security risk. If you use the same ID for multiple accounts, what happens when an account is hacked? Make sure that each account you create also has its unique password.

Speaking of social media, hackers, creeps, and trolls can easily use the content you post against you. Tap or click for the security and privacy mistakes you make.

3. Protect your contact list

When you allow an app to access your contacts, you are giving out the private information of other people.

Say your friend isn’t interested in a social networking app you want to try. If you connect your contacts to the app, you give out their phone number, email address, and maybe even home address, all without their consent.

Here’s a little-known fun fact: You often allow an app to edit or add contacts to your address book when you enable this feature.

Keep it clean: How to Clean Your iPhone Contact List in Four Easy Steps

4. Stop downloading duplicates

Bad downloads creep into app stores too often. Tap or click for 10 apps you need to remove from your phone now. Malicious code is often hidden in seemingly harmless applications, such as PDF editors and photo editing software.

Then there are things like flashlight apps or QR code scanners. None of these items should appear on your Home screen. Why? Your phone incorporates these features.

Downloading apps you don’t need leads to an overloaded phone. Tap or click here for a list of bloatware apps that 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 aren’t the most reliable. Amazon is known for this exact problem; it’s hard to say if these 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 scam apps on, and if you browse the reviews of these downloads, you’ll see a common thread.

Watch for complaints of weird pop-up ads, phone slowing, unexpected charges, or other weird behavior. If any of these metrics are under review, do not download the app.

Do you like what you read? Make sure to catch the podcast below.

Bonus 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’m speaking with two Reuters reporters who exposed Amazon’s secret war on your privacy in this episode. You’ll learn how to find everything Amazon knows about you – and how to remove it and stop tracking for good.

Check out my “Kim Komando Explains” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.

Check out all the latest tech on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s biggest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and gives advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit their website at

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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