User privacy has been a big topic over the last few months, and for a good reason. Mobile users are not fond of their online behavior and habits being tracked, analyzed and disseminated by tech companies for financial gain.
Google and Facebook are some of the biggest offenders in tracking users, and it’s nearly impossible to do anything online without either of them knowing about it. To use a Google smart device, as an example, you need a Google account. It tracks, listens, and stores the data against your profile — all in the name of personalized advertising.
Google announced that it would offer increased privacy soon, but Apple has been ahead of the privacy curve for some time. It recently rolled out a method in which you can block app developers and services from following you around online. But to stay one step ahead, you can double-down and do it on your device as well.
Manage Apple location settings
Earlier this year, Apple introduced App Tracking Transparency (ATT). This allows users to specify which apps can track their online behavior. If you don’t want any personalized ads or apps to use your data, it can be switched off.
FOR ANDROID USERS: How to limit ad tracking on Android
If you want to turn Location Services completely off, you can.
On your iPhone or iPad, tap Settings, navigate down to Privacy and tap Location Services. If the first slider is turned on, it means that apps can track you. Slide it off if you universally want to deny your device from using Location Services.
The list of apps displayed under Location Services has access to your location and how frequently it is used. Tap on a specific app if you want to change the settings. You can choose Never, Ask Next Time, While Using the App or Always.
To take advantage of the App Tracking Transparency, change its settings by going to Settings, tapping Privacy, selecting Tracking, and toggling the Allow Apps to Request to Track off.
Opt out of personalized ads
In the Privacy menu, you can completely opt out of personalized advertising. This will not stop any or all advertising but will ignore your preferences and location when serving you with ads. Here’s how:
Open Settings, tap Privacy and scroll all the way down and tap Apple Advertising. To disable personalized ads, toggle the switch next to Personalized Ads to the left. You can also tap on the View Ad Targeting Information to see what information Apple has on you.
Things to keep in mind
Turning off location services disables your Apple device from tracking your location, but there are some disadvantages to that. The most obvious one is that apps like Maps, Waze or Uber won’t be able to determine your exact location.
To get around that, you can either change the setting so that the apps only use your location when you are using the app, or manually switch it on or off as needed.