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© Alexey Novikov |

Here’s what Samsung knows about you – and how to delete it

No matter who your phone manufacturer is, you can be sure of one thing: data collection, often enabled by default. Many brands claim these features are designed to improve the user experience. But, to some, the methods and the data collected may feel too personal.

Below is a quick rundown of the data that Samsung collects and a few strategies you can utilize if you hope to keep your data a little more private.

What does Samsung know about your device?

Samsung is pretty transparent regarding the info it gleans from your devices. This page from the smartphone giant outlines its data collection process: your data is collected, shared with (undisclosed) business partners, and, eventually, stored securely or deleted with time.

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Below, you’ll find a few examples of the type of data most often utilized in this way:

  • Personal information, including your name, address and other contact information.
  • Your personal habits as they relate to your device, such as the time spent using your smartphones and the apps you appear to prefer.
  • Login information for your accounts (if your bank account is linked to your phone, it’s almost certainly fair game).

However, Bixby, Samsung’s digital assistant, records every command you say. It retains the previous seven days, and some sources claim that these recordings are occasionally submitted for human review. Who can you trust?

The reps we got in touch with mentioned that this data might sometimes be used to inform a repair service request, which can be helpful.

These same experts assured us that Samsung data is backed by Google’s security and unlikely to be compromised by unauthorized third parties. Still, you may be uncomfortable with your personal habits being shared without their knowledge or permission.

Even more disturbing might be that Samsung is willing to provide data to ongoing investigations, statistic-gathering institutions, and other authorities.

You likely have little to worry about if you’re not breaking the law. The practice makes us think, though. Is there any way to limit Samsung surveillance on your device? 

How to manage your Samsung smartphone

While the standard that Samsung sets for its patrons is high, you might consider any of the following strategies that can limit the amount of data you’re giving the company. You can access your My Data account through your phone or the web.

Once you log in, you’ll see any pending service requests you’ve submitted and a helpful page outlining the service and what it can do for you. From here, you can do things like download your personal data or ask the company to purge your file altogether.

To request data deletion, all you have to do is:

  • Scroll down to Manage apps and services.
  • Tap the Deletion tab.
  • Choose Select all, or choose which apps and services you’d like to include individually.
  • Lock it in with the Request deletion button, all the way at the bottom.
  • Confirm in the pop-up by hitting the Request button.

After you’re done, you’ll receive an email confirmation, and your request will be listed under your My Data account. Samsung warns that doing so means you won’t be able to restore this data on your personal devices. If that’s a little too far for you, opting out of direct marketing ads is just as easy:

  • Scroll down to Manage apps and services.
  • Instead of Deletion, choose Opt out.
  • Choose Select all, or choose each app individually.
  • Finish with the Request button.

If Bixby is giving you anxiety, it’s easy to disable Bixby Voice, which will prevent you from triggering the feature inadvertently. To do so:

  • Press and hold the side key on your phone.
  • Tap into the gear-shaped settings icon.
  • Scroll down to Leave Bixby.
  • Tap the option twice.
  • Confirm with OK.

You’ll need to authenticate the request with your credentials if you’re not logged into your Samsung account. 

What else can you do about data collection on your device?

Being responsible about what you share with Samsung is a great way to ensure that data collection doesn’t impact your customer experience daily. Here are some more ways to increase privacy.

  • Choose app permissions wisely and purposefully.
  • Enable screen pinning, which limits the apps your device can access to only the one you’re currently using.
  • Disable automatic Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, which can protect you from shady, unreliable public networks.
  • Keep your apps updated so that you’re always benefiting from the latest security measures and features.
  • Never download low-quality apps from no-name publishers, which may introduce vulnerabilities to your smartphone.

Your lock screen, biometrics and any two-factor authentications can protect your device from intruders that might try to access your phone in person. These tips and tricks can help you keep your data safe in transit, in the cloud, or even stored on your device.

You may also like: 5 Android phone settings that drastically improve your privacy

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