So with every tech product we use, it’s important that we take the time to navigate through the many menus, buttons, and switches to minimize the data we share. Here’s a simplified guide to many of the default settings that I and other tech writers always change.
With iPhones, users can open the Settings app and access the Privacy menu to change how they share data about app usage and location.
Select Tracking and turn off Allow apps to request tracing. This instructs all apps not to share data with third parties for marketing purposes.
Select Apple ads and opt out of personalized ads so that Apple can’t use information about you to serve targeted ads on the App Store, Apple News, and Stocks.
Select Analytics and Optimizations and turn off Share iPhone Analytics to prevent your iPhone from sending device data to Apple to improve its products.
Select Location Services, tap System Services, and turn off iPhone Analytics, Routing, and Traffic to prevent the device from sharing geographic data with Apple to improve Apple Maps.
Google products, including Android phones and web services such as Google Search, YouTube, and Google Maps, are linked to Google accounts, and there is a control panel for adjusting data management on the website. myactivity.google.com.
For all three categories — Web & App Activity, Location History, and YouTube History — set Auto-delete to delete activity older than three months. This way, instead of creating a permanent history of each search, Google scans entries that are older than 90 days. In the short term, it can still provide useful recommendations based on recent research.
Additional tip for Android phones comes from Ryne Hager, editor at Tech Blog “android font”: New versions of Android give users the option to share an approximate location instead of their exact location with apps. For many applications, such as weather programs, sharing approximate data should be the best solution, and accurate geographic data should only be shared with programs that you need to function properly, such as map applications.
Facebook from Meta
The most important Meta settings can be accessed through the Privacy Checker tool file in the Settings menu. Here are some important tweaks to prevent spying by employers and marketers:
For “Who can see what you share,” select “Only Me” for people who have access to your friends list and Pages you follow, and select “Friends” for who can see your birthday.
For “How can people find you on Facebook,” choose “Only Me” for people who can search for you by email or phone number.
For Facebook Ads Preferences, turn off the Relationship Status, Employer, Job Title, and Education switches. This way, marketers cannot display targeted ads based on this information.
Amazon website and devices
Amazon provides some control over how information is shared through its website and products such as Alexa and Nest cameras. There are two settings that I highly recommend turning off:
Last year Amazon launched Amazon Dock, a program that automatically allows new Amazon products to share Internet connections with other nearby devices. Critics say Sidewalk could open doors for bad actors to gain access to people’s data.
To turn it off for the Echo speaker, open the Amazon Alexa app and tap More at the bottom right of the screen. In Settings, tap Account Settings, choose Amazon Sidewalk, and turn off Sidewalk.
For the Ring camera, in the Ring app, tap the three-line icon in the top left, then tap Control Center. Press Amazon Sidewalk and move the button to the off position.
On Amazon’s website, some shopping lists – such as items saved to your wishlist – are shared with the public by default, which may reveal information. Visit your lists page and set each shopping list to privacy.
Windows PCs come with a range of data sharing settings enabled by default to help Microsoft, advertisers, and websites learn more about us. The keys to disabling these settings can be found by opening the Settings menu and clicking Privacy and Security, then General.
However, the worst Windows default setting may have nothing to do with privacy. When Kimber Streams, Editor at Wirecutter, tests new laptops, one of his first steps is to open the sound menu and select No Sound to stop the many annoying beats that sound when something goes wrong. Not compatible with Windows.
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