Check these phone settings to make sure apps aren’t spying on you

Phone apps ask for permission to see a lot of data on our phone including GPS, photos and microphone. Here’s how to check and limit their access – even after you’ve already installed them.

By now, we are all better aware of the information tech giants like Facebook and Google are collecting on us – but what about that random game app on your phone?

Apps can ask for permissions on a variety of sensors and data from your phone. Usually, they do this when you install them or run them for the first time. Here’s how to do a quick checkup on your apps to see what they have access to and revoke any permissions you think are unnecessary.

Before you start, keep in mind that some apps need specific permissions to function properly. Google Maps won’t navigate without GPS and you can’t post a photo to Instagram without granting permission to your pictures. As you go through, keep this in mind and remember – you can’t really break anything here. If you revoke access that an app actually needs to perform its job – it will just ask you for permission once again the next time you run it.


iPhone makes it super easy to the permissions various apps have. Start by going to Settings > Privacy. Here you will see a list of items starting with Location Services, Contacts, Calendars and more.

Tap Location Services and you’ll see a list of all of your installed apps, along with their level of location access. Some will say “Never,” others will say “While Using” or “Always.” Go through and change these settings as you deem necessary.

Privacy settings on iPhone

App permissions in Android 8.0 Oreo

App permissions in Android 7 Nougat