When you use your phone, it generally feels fairly private. No one else knows what you’re searching for or what activity you are engaging in. And in the modern era, people are using their phones to browse the Internet more often than ever, as the phone is essentially just a computer that is always connected to the Internet.
But this connectivity may be your concern. Is your phone tracking everything that you search for? Is it collecting all of your data? And since it’s connected to the Internet and everything else, does that mean that what you do on your phone isn’t actually private at all?
The default settings
As a default, the answer is yes. For instance, say that you use Google, the top search engine in the world. You may even have an account for Gmail or other related services. If you do, and then you use these apps on your phone, Google is going to track some or all of the following:
- Videos that you watched
- Images that you looked at
- Links that you clicked on
- Search terms that you typed in
- Activity that you took after performing a search
- Ads or related links that you clicked on or showed interest in
In some cases, your phone is even going to track real-time location data.
There are ways to turn off some of these settings so that Google and others won’t track nearly as much information. But as a general rule, it’s best to assume that your phone is recording more than you anticipate of your online activity. This can become very important if you’re facing charges or if the authorities want to look at the contents of your phone, and it’s critical that you understand exactly what legal options you have.