Ever felt like your phone was listening? It is and you can stop it by deleting this popular app

If you’ve ever felt like your phone was listening to you, it turns out that you are right. But there is a way to stop it!

Ever felt like your phone was listening? It is and you can stop it by deleting this popular app
© Christian Wiediger / UNSPLASH
Ever felt like your phone was listening? It is and you can stop it by deleting this popular app

Most smartphone users have felt as if their phone was listening to them. One morning you mention wanting to buy a tote bag and within an hour you have ads for the item. These are called targeted ads and most of us fall victim to them.

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Have you ever wondered how your phone manages to do that? Well the answer is simple, it listens. Indeed, smartphones collect data this way which they then sell to advertisers. This phenomenon is sometimes amusing but overall it can be quite concerning to know that the object you carry around everywhere with you is constantly listening.

Data privacy advocate Gaël Duval spoke to Mail Online about this and he appears to offer concrete solutions.

Why are our phones listening to us and how?

According to the article published by Mail Online, data collection through phones is made to increase sales. Indeed, because this practice allows ads to be tailored to the user, people see what they want almost instantly after formulating their wish. This leads to impulse buying.

Moreover, our phones showing us catered content leads to a significant increase in the time we spend in front of our screens which has an impact on our social lives and mental health.

The way phones listen is through certain apps or softwares. For instance, all smartphones have specific apps that they tap into meaning that sending a voice note or writing a text about a topic can lead to targeted ads. Moreover, certain apps track your data more than others like Google Maps.

Overall getting targeted ads is not the worst thing that can happen but this phenomenon is a bigger issue and activists such as Gaël Duval are fighting to have companies respect the privacy of their users.

Read more:Millions of Android users could be affected by this warning that should not be ignored

What can you do to stop your phone from listening to you?

Gaël Duval is a software engineer who has worked ‘to create an ‘ethical operating system’ called /e/.’ Over the years, Duval has called out CEO at Google and Apple concerning how they handle personal data.

While speaking to Mail Online, Duval gave very tangible tips on how you can actively stop these companies from getting your personal data.

Stop using Google Maps

According to Duval, Google Maps ‘collects a huge amount of data.’ Duval also reveals that Google Maps doesn’t just track your location.

He says:

It’s a given that Google is accessing your location when using Google Maps, but did you know the app can also read personal contact information? It can also record audio, read image and video files and communicate with AdServices – it has extensive access to private information and monetises this.

Apple users should simply deinstall the app while Android users can follow the following steps: ‘Settings > Location > Location Permission’

Turn off Siri

Or any other voice assistant. These ‘assistants’ are literally made to listen to you.

On IPhone you can simply switch off Siri and on Androids, follow these steps: ‘Settings > Google > Settings for Google Apps > Search, Assistant and Voice > Google Assistant > Access Your Assistant’ and then switch it off.

Check what apps are collecting your data

Duval strongly believes that when it comes to data privacy, knowledge is power so it is crucial that you regularly check what apps on your phone collect and use your data.

He says:

Because using and selling user data is so lucrative, many apps collect your data location tracking and camera/microphone access enabled by default, with providers relying on people being unaware they are being tracked or assuming there’s nothing they can do about it

But there is something you can do about it.

On iPhones you can generate a ‘Privacy Report’ following these steps: ‘Settings > Privacy, and tap App Privacy Report and enable it.’ If you have an Android the steps are: ‘Settings > Privacy, and tap App Privacy Report and enable it’

Read more:

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Mail Online: I'm a privacy expert, here's how to stop your phone from listening and spying on you right now


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