Is my iPhone listening to me? Change these smartphone privacy settings now!

You may often wonder “Is your phone actually listening to you? Yes…It is true that your devices are listening and as a result of what they hear, see where you visit etc they can target specific marketing adverts to you. However, they don’t need to waste their time eavesdropping as they can get heaps of information on you from various data sources – your location, search history etc.

Not only is your phone listening to you, tracking you and monitoring your search history, but it’s 100% legal for phone makers to do so. You might be thinking “I didn’t give my consent!” Well, unfortunately, you almost certainly did. 

Step 1: Don’t allow App access to your microphone unnecessarily

Don’t just click hastily “yes” to everything when prompted when installing a new app. Carefully consider if the app needs access to your microphone, camera, contacts, photos etc. Only grant access if actually needed.

Step 2: Check and remove Mic access

Trust me, it is alarming which apps actually have access to your microphone that definitely does not need it. If you want to remove microphone access to a third-party app after you grant it follow these steps:
On an iPhone: Simply go to the Settings app and tap on “Privacy,” then on “Microphone.” You’ll see a list of every third-party app that has asked for permission and if they currently have access to your mic. Toggle any of the switches off to remove its access.
On an Android phone: Open the Settings app and navigate to Privacy and tap Permission Manager. From here select Microphone and then from the list of apps available tap the one, you want to deny access to your microphone. Repeat these steps for the desired apps.

Step 3:Disable Siri and Google Assistant listening (it will still work)

If you want Siri to stop listening for the “Hey Siri” trigger all of the time, disable the feature.
Go to the Settings app and tap on “Siri & Search.” Scroll down and turn off “Listen for Hey Siri.” Although Siri will still use your mic when you turn it on, it won’t actively be listening to you in the background.
We would also recommend you check which apps are tracking your location and accessing

If you are an android user, to stop Google Assistant, open the Settings app and navigate to Google > Settings for Google Apps.
Afterward tap Search, Assistant & Voice > Voice. Tap Voice Match and toggle off “Hey Google” to turn off Android’s voice assistant.

Bonus Privacy Tips For Smartphones

Turning off your smart assistants and removing microphone access are two things you can do to protect your privacy. However, it is also worth turning off the following:

  • On an iPhone under Privacy & Security > Analytics & Improvements > Turn OFF
  • On an Android phone turn off Google turn off Goggle personalisation by disabling Ad Personalisation
  • Set apps to update automatically so they always have the latest security patches
You can have greater peace of mind if you adhere to the advice above, however, there is no way to 100% prevent listening and the sophisticated tools advertisers use to gather data. I’d love to know if you also got a shock with just how many apps are tracking your microphone, location and accessing your camera, photos and contacts unnecessarily!

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