- What information do all apps on my Android phone share and access?
- How to know what information all the applications on your Android phone have access to and share
If we think about the utility of an application, it is easy for us to list what permissions they have and what information they collect. Thus, a messaging application like WhatsApp makes sense that it can access our contacts, the camera, the photo and video gallery, the microphone and speaker (WhatsApp audio), the location. But some permissions can make us squeak: why does this game have the permission to access my contacts? (hint: probably so you can share your achievements). to know to what information the applications installed on your phone have access to, the key is in Data security, a section of the Google Play Store. This mandatory measure by Google is less than a year old and it is worth having it always at hand as a good maintenance and security practice.
This section has two sections that are of particular interest to us. The first is its purpose itself: to provide information about how our data is collected and shared. What data? Personal information, location, browsing activity, financial information, and device identifier.
For what purpose? Application functionality, analytics, advertising, fraud prevention, personalization, account management, for example. Thus, we will be able to discern which are essential for the proper functioning of the app or if they are an extra and therefore, susceptible to revocation.
How to access Data Security in the Google Play Store
To know this information you just have to go to the Google Play Store and search for the applications you have installed. For our example we have used Telegram. Find it and click on it. Now scroll down until you find the section ‘data security‘ and tap to bring up a summary.
Note that here you can see if they share data with third parties, the type of data collected, whether or not it has encryption and if you can request the deletion of the data. Click on ‘See details‘ to know in depth each section. Specifically, the data that is collected is: Location, Personal information, Messages, Photos and videos, Audio, Files and documents and Contacts. Touching on each of them you see their nature. This is how we discovered that, for example, access to Contacts is optional but Personal Information is specific to the functionality, and therefore necessary.
Now that you know what information it collects, if you wish, you can revoke permissions by going to ‘settings‘ > ‘security and privacy‘ > ‘Privacy‘ and there enter the Permissions Manager. So, by touching ‘Contact’, for example, you can see which applications have that permission (and which don’t) and you can modify it.
In Xataka Android | How do permissions and data security work on Android?