It’s worth being aware that our smartphones are among the most extensive data-collecting devices. According to research by Trinity College, the University of Dublin, and to the surprise of many, Android devices collect around 20 times as much data about the user as iPhones. The devices surveyed interacted with Google and Apple about every four and a half minutes. The numbers show how difficult, if not impossible, it is to weed out these features completely. The first step is to remove all optional accounts from your device. If users are willing to live with the restrictions, they can even give up their Google Account, but they won’t have access to the Play Store. There are, of course, free alternatives, such as the excellent F-Droid. But the problem with iOS is that you can’t install apps from external sources.
A helpful feature on both platforms is an open-source application called Blokada, which can also block advertisements and system-level trackers using DNS blocking. However, it is not free to use. You can change the operating system to LineageOS or Replicant on some Android phones. Although these systems are free from Google, they do not run properly on all devices and are complex and skilled to install.
What is F-Droid?
F-Droid is an alternative app store for Android. It works as an open-source community where users can upload their own free and open-source apps.
What is Blokada?
Blokada is open-source, ad-blocking software that anyone can download and use. It’s available for Windows and Android operating systems. Blokada aims to remove all ads from your Internet browser to make surfing the web a quicker, cleaner experience. The creators of this app also want it to be a tool of empowerment for people worldwide who do not have access to many online services because of their economic situation, limited access to technology, or poor infrastructure.
What is LineageOS?
LineageOS is a free and open-source operating system for smartphones and tablet computers based on the Android mobile platform. It is the successor to the highly popular custom ROM, CyanogenMod, from which it was forked in December 2016 when Cyanogen Inc. announced it was discontinuing development and shut down the infrastructure behind the project.
While it’s important to be aware that our smartphones collect data about us, it’s also important to remember that this data is often used to improve our user experience. In other words, while there are some privacy concerns associated with smartphone data collection, it’s not all bad news. So, the next time you’re worried about your smartphone collecting data about you, remember that it might be doing so for your good.