Corporate Responsibility

Strip those inquisitive apps of their rights

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How to ensure “minimally invasive” impact on your data.

Often, apps are designed to access a smartphone’s files and functions, even though they do not need them in order to work. This has a huge impact on your privacy. That is why it is advisable to review and restrict permissions for apps both before and after they are installed.

Illustration: App-Berechtigung

Use apps specifically.

A navigation program has to access your current location – that goes without saying. But there is no reason why this same app calls for access to your camera. If an app wants to collect more data than seems logical at first glance, the reason may be an oversight by the provider. But it may also be purely intentional, aimed at supplying the data to other businesses. To protect your privacy, be critical about which access you authorize. 

How to restrict permissions on an Android device

  • Go to Settings.
  • Look for the Apps, Applications, or Data Protection menu item. 
  • Select the app you want from the list.
  • On the next page, you will find the “Access rights” heading. 
  • After clicking this entry, you can use the slider to remove or grant access rights.

Note: After having its (access) rights restricted, an app may not work normally, or it may not work at all. For this reason, test the app after you have removed access. Often, the app will then ask you again whether permissions can be granted. 

How to restrict permissions on an iOS device

  • Go to Settings.
  • Select “Privacy”.
  • On the next page, iOS displays the various access categories.
  • After choosing an item, on the next page you can completely disable access or select an app and modify permissions according to your preference.

Note: After having its (access) rights restricted, an app may not work normally, or it may not work at all. For this reason, test the app after you have removed access. Often, the app will then ask you again whether permissions can be granted.

neugierigen-apps-rechte-entziehen-en

Must-know app permissions

You should be vigilant about apps and their permissions. If in doubt, check the developer’s page to find out why the permissions are necessary. If you are still not convinced, disable access or choose a different app.

  • In-app purchases: This permission allows the app to use the payment function of an app store. These could be additional modules or expansion packs for games. However, granting permission can incur unwanted charges triggered by accidental clicks.
  • Read device history: Developers may use permissions to compile crash reports. However, they can also be used to analyze your usage. This group includes:
    • Check system status
    • Read log data and access running apps
    • Read web history
  • Read and write to Contacts: The apps can scan your address book. This exposes information about how often you call or email a contact. You should withdraw this sensitive permission, even if at first it seems to be an understandable reason for use. 
  • Read and edit call log or directly call phone numbers: Be careful with this permission! Malicious apps can dial non-toll-free numbers in the background. Permitting access to the call log makes it possible to delete an entry.
  • Microphone access: An app with a dictation function needs access of this kind. Messenger or apps used to learn a language also have access to the microphone. However, in the case of other apps, care is advised. This function is perfect for eavesdropping.
  • Locate: Camera and photo apps use this information to determine where a picture was taken, and navigation apps rely on location information. But location data can also generate location histories. That is why you should think twice when an application requests this permission.

Further reading

FAQ