3 Important Facts You Should Know About Apps
Most people have a smartphone these days. It’s no longer just a luxury item, it has many features that can make your life easier and more convenient, and it’s one of the best investments you can make in optimizing your daily life if you don’t already have one. At the heart of any smartphone ecosystem are all of the apps we use every day. And while the wide range of free solutions on the App Store can seem very tempting, it also comes with some conditions that people rarely consider.
The truth is, apps aren’t really your “friends”. In most cases, they’re not created by people who have your interests in mind, including apps that are explicitly marketed as such (like self-improvement apps – in fact, they may be the main culprits). If this strikes you as weird, read on – there’s a darker side of the app market that you may not even know about.
Your data is not as secure as you might think
Many apps are primarily about collecting data. Sure, they apply as different things – social media platforms, video editors, to-do lists and reminder tools, even games for kids. However, the main business model for many of these companies is to collect, analyze, and sell your data. And worst of all, by installing these apps and running them once, you usually give your explicit consent to it. Often times, you have no legal recourse if you feel like your privacy is being breached the moment you realize what’s going on and the only option is not to use the app at all.
You may think that the apps you use are not collecting sensitive information just because you are not asked to enter such information. But even there you are often wrong – more on this below. And even if they don’t bother collecting additional data from your phone outside of the app’s own realm, they can still capture things like your input patterns, frequency of use, and analyze how your behavior is affected by various unobtrusive little data changes – and all of this data is very valuable for developers and publishers. Using a solution like SmartProxy is one way to fix the problem.
Short lifetimes are not due to a lack of planning
A common nuisance with mobile apps is that they come and go. However, this is not due to a “lack of luck” on the part of the developers or a story they may want to tell about the situation. Often times it’s a calculated step designed to refresh the overall experience and gather new data in an even more aggressive way, using everything the developers learned from the last app. In other cases, it’s just meant to get you to keep paying. You don’t want this poor developer to starve on the street, do you? They often throw in an emotional picture to better illustrate this concept and play with your emotions in the hope that you will subscribe to their service and help them maintain it. By subscribing, you’ve added even more data to the still large batch.
Do you really know what all these permissions are for?
We addressed this above, but it deserves its own section. When you install an app, you usually have to agree to certain conditions set by the developer and give the app various permissions for your device. And sure, they often have legitimate-sounding explanations for why they need these permissions. A note-taking app may want to use your camera to take pictures as an attachment to those notes, or your microphone to record voice notes. However, you’d be surprised how many of these apps downright lie about why exactly they need these permissions and what they do with your device afterwards.
There are increasing reports of people using certain popular global social media platforms and encountering spooky encounters as a result. Your phone just sits idly on your desk while you talk to your friend about a recent pregnancy anxiety. You open up your favorite social media a few hours later and see ads for pregnancy tests, baby products, and other things unrelated to what you recently searched on the phone. How do you know? Because this mic is picking up more than you’d like to know, all the time.
That’s not to say that you should just give up using apps and your smartphone in general. However, it can be worthwhile to think twice about the types of apps you install and whether it is worth giving them so many intrusive permissions due to the low level of convenience they offer. Many people have begun to give up on social media entirely, and as more of this knowledge emerges, we may see this become a popular movement in the years to come.