Every mobile device user wants to protect their privacy. Though there are best practices recommended by Google to ensure that advertisers don’t access personally identifiable information about Android users, there is no assurance that most advertisers will follow those practices. Besides, you don’t want to watch ads popup every now and then during your in-app experience. This is why you should prevent apps from using your device’s Advertising ID.
Why Companies Want to Learn About You?
It is not just Android, other platforms also allow their advertisers to keep track of the activities of phone users. Although they claim that the tracking is limited to determining the purchasing preferences of users, you can never be sure what else they could be tracking on your device. Even when their goal is to deliver targeted ads, most Android users don’t want to be flooded with ads. It’s intrusive to your user experience. Imagine an app popping up in the middle of a crucial juncture in a game!
Companies are focused on building user profiles based on their interests, habits, and activities. They can also learn about your other crucial life activities. That is not something that should make you feel comfortable.
What is Advertising ID?
In the context of Android, Advertising ID is a unique ID assigned to your device by Google Play. You can re-set it as and when you want. Developers use this ID to monetize their apps. The ID provides them all the control over the monetization aspects of the apps they develop. At the same time, advertising ID also allows you to opt out of interest-based or personalized ads.
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Steps to Prevent Apps
The following steps should help you prevent apps from using advertising ID and showing targeted ads to you:
- Open Apps
- Open ‘Google Settings’
- Open Ads
- Open “Opt out of interest-based ads”
This will helps you prevent apps from targeting personalized ads at you.
Recommended Best Practices
Google and Apple have recommendations for developers and advertisers on how they should limit user activity tracking, but there are no assurances on whether someone will follow these best practices or not. For example, Google requires developers to use Advertising ID only for the person of user profiling / ads use-cases. They are recommended to take the ‘Limit Ad Tracking’ flag seriously. It is also not recommended to link the identifier to personally identifiable information. However, whether they follow these guidelines is up to the developers and this can leave the app users vulnerable to advanced level of tracking.
Companies and governments are able to access your information without any repercussions. Probably, this is why both Google and Apple have provided the ways so that users can simply choose to prevent apps from tracking them. However, ads are not the only methods of tracking phone users. Companies can also track your searches and learn more about you. If you want to stay safe and prevent anyone from learning things about you that you don’t want to share, make sure to take the right steps.