Even using Firefox or Brave as your default browser– they block ads and trackers automatically– does not mean you are not being tracked. Trackers are hiding on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac and there isn’t much you can do about it.
Apps Track You
If you’re at all like most of us, you have more apps on your devices than ever; not just from Apple, Adobe, or Microsoft. It’s not just Google’s Chrome or Apple’s Safari that tracks your whereabouts and sends collected data back to someone somewhere so it can be harvested, packaged, and resold.
Your apps do the same thing. Yes, Apple claims to be on the side of privacy and security, and certainly more so than Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft, but does our favorite Cupertino company make it easy to block ALL trackers?
Instead, Apple provides customers with lip service and a few new features which highlight privacy, but none which actually make your device private. How so? Tracking devices are everywhere, and it’s not just a browser that does the deed.
Many applications on Apple devices use Google Analytics to track behavior and such tracking is almost impossible to stop on iPhone and iPad, and requires one of a handful of tracker blocker apps for the Mac. Worse, application developers use a variety of SDKs– software development kits– which help their apps grab data from your device and phone it home to the developer or a third party resource, which then matches the collected information with other data already culled from your online habits.
In other words, Safari can block certain trackers, but not third party applications which also grab data and run with it. Where do they run? Well, not so much run as sell. They sell the data to the likes of Facebook, Google, and others who match it with data they have already collected.
It isn’t just advertisers that do the tracking and many of those can be blocked with the new breed of browsers– Safari and Google (with add-on blockers), Brave and Firefox by default. What you cannot easily block are the applications you use. Use the app, it gathers data and sends it away, and you never know what happened until you start getting more targeted ads.
Blocking apps that track you on iPhone and iPad is not easy, but Apple does have a few controls in Settings. Mac users have more options. Check out these:
- How To Block Apps From ‘Phoning Home’
- Why You Need An Ad And Tracker Blocker
- Try The Tough Mac Hacker Blocker
- How To Stop Google’s Trackers On Your Mac
- On Finding The Spies Already Inside A Mac
Our favorite Mac utility to block apps that track is Little Snitch but there is nothing that does the deed for iPhone and iPad.