SOME apps on your smartphone could be ‘spying’ on you all the time without you even realising.
Siri and Google Assistant are known for listening out in case you give a verbal command but some people think apps also listen for marketing purposes.
Researchers at NordVPN think you can set a trap to see if your phone is ‘spying’Credit: Alamy
Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN, explained in press release: “When you ask Google Assistant or Siri to find something, this information is used for online advertising.
“It’s no different from typing something into Google Search.
“If you’re looking for car dealerships in your city, related ads will start chasing you across the internet.
“In a way, a virtual assistant is just another search engine.”
Siri and Google Assistant listen in the background in case you ask a questionCredit: Alamy
According to NordVPN, you can test whether your smartphone is ‘spying’ by setting a trap.
The experts suggest picking a topic you would never normally discuss.
It should be something you’ve never searched online for before on any device.
Keep the topic in your head and come up with a list of keywords that might trigger a search engine to show you information on that topic.
For example, you could pick “Shakespeare” as a topic and have his plays as keywords or mention Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London.
Then, start talking about the topic and using the keywords near your phone.
You can do this with your friends or on your own.
Once you’ve done this a few times, the trap has been set.
All you need to do next is keep an eye on social media and any websites you frequently visit to see if you suddenly see adverts associated with the new topic you’ve been discussing.
You can turn off Google Assistant and Siri if you’re concerned about them listening for marketing purposes.
You should also review app permissions to see if you’ve enabled microphone access for any apps that don’t seem to need it.
iPhone tricks to try today
Here are some of the best…
- Typing cursor – When typing, hold down the space bar to turn your keyboard into a trackpad, letting you move around words and sentences more easily
- Close all Safari tabs – To do this in one go, simply hold the overlapped squares in the bottom right-hand corner, and press close all tabs
- Delete lots of photos quickly – Hold down on a photo and then drag your finger diagonally in Photos to select lots of images at once, then hit delete
- Convert currency quickly – Swipe down from the top of your Home screen (or swipe left to right on an iPhone X or later model), then tap in the bar and type a currency (like $200) and it will automatically covert to your local currency
- Check if you’re due a battery upgrade – Batteries inside smartphones degrade over time. Just go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health, and check out the Maximum Capacity reading. Generally a battery is considered worn when you’re down to 80% capacity. If you’re below, you can buy a battery swap from Apple
- Move apps around faster – Hold an app until it starts wiggling, then (while still holding) tap other apps, causing them to stack so you can move them around easier
In other news, your Facebook News Feed will soon feature podcasts and audio clips.
Apple has confirmed that a special event will take place on April 20 with new tech goodies in tow.
And, WhatsApp users are being warned about a malicious link to an app that claims it can turn the messaging platform pink.
Have you ever thought your phone was spying on you? Let us know in the comments…
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