Phones are one of the most used technological items in the 21st century. Most people, especially the younger generation, does not go far without their smartphones.  And who would want to? With the ability to listen to music, take pictures, manage our banking, create workout routines, and stay connected with friends the smartphone is an all in one package deal. Although some older generations, ages 65+, do have phones only about 45% of them own a smartphone.

If I was to ask my grandma why she does use a smartphone she would tell me that she doesn’t know how it works. It’s not that she doesn’t know how to take a picture or make a call, but she wants to know where all this information is being saved. If I take a picture she will ask where is that photo being saved, or when I go on social media she will ask who can see those photos. For my Grandma, it’s more about where her information is going rather than how to do a menial task.

It’s questions that I myself don’t always ask because I know that if someone was determined enough to find information about me then they could find it. However there are millions of people with smartphones, some more famous and more successful than me. If someone wanted to steal my information then why would they pick a poor college student when they could try and get information from a senator or a famous supermodel? Despite this, it doesn’t mean that you should leave your information out in about wherever you want. Here are many factors when it come to privacy and where you information could be leaked. One of which could be the type of phone you use.

There are two types of smartphones, Androids and iPhones, and depending on which one you have your data might be going to a different place. In terms of security, iPhones have the build-in system to do that. Most androids run using google, so most of your data is going to a Google server, whereas iPhones try to keep most of your data within your own phone. Apple also has more software updates and is more restrictive in terms of apps allowed on their app store. Now before all the Apple lovers jump with joy let me ask you to sit down. Just because you phone data might not be sold to a company doesn’t mean that you privacy is completely safe.

Wireless Internet, for example, is far less secure than an ethernet connected device. Even though it is more practical, wireless connections can easily be intercepted and are a big security risk. Take for example your in a coffee shop to use their free wifi. You log on to your phone and see two wifi networks looking exactly the same in name. If you had some bad luck you could the wrong wifi network giving an unknown person access to your data on your phone. Belgian teacher Bram Bonné did this to at his Ted talk panel in 2014. By having viewers log into a fake wifi network he was able to get locations and other wifi networks they had logged into in the past. People also need to be wary of saved wifi networks on your phone. Depending on your settings your phone could automatically sync to a malicious network simply because of the name of the network. It’s important to delete any wifi networks you are not using.

This also is the same with apps. Some companies, such as Facebook, are known to sell people’s data to other companies. Apps often use the data on your phone for your contact information, location, media files, access to your camera and/or microphone. Some of these permissions are for convenience, such as finding existing friends on social media but before giving an app access to consider why an app would need that. Just how users need to be conscious of what they post online, knowing what information is out is just as important. Being conscious of what apps and wifi networks are on your phone is one of the first steps to take control of your information. Start simple by familiarizing yourself with your settings. on your phone and look at what apps have which permissions.

For more information check out these articles:

Fast Phone Facts

Supreme Court Case: Using Phone Locations in Court

Android and iPhone comparison

Android and iPhone comparison

Ted Talk about Phone security