iPhone app privacy analysis shows which apps collect the most personal data

iPhone app privacy labels have been a real eye-opener in showing just how much of our personal data is accessed by certain apps. If you’ve ever wondered which apps collect and share the most data, cloud storage company pCloud did the legwork.

The company examined app privacy labels in the App Store, and compiled a ranking of apps by the percentage of personal data collected, as well as the amount of it passed to third parties…

You can probably guess the two worst offenders:

80% of apps use your data to market their own products in the app and beyond. This includes things like apps serving you their own ads on other platforms, as well as in-app promotions for their own benefit, or for third parties who pay for the service. We revealed which apps collect the most data for this by analyzing how many of the possible 14 data categories each collects under Apple’s ‘Developer’s Advertising or Marketing’ section […]

The top two here are Instagram and Facebook. Both are owned by Facebook and use 86% of your data to sell you more of their own products and serve you relevant ads on behalf of others. In joint second are Klarna and Grubhub, who use 64%, while Uber and its food app, Uber Eats, both use 57%. 

The data these apps use can range from your date of birth to offer you exclusive discounts, through to the times you usually use the app. If Uber Eats, for example, knows you’re often browsing at 6 p.m. on a Friday, they’ll know when to hit you with the ads. 

More then half of all apps checked shared at least some data with third parties, and the same two apps again headed the list: Instagram shared 79% of the personal data it collected, while Facebook did so with 57% of the data.

Apps collect your data for a lot of reasons. One of the initial reasons for this is to make your experience better, tracking how you interact with them to fix bugs and improve how they work. However, they also use your information to target you with ads across any platform. We’ve all seen it – we finish browsing on one app, then an advert selling us something we’ve just looked at appears somewhere else.

This is done by passing on your data to third parties, something our study revealed that over half of all apps do. Third parties might be associated with the company that runs the app, or they might just pay a fee to access their users’ data.

Social listening companies are often where your data ends up. Companies like BuzzSumo and Hootsuite collect your data to allow people to analyse, understand and, ultimately, sell to you […]

Instagram shares a staggering 79% of your data with other companies. Including everything from purchasing information, personal data, and browsing history. No wonder there’s so much promoted content on your feed. With over 1 billion monthly active users it’s worrying that Instagram is a hub for sharing such a high amount of its unknowing users’ data. In second place is Facebook, which gives 57% of your data away.

pCloud also identified apps which collected and shared the least amount of personal data, including 14 that accessed none at all.

You can see the full iPhone app privacy rankings in the company’s blog post.

Photo: Szabo Viktor/Unsplash

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