Google privacy settings on iPhone: Medium level

Learn how to change your privacy settings on Google using iPhone. These steps adjust your privacy and security settings to Medium level protection
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How to protect your account from getting hacked

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Set a strong password

What for: So that attackers cannot crack it.

A Google account lets you synchronize music, photos, contacts, and other data across devices. However, if it is hacked, criminals can gain access to all of that data. Another danger is that if someone has access to your Google account, they can remotely lock out any connected devices and erase all data from them.

Make sure that your account is protected by a strong password that complies with the following requirements:

  • Is at least 8 characters long,
  • Contains lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters ($, @, etc.),
  • Is not an actual word or easy-to-guess phrase,
  • Is not the same as your passwords for any other accounts,
  • Does not consist of information that strangers could easily find out (your name, date of birth, pet's name, and so forth — or those of your friends or relatives).

To change the password:

  1. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the app’s main screen;
  2. Select Manage your Google account;
  3. Go to the Sign-in & security section;
  4. Select Password;
  5. Enter your current password;
  6. Enter a new strong password (twice) and tap Change password.

Configure two-step verification

What for: Greater protection against hacking.

You can increase the security of your Google account by enabling two-step verification. Every time you try to log in from a new device, the system will ask for a one-time code. A notification will be sent to all gadgets that are already logged in to that account. Thus, even if someone tries to hack your account, you will still be able to prevent them from logging in.

A login can be verified by one of the following methods:

  • Using a trusted device. When you try to log in to an account from an unknown device, a message will appear on the phone with your Google account asking you to verify the login. You’ll find a list of devices that have attempted to log in but are awaiting verification on the Settings page;
  • Using a one-time code you receive by text or a phone call;
  • Using your phone's built-in security key. Keep in mind that built-in security keys are supported only by devices with Android 7.0 or later. For them to work, the phone must be located next to your PC, and Bluetooth must be enabled on both devices.

To enable two-step verification using a trusted device:

  1. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the app’s main screen;
  2. Select Manage your Google account;
  3. Go to the Sign-in & security section;
  4. Tap 2-Step Verification;
  5. Tap Try it now to receive a notification on listed devices;
  6. When a request to log in to the account appears on the screen of the trusted device, tap Yes;
  7. Google will suggest that you select a backup authentication method in case your trusted device is unavailable. To choose to receive the code by text or a phone call:
  8. Enter the phone number that you want to use to receive the codes;
  9. Choose how you want to receive the code (SMS or Phone Call) and tap Submit;
  10. Enter the code you receive by text or voice message and tap Next.
  11. To select backup codes as an additional verification method:
  12. Tap Use a different method;
  13. When the backup codes appear on the screen, take a screenshot, save them to a PDF file, or print them out;
  14. Tap Next.
  15. Tap Enable.

If you do not want to use a trusted device, choose another method of receiving the code — by text or a phone call:

  1. In the Manage Your Google Account menu go to Sign in & security;
  2. Tap 2-Step Verification;
  3. Tap Get started;
  4. Enter your Google account password and tap Next;
  5. Tap Show more options;
  6. Choose Text message or voice call;
  7. Enter the phone number that you want to use to receive SMS messages or phone calls with codes;
  8. Choose how you want to receive the code (SMS or Phone Call) and tap Next;
  9. Enter the code that you received by text or voice message and tap Next;
  10. Tap Enable.

To enable two-step verification using a security key, in the same section:

  1. Tap 2-Step Verification;
  2. Tap Get started;
  3. Enter your Google account password and tap Next;
  4. Tap Show more options;
  5. Go to the Security key section with the name of your device and follow the instructions;
  6. Tap Done.

After you have enabled two-step verification, you can add several more login methods:

  • Using backup codes that work even if your phone is not available,
  • With the Google Authenticator app.


Use a trusted device, an incoming phone call, a special app, a security key, or backup codes for secure additional verification; an attacker can use malware or a communication protocol vulnerability to intercept a text message with a one-time code.


Specify additional methods of identity verification

What for: To prevent hackers from changing your account password.

The identity verification feature protects your account from being hacked. For example, if a hacker wants to take over your account, they can try to reset your password and create a new one. But before, you must complete a verification step of your choice:

  • Text message sent to your phone number,
  • E-mail sent to your backup e-mail address.

We recommend that you activate all of the methods for the highest level of security:

  1. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the app main screen;
  2. Select Manage your Google account;
  3. Go to the Sign-in & security section;
  4. Here you can specify:
  5. The phone number where you can be reached,
  6. A backup e-mail address.



How to keep corporations out of your business

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Turn off location tracking

What for: To prevent your movements from being stored on Google servers.

Google may save a list of all of the locations where you have been. This location log is used to choose targeted ads, perform searches, and some other functions. For example, the option lets you receive information automatically about traffic jams between your home and workplace. If you do not want your travel information to be saved on Google’s servers, you can clear the log and stop adding to it:

  1. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the app’s main screen;
  2. Select Manage your Google account;
  3. Go to the Personal info & privacy section;
  4. Press Timeline in Google Maps;
  5. Press the gear icon at the bottom of the map and select Pause Location History.

To delete your location history, perform the following steps in the Security section:

  1. Tap on your photo in the upper right corner;
  2. Press Your timeline;
  3. Press the three-dot icon in the upper right corner and go to Settings;
  4. Scroll down to Delete all Location History;
  5. Tick Yes, delete and press Delete Location History.

To delete location data for a specific period, perform the following steps in the same section:

  1. Tap Delete Location History range;
  2. Specify the period for which you would like to delete your location data and tap Continue;
  3. Tick Yes, delete and tap Delete;
  4. Tap Done.

You can also enable automatic deletion of data every 3 or 18 months. To do so, do the following in the same section:

  1. Tap Automatically delete Location History;
  2. Tick Auto-delete activity older than 3 months or forAuto-delete activity older than 18 months and tap the Next button;
  3. Tick the I confirm that I want to delete this data and tap Confirm.

Downside: Google will not be able to use information about your locations for purposes of ad and search personalization. The system will also not be able to create albums containing photos based on a specific location.

Restrict others from viewing your search and app activity history

What for: To keep Google from knowing which apps you use and which sites you visit.

By default Google collects information about your search queries, location, and app activities. This data is used to increase the accuracy of recommendations and personalization of Google services.

If you would prefer not to share this information, you can disable access to it:

  1. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the app’s main screen;
  2. Select Manage your Google account;
  3. Go to the Personal info & privacy section;
  4. Press Activity controls;
  5. Turn off the slider next to Web & App Activity;
  6. Scroll down the page and tap Pause.

To completely delete your app activity log and your search history, perform the following steps in the Web & App Activity section.

  1. Tap Manage Activity;
  2. Tap the three-dot icon to the right of the search bar in the upper part of the screen and select Delete activity by;
  3. Select All time;
  4. Scroll down the page and tap Continue;
  5. Tap Remove;
  6. Tap OK.

To delete particular activities from your history or to wipe data for a particular period of time, perform the following steps in the Manage activity section:

  1. Select the activity record that you want to delete, tap the three-dot icon to the right, and select Delete;
  2. Tap Delete in the dialog window that opens;
  3. To delete all the activity records within a particular day, tap the Delete icon to the right of the date;
  4. Tap Delete again in the dialog window that opens.

To enable automatic deletion of data every 3 or 18 months, perform the following steps in the Manage activity section:

  1. Tap the Choose to delete automatically button;
  2. Tick Auto-delete activity after 3 months or Auto-delete activity after 18 months and tap the Next button;
  3. Tap Confirm.


Prevent Google from collecting information about your contacts

What for: So that Google does not know who you frequently talk to.

Google can save data about the contacts on the devices that you use to log in to your Google account. Such data includes not only phone numbers and e-mail addresses, but also information about how often you communicate with a particular person. Syncing data across devices is convenient, but the information can also be used to target advertising, and it can be shared with third parties such as Google affiliates. If you prefer not to share this information, prevent the data from being saved:

  1. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the app main screen;
  2. Select Manage your Google account;
  3. Go to the People info & privacy section;
  4. Press Contact info saved from interactions in the Contacts section;
  5. Turn off Save contact info when you interact with people.

Remember that other Google services and apps, such as the Contacts app, can save data about your contacts.

Prevent your YouTube watch and search history from being saved

What for: So that Google does not know which videos you have watched.

Your account holds your YouTube search and watch history. This information can be used to target advertising, and it can be shared with third parties such as Google affiliates. If you prefer not to share this information, prevent the data from being saved:

  1. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the app main screen;
  2. Select Manage your Google account;
  3. Go to the Personal info & privacy section;
  4. Scroll down to the Activity controls section;
  5. Turn off the toggle next to YouTube History;
  6. Press Turn off on the page that opens.

To completely delete your YouTube search and watch history, perform the following actions in the YouTube History section:

  1. Tap Manage Activity;
  2. On the YouTube History page that opens in your browser, tap the three dots to the right of the search box;
  3. Select Delete activity by;
  4. Tap All time or select the desired period;
  5. Tap Remove.

To enable automatic deletion of data every 3 or 18 months, perform the following steps on the YouTube History page:

  1. Tap the Choose to delete automatically button;
  2. Tick Auto-delete activity older than 3 months or Auto-delete activity older than 18 months and tap the Next button;
  3. Press Confirm.

Stop third-party services from accessing your account data

What for: To stop the developers of third-party apps from collecting information about you.

Certain sites and apps may request access to your account data, such as your date of birth, gender, and phone number. Developers use this information to show you targeted ads and to collect statistics about their audience. If you would prefer not to share this information, limit access to it:

  1. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the app main screen;
  2. Select Manage your Google account;
  3. Go to the Sign-in & security section;
  4. The Apps with access to your account section lists the programs and sites that may use your Google profile data.
  5. Select the apps you want to prevent from viewing your information, tap Remove access, and then OK.

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How to prevent your personal data from being exposed

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Limit the visibility of your profile

What for: So that strangers can’t learn too much about you.

By default certain data from your account is visible to other users. This includes, for example, your date of birth, gender, and phone number. To prevent strangers from viewing this information, you can deny access to it:

  1. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the app main screen;
  2. Select Manage your Google account;
  3. Go to the Personal info & privacy section;
  4. Scroll down the page and find the About me section;
  5. Select the fields containing information that you want to deny access to, and specify that only you can see it.

You may not limit access to certain data, such as photos and names.

Prevent your data and ratings from being displayed in ads

What for: So that strangers cannot see your name and photos in ads.

Google can add user ratings and reviews on an advertised product or service to their ads (such as in its paid search engine results). The profile photo and the name of the user who wrote the review or added the rating are published as well. If you do not want strangers to see your personal data in ads, you can disable the feature:

  1. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the app main screen;
  2. Select Manage your Google account;
  3. Go to the Personal info & privacy section;
  4. Scroll down to Shared endorsements and tap it.
  5. Untick Based upon my activity, Google may show my profile name, profile photo, and activity in shared endorsements in ads, which is located at the bottom of the page.

Downside: If you disable the sharing of your recommendations, you will not see other people’s ratings and reviews in ads.


How to clean up your traces

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Select what happens to your account if you stop using it

What for: To maintain control over your data even if you decide to quit using your Google account;

If you stop using your account or lose access to it, all of your data will still remain on the company’s servers. That means the videos you uploaded on YouTube will still be available, Google Photos will continue to store your photos, and so on. You can configure the system so that your Google account will be deactivated and all of your data will be deleted after a certain period of time.

  1. Tap your profile picture in the upper right corner of the app’s main screen;
  2. Select Manage your Google account;
  3. Go to the Personal info & privacy section;
  4. Scroll down to Inactive Account manager;
  5. Tap Start;
  6. In the Decide when Google should consider your Google Account inactive section tap the Edit button and select the inactivity period after which your account should be deactivated. Google will send you a notification when the conditions have been met and your account will soon be deactivated;
  7. Check the phone number, your main and backup e-mail addresses that Google will use to send messages about your inactivity. You should have access to all of them so that you do not miss the notification;
  8. Tap Next;
  9. Tap Add person and enter a phone number and e-mail address to designate someone to receive a notification that your account has become inactive. If you want, indicate whether this person should be allowed to download an archive with your data, and what information it should contain;
  10. Tap Next;
  11. If you want, activate the toggle next to Yes, delete my inactive Google account;
  12. Tap Confirm your plan, tick Receive email reminders that Inactive Account Manager is turned on and tap Confirm plan.

Remember that along with your Google account all data from connected services, such as YouTube, Google Photos, and others, will also be deleted.



What would have happened if you had chosen another privacy level?

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Relaxed

Basic privacy settings, maximum convenience.


Medium

A golden mean respecting privacy matters but preserving convenience.


Tight

A choice of security over convenience; instructions contain a lot of details.

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