How to stop Google location tracking from collecting information on you

If you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you might not know that Google is able to track your location and gather information about you at any given moment when you’re using your smartphone – not just when you’re using Google Maps. Nevertheless, living under a rock might just be one of the best ways to stop the tech giant from accessing personal information about you and using it to their advantage.

Wait, why should I care about blocking Google from tracking me?
If you’re wondering why this may be so important to so many people, simply type into your browser “Google location tracking investigations” and you will find out why. Here’s the short version: Google promised smartphone users that if you turn off the “location history” setting on your device, they would no longer be able to track your location and use that information for their benefit. However, a damming investigation by the Associated Press found that that was not true. Google is still able to collect and store users’ data and geolocations – a gross violation of your privacy used for corporate means, especially if you have specifically turned off your location tracking setting (Just last year, Google’s ad revenue jumped by 20 percent to $95.4 billion thanks to location-specific advertising).
The violation has resulted in a number of state attorneys general in the US and European Union officials filing lawsuits against Google. The search engine company has already been fined a whopping $5 billion for breaking Europe’s antitrust laws, and is currently being investigated for its continuous use of location tracking on devices that have turned off their location history setting.

Okay, I want to completely block Google from tracking me. How?
Now that you know, you can make an informed choice on how you can stop, or just minimise, how much of your life you’re giving to Google so that they can make money.

Turning off your location history will only stop Google from adding your location to its Google Maps Timeline, however, as we mentioned above, it still collects, stores and uses your geolocations. In order to stop this, you’ll need to access a far more well-hidden, vaguely-worded setting on your device: Web & App Activity. After going into the setting and selecting ‘off’, a warning message will pop up asking you to confirm that you are pausing your web and app activity. Click pause. Think you’re done? Nope. Then you need to access the Activity Controls Dashboard in your actual Google account. Here, you will need to toggle off Location History yet again. Now you’re finally freeeee!

So, why doesn’t turning off the Location History settings work in the first instance?
Well, unfortunately, it’s in the fine print that even when you turn off Location History, Google’s other apps, settings and services automatically collect location data. For example, any time you enter a word into your Google browser, it automatically picks up where the query is coming from, right down to the name of your road. Any time you use Wi-Fi (in public or not), Bluetooth, GPS or cell phone signal towers, Google gets your location.

iOS users are not immune. If you use the Google Maps app, a gmail account or have set Google as your default browser on your iPhone, then guess what? Google’s got you like a rabbit in a hat. Also, if you go into your settings, click into your Google Maps app – you will see that it asks you to provide your location “always”, “never” or “whilst using the app”. If you don’t manually change this, it stays on “always”.

Following the above steps will stop Google from accessing and using your location to their advantage, however, if you’re an Android user, you will find just how less useful your smartphone suddenly becomes. Since Android is Google’s exclusive operating system, limiting your location history settings will inadvertently limit the capabilities of your phone. At the end of the day, whether you’re an Android user or an iOS lover, it’s your choice. Share with is your thoughts on the matter by commenting below!

 

Choosing a second-hand smartphone IS going green

With the rise in the use of electronics in our daily life, and the increased pace in which these technologies are advancing, smartphones, laptops and tablets are slowly but surely contributing to the globe’s next pollution epidemic: electronic waste. Yes, not everybody tosses away their laptop or smartphone when they get a new one, but enough people do it to make e-waste a global phenomenon. The World Economic Forum has surmised that the US alone throws away 9.4 million tons of e-waste each year, including 152 million phones per annum.

So, how can people help eradicate the e-waste problem without knowing it? A sub-industry of the smartphone world is developing, which is seeing refurbished smartphones take on a second or third life with a new owner, instead of being thrown into the pile of e-waste that’s growing five times faster than the rate of the human population.

More smartphones, less raw materials
Before we get into how the used smartphone market is contributing toward tackling e-waste, let’s talk about the materials that go into manufacturing just one smartphone – some of them being non-renewable and others being highly toxic for the environment.

Each smartphone is made of plastic, metal and glass components: Plastic is derived from oil from drilling into the ground, which ends up at a manufacturer that creates parts for smartphones. Metals are extracted from mines, which are eventually transported using fuels to cellphone plants. Glass is made from silica that’s extracted from a quarry and eventually transported, in the same way, to manufacturers. All of these processes require water, a valuable and non-renewable resource, and also require transportation methods that aren’t exactly solar powered. Creating a smartphone also uses critical raw materials and precious earth metals like gold, silver, copper, palladium, tungsten and molybdenum – all non-renewable and all going to e-waste when a smartphone user dumps their phone. In addition to smartphones, it takes 530 pounds of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals and 1.5 tons of water to create one computer and monitor.

In the US alone, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded that if (and that’s a big ‘if’) one million cell phones are recycled, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, 33 pounds of palladium and 35,274 pounds of copper can be recovered. All in all, each time a smartphone brand releases a new model, the earth’s raw materials take a knock, and the human desire to have the latest smartphone means that e-waste grows larger and more aggressive. In the face of all of this, Greenpeace’s electronics expert Manfred Santen suggested at the 2017 World Mobile Congress conference that it is time people start considering if they need a contract that gives them a brand new phone every 12 to 24 months.

Going used is going green
The used smartphone market is no longer just young adults trying to sell their old phones so that they have extra cash for the month. In 2018, it’s now a $17 billion industry that has a 50 percent year-on-year growth rate in units and a number of startups around the world that are taking the sale and purchase of second-hand smartphones into a professional space.

Aside of the industry’s massive potential and exponential growth rate, the second-hand trend is also becoming one of the most environmentally friendly ways to tackle e-waste. Deloitte has predicted that new smartphones purchased in 2016 will go on to have three or more owners, with units still being actively used in 2020 and beyond. So, according to the International Data Corporation, approximately 222.6 million second-hand devices will be actively used in 2020, instead of being added to the e-waste epidemic.

Although having a refurbished model instead of a new one may only prolong the life of a smartphone, e-waste expert Elizabeth Jardim from Greenpeace’s branch in the US says that having a second-hand phone is “the first step to responsibly handling phones as it reduces the amount of energy and raw materials used to make a new one. We advise to keep the phones in use for longer,” she told News24. Further experts  who spoke to The Star Online in the US believe that if a smartphone’s life was extended to five years instead of 12 to 24 months, the smartphone industry’s impact on global warming could be reduced by 30 percent, thanks to a saving in carbon dioxide expenditure.

So – regardless of the environmental factor – what’s the benefit of choosing second-hand?
The most immediate benefit is how much less it will cost you in both the short and the long term. According to the going price as of September 2018, you’ll be paying R7,999 upfront if you’re buying a new iPhone 6S. If you choose to sign a contract over 24 months, it’s a total of R619 per month (an eventual cost of R14,856).
When buying second-hand, you’ll be able to get the same phone for R3,000 – R4,000, depending on its condition. Furthermore, a contract will only cost you between R300-400 per month.

An inadvertent advantage of choosing a cheaper second-hand phone is that you’ll be paying less for more storage. Cellphone companies like Vodacom, Telkom and Cell C add an extra R100 or more every month to your contract just to upgrade you from a 32G to a 64G. Thanks to how Apple and Samsung are advancing the technology, smartphones are made to last and can run for years allowing second-hand resellers to offer up to 12-month warranties on used phones.
In all honestly, unless you’re getting paid to be an Apple or Samsung ambassador who advertises a lifestyle with the latest model, you don’t really need the smartest smartphone. Most of their models offer all of the features one would like in a smartphone – internet access, a good camera, a fair amount of storage, and the ability to download social media apps.

Swimming against the current
In 1954, long before smartphones were even a thought, American industrial designer Brooke Stevens pushed manufacturers to create products that would deliberately become obsolete or undesirable long before it breaks by releasing upgraded versions of the product every year. “A little newer, a little better, and a little sooner than necessary,” he said.

Fast forward to 2018, and it’s this philosophy, adopted by smartphone companies around the world, that’s fueling the addiction to have the smartest smartphone at any given time. As the title suggests, it is up to us to swim against this current by choosing a refurbished, second-hand smartphone or simply keeping our current phone for a longer period of time.

Four things to think about when buying a smartphone

Before racing to the nearest cell phone dealership, take a minute to consider your options. After all, you have so many!

Do you really need a new phone?
Do you only use your phone for calls and texts? Or is your phone a personal and professional lifeline, used for business or building your Instagram game? We’re all one of them. If so, you might want to consider getting a used phone from a trusted, certified service that offers you the benefits of a new phone without the stressful contracts and crazy costs.

Used phones don’t mean abused phones
Many people keep in mind that, at the end of their contract, they’d like to sell their phone to make some extra cash. This means many used phones are well looked after and can take on a second life long after completing its first one. Used phones still have all of the bells and whistles of a new phone – it’s just been loved a little longer.

How much is a new phone going to cost you?
It’s no secret getting a new smartphone can cost an arm and a leg – especially if you’re going for a flagship brand like Apple or Samsung. However, if you choose to buy a previously-loved phone from a reputable service, you can still get a quality flagship smartphone without parting with tons of your hard-earned money. Phonetradr sells certified, used phones for as little as R1,799!

Wait, what about warranties?
Nine times out of ten, when you purchase a used phone, you aren’t covered by a warranty. Phonetradr gives you a 12-month warranty when you purchase any of their used phones. Best part? It comes without any additional cost!

Five reasons to use Phonetradr

Sometimes we just have to remind you why you love us.

Zero contact with the buyer or seller
Unlike other websites that offer a trading service, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to purchase or sell a used phone. Phonetradr does all the walking and talking for you! All you need to do is sign up, and we’ll handle the collection and sale of your phone if you are selling, and vice versa if you’re buying.

Quality-approved, so you don’t have to
Buying a used phone has come with an untrustworthy reputation thanks to scheming sellers on other websites, however, Phonetradr implements a rigorous 45-step process to ensure that all of our listed used phones are in tip top shape.

You get a 12-month warranty
If, for some reason, your phone is not in working condition after a purchase, you’re 100% covered by a 12-month warranty that comes with every purchase. Now, where else would you get a warranty after buying a used phone?

Your transaction is secure
We promise your banking and personal information 100% security when you buy any Phonetradr product.

FREE repair voucher, FREE delivery
Why should you pay for delivery? You shouldn’t! We’ll collect your phone for sale or deliver your purchase to your door free of charge. Also, with any Phonetradr purchase, you’ll get a R2,000 repair voucher if you crack your screen!

Learn more about our service today. We’ve got your back.