Purge unused smartphone apps; Protect your privacy

Average American has 32 apps on their phone, many send personal information to 3rd-party advertisers


ORLANDO, Fla. – How many apps do you have on your smart phone? The average American has about 32.

Many have access to your social media accounts, your location, and other personal information.

So if you don't want to share all of that with everyone it's time to do give your gadgets a digital scrubbing.

Caryn Bailey's phone serves as her digital photo album.  In fact, she stores so many she often has to delete apps to make room for more pictures.

And she just found out-- there may be one more reason to delete those unused apps.

"Twitter sent me a message and told me that one of the apps that is connected to Twitter was actually hacked, and so somebody had compromised my password," said Bailey.

An unnerving message, but a blessing in disguise.

Bailey began to sort through all of the apps she doesn't use any more, and realized many still have access to her social media, contacts, and other personal information.

"I should probably go through that list and start removing permissions," said Bailey.

Experts say giving your device a digital scrub down is a must.

And that means identifying what you've given the app permission to see, save and send to others, and we're not just talking about your friends.

"With some apps it's the developers that have access to this information, and with other apps they actually have agreements with third parties, whether data brokers or advertising companies where they send this information to them," said Adi Kamdar of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

He says that passing of information can happen even on an unused app because it's still running in the background.

While you're purging apps, John Walls of the Wireless Industry Association says change your passwords often on the apps you do use.

"These days, you know, we have so much personal information in our devices.  They're carrying our life story basically," said Walls.

Before you download any new apps pay attention to what permissions they're requesting. Understand exactly what you're giving up before granting that app access to your life.

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