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A little-known fact is that Apple has 'privacy labels' that help you see what kind of data is being collected by your apps.

Sometimes it seems that our whole world is moving online.

From our banking to Medicare, so much of our information can now be found and managed via apps on your mobile phone.

This means the apps you use have a lot of information about us, in the same way a store might know about your purchase history. However as the number of apps out there have exploded, with many used for fun rather than just everyday activities, it's hard to know what apps are doing what with your information.

However, there is help. Apple has created privacy labels for apps, to give you an insight into what information a specific app collects about you, and what it does with your data.

As apps are developed, Apple asks the developers to provide a whole heap of information around how the apps are used, which they use to create the privacy label which is added when the app is made available in the App store.

It means you have more information about the apps you are using, and therefore the choice as to whether you want to share your information. And it signals to the app service providers that they need to be transparent about their behaviour if they want users to trust them.

What do the labels mean?

Apple has created three broad categories that indicate the type of data they collect and how it might be used. Within that 'label' the developers then provide more specific information about what they collect and do.

The three labels are:

  • Data linked to you – this means the app could collect information like contact information, purchases, your location or search history to create an 'identity' about you that could be used for marketing purposes.
  • Data used to track you – this data could include information like your purchases, data use and other identifiers, which is being collected and used to track you across other websites or apps. Again, useful for marketing purposes, and it may also be used to serve you up a more relevant experience, or even be sold to others. The label should indicate how it is used.
  • Data not linked to you – this could be information like location for a map app, but does not personally identify you.

Where to find your app's digital privacy label

Finding these digital privacy labels is easier to do before you download the app, but you'll need to do some scrolling.

Go to the App store and click on the app you are interested in. Scroll past the 'Get' button. Keep going down, past all the general information about the app, right to the bottom, until you find the heading 'App Privacy'.

Once there, tap the 'See Details' button. This will give you the full details about what information that specific app collects and how it might be used.

However, you've likely already downloaded a whole heap of apps to your phone. To find the digital label for these apps, you'll need to go to your phone's 'Settings', find the app you want to know about and tap on it. Scroll down (again) until you find the heading 'About and Privacy'. Tapping on that headline will give you a quick snapshot of the app's digital privacy labels, and you can get more information by going to the 'More Details' button.

Here's what that looks like for the bcu Connect App.

Data Not Linked to You

So before you download that app, check out its privacy labels. An informed choice is now yours.

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