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  • 1 Post By htrbby
  • 1 Post By B. Diddy
  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Question New Android user - privacy & customization concerns

    Hi,

    I just bought my first Android phone after using and iPhone for years. However I didn't realize beforehand just how much Google was integrated into the phone's use. Like almost everything requires and/or feeds information back to my Google account. Whereas beforehand my Gmail account was just an email client I preferred to use, and I used Google Plus to keep track of contacts. But now Google has access to all my SMS messages, and my contacts can see what game apps I purchase in the Play store. It just feels very invasive, since it seems that Google has access to a lot of the information in the apps themselves, whereas Apple only knew what apps I had downloaded and whatever information on my phone I had chosen to backup to iCloud. I'm somewhat disappointed as I chose to go with Android since it appeared that it had better privacy options than the iPhone.

    In terms of customization, I know you can download stuff from the Play store to change the look of the apps, the homescreen, the keyboard, etc. I'm just not sure how to go about doing this; everything with the iPhone was quick and easy to figure out. I went into Settings to try and change some stuff with the apps, but I didn't see many options in each App's settings to change. (Note: this is with the stock apps, I haven't gotten to any downloaded apps yet.) Also Gmail's app for iOS is much better, as I can click a whole bunch of messages in my inbox to delete all at once, rather than opening up each email individually (I did try to change this in settings, but no luck so far).

    I guess I'm wondering, is there any way to fix these problems or circumvent Google? I'm just left feeling very confused by Android.

    Any help or explanation on how this all works would be very much appreciated.
  2. #2  

    Default Re: New Android user - privacy & customization concerns

    Welcome to Android Central!

    On your browser, go to plus.google.com/settings, and turn "Shared Endorsements" off--I think that will prevent you from showing up in other people's Google Play Stores. As for Google having access to your information, that will be the case for any company or service. Apple has iMessage--I would find it hard to believe that Apple doesn't have access to all messages going through that service. If you want to avoid using Google services, then you could always use something like Yahoo Mail through their own app, or use a texting app separate from Hangouts like Textra. If you want to be bold, you could root the phone and flash a custom ROM that doesn't have any Google apps at all, but this would be for more advanced users.

    The main System Settings menu is really only to adjust various system settings, not those for apps. Each app will have its own Menu where you can adjust options more specific to the app. Usually, it will be an icon that looks like 3 vertical dots. If your phone has an actual capacitative Menu button, then use that.

    You might find these guides helpful:
    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014), Part I: Intro, Homescreens, Settings
    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014), Part II: Installing Apps, Managing Media
    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014), Part III: Managing Contacts
    http://forums.androidcentral.com/amb...eshooting.html
    Thanked by:
    htrbby 
  3. #3  
    Golfdriver97's Avatar

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    Default Re: New Android user - privacy & customization concerns

    Like B. Diddy said, you can flash a ROM without Gapps, but, that means you really wouldn't be able to use anything Google, aside from web services.

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  4. Thread Author  Thread Author    #4  

    Default Re: New Android user - privacy & customization concerns

    Quote Originally Posted by B. Diddy View Post
    Welcome to Android Central!

    On your browser, go to plus.google.com/settings, and turn "Shared Endorsements" off--I think that will prevent you from showing up in other people's Google Play Stores. As for Google having access to your information, that will be the case for any company or service. Apple has iMessage--I would find it hard to believe that Apple doesn't have access to all messages going through that service. If you want to avoid using Google services, then you could always use something like Yahoo Mail through their own app, or use a texting app separate from Hangouts like Textra. If you want to be bold, you could root the phone and flash a custom ROM that doesn't have any Google apps at all, but this would be for more advanced users.

    The main System Settings menu is really only to adjust various system settings, not those for apps. Each app will have its own Menu where you can adjust options more specific to the app. Usually, it will be an icon that looks like 3 vertical dots. If your phone has an actual capacitative Menu button, then use that.

    You might find these guides helpful:
    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014), Part I: Intro, Homescreens, Settings
    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014), Part II: Installing Apps, Managing Media
    [GUIDE] Getting Started with Android (2014), Part III: Managing Contacts
    http://forums.androidcentral.com/amb...eshooting.html
    Hi B. Diddy, thank you for the warm welcome.

    I did find those guides very useful, thank you! Also your tip regarding "Shared Endorsements" worked!

    After playing around with the phone for several days, I think I've solved most of my privacy concerns. I thought that to use all of Google's features on the phone, I had to always be signed in, but apparently I can sign out of Google Maps, Youtube, etc., without it affecting my Gmail or Google+ apps, which is great! I didn't like the idea of Google following me around everywhere on the web. I also installed Firefox (and I'm going to set it as my default browser) and a third-party sms app to take care of those privacy concerns. I guess now the only difference between what information I share with Google and what I shared with Apple is that Google also has access to my email, but otherwise everything seem to be par for the course now.

    Thank you to you and Golfdriver97 for your suggestions. I don't think I'm going to root my phone just now, or flash a ROM. Although it's good to know that that's an option.

    Quick question: where do I go to on the forums to find out more/ask questions about Google Play Music?
    B. Diddy likes this.
  5. #5  

    Default Re: New Android user - privacy & customization concerns

    It's our pleasure to help! If you want to post about Google Play Music, the best place is probably here, since there isn't a dedicated subforum: General Help and How To - Android Forums at AndroidCentral.com
    Golfdriver97 likes this.

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