Almost every online service you use contributes to building your very own digital profile. This may sound like a cool thing to have but unfortunately, it’s not. Advertisers employ these so-called profiles to show promotional content which has been tailored specifically for you. However, trackers — those little scripts that power these activities — are no longer limited just to the web browser. Even the apps on your phones log what links you have clicked or which products you were window-shopping.
For instance, say you were browsing trousers on the Amazon app. A few minutes later, you fire up Instagram and there, you will already start noticing advertisements for those clothes you just viewed. This data is usually accumulated in a single place, hence on your desktop as well, ads like these will begin to appear in seconds.
Thankfully, on Android, you can opt out of personalized ads on applications. And no, you don’t need a rooted phone or command line knowledge. Google itself offers an option in settings for disabling this. For accessing it, head over to Settings, then Google, and tap “Ads” from the list. Here, enable the “Out out of Ads Personalisation” toggle and you’re all set.
Furthermore, you can even reset your advertising ID in case you’d like to start from scratch. Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t encounter ads on third-party apps anymore. They just won’t be inspired by what you were doing on other apps.
Google has been called a lot of things when we talk about online advertising and tracking user data. But it’s nice to see how transparent they have managed to remain by offering control over almost every single aspect of your account. The “My Activity” page is a prime example and if this is the first time you’re hearing about it, I suggest you take a peek immediately.
In case you want to do the same on a web browser, take a look at this guide.