Android Is Watching: 10 Ways a Typical Smartphone Is Monitoring You

Android Is Watching: 10 Ways a Typical Smartphone Is Monitoring You

Android phones come with the default settings and apps that allow Google to monitor your mobile usage for multiple purposes. According to its data policies, the data generated from your activities can be utilized by Google in various ways.

It is not necessarily alarming that Google is collecting data through your phone. It collects most of this data to ultimately improve its services for you. However, you have an absolute right to know what information your phone sends to Google.

So, let’s discuss 10 ways your Android smartphone monitors you.

1. Location Tracking

Android uses your location to provide relevant services or show nearby places. The operating system starts tracking you when you turn on your device location and allow Google location services.

For example, it tracks where you go, which route you use, and significant places you visit. You can find your location history in your Google account and the Google Maps app.

There are ways you can turn off location history from your account settings at the frontend. However, at the backend, your phone will keep sending anonymous location data to Google to improve its services.

2. Google Assistant

Google Assistant is the default Android voice assistant by Google. It provides features to control your device and perform actions through voice commands.

As it can operate almost the whole phone through voice commands, it also tracks a significant volume of data. This data includes your voice patterns, frequently used apps, frequent actions, location to show weather and relevant news, and much more.


Google Assistant can perform most device functions and can operate other apps as well. So, it can access pretty much all of your data related to these apps and functions, which it uses to monitor and analyze your device usage.

3. Passwords

Android provides a handy feature to save your passwords in Google Password Manager. Though, you do get a choice in this case. Google analyzes your passwords and gives related recommendations about safety and privacy.

When you enter a password in Chrome or log into an app like Facebook or LinkedIn, your phone will offer you to save that password. Android monitors these passwords, and the Password Manager provides suggestions on the ones you have reused or the ones it considers weak.

Google Dialer, Contacts, and Messages are the default dialer, contact management, and SMS apps on most Android phones. Because of the diverse features and tight integration with your Google account, these three apps are among the best free apps out there.

Google Dialer and Contacts monitor your important data such as contacts, call history, frequently called contacts, and much more. Similarly, the Messages app keeps track of your SMS and frequently messaged contacts.

As these apps sync your data with your Google account, Android uses them to monitor your activities. However, this synchronization comes in handy most of the time as it serves as a backup for your important data.

5. Nearby Wi-Fi Networks

Nearby Wi-Fi Networks feature allows the device to look for a Wi-Fi network in your region within a certain diameter. This feature lets the device connect to Wi-Fi networks, especially saved and open Wi-Fi networks.

Your Android phone uses location services to keep track of your area and searches for Wi-Fi networks across it. This way, it can monitor your device to access nearby networks.

6. Google Photos

Google Photos is a photo and video storage and sharing app by Google. Google Photos backs up your images and videos to Google’s servers, where it uses your media to improve its systems and artificial intelligence.

Google doesn’t share your photos for advertising but utilizes the data to train its AI system, such as Google Scan, face detection, and album creation, to make it better.

Google Photos also uses your GPS data to tag the location where you took the image. In this way, it indirectly keeps track of your location as well.

7. Calendar

Google Calendar is the pre-installed calendar app by Google on most Android phones. It has robust privacy features, but Google services and apps can use Calendar data to analyze usage.

Your phone synchronizes your Calendar data to Google’s servers. Moreover, Google Assistant also has access to your schedules and events, making Calendar an app that Android uses to monitor you.

8. Chrome Browser History and Settings

Google Chrome needs no introduction as it is the most used browser in the world today. It has evolved a lot and brought some good privacy features for users.

On an Android, Google analyzes your Chrome history and settings to provide relevant suggestions to enhance your experience. It stores the URLs, images, cache, and other resources from your history to boost the browser’s performance.

In its standard mode, all your browser history and activities are synchronized with your Google account. If you don’t want to share this information, using the Incognito Mode is an option.

9. Google Analytics Tracking in Apps

Google Analytics is an SEO and marketing tool to analyze the performance of an app or website. Google monitors your Android apps, the usage pattern, and history to collect and send data from apps to Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is often set up to track the usage of a specific app by generating a unique tracking ID. The data it monitors can be in the form of statistics collected by Google’s advanced AI and Machine Learning agents. Pretty much any app you install might have Google Analytics code embedded in it.

10. App Data and Settings Backup

When you backup your Android Phone, the app data and settings get saved in the cloud. This backed-up data gets stored in Google Drive and Google’s servers, allowing Google to monitor it.

According to its policies, Google can analyze the app data and settings to keep the backup secure and monitor any malicious data. Android security system also scans the backup before uploading it to cloud storage to ensure security.

Take Control of Your Android Privacy

As mentioned above, data collection is not always a threat to your privacy because Google is pretty much trustworthy. But with the knowledge of how it monitors you through an Android phone, you can choose and control what data you share with it.

Having read this guide, you should have the information you need to take steps toward improving your Android privacy—if this is something you’d like to do.

An Android Phone on a curved wooden table
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