Why You Should Care About Your Apps’ Privacy Policy


Smartphone apps have become an essential part of our daily lives. We depend on them to stay connected with friends, track our fitness goals, navigate to new destinations, and even order our favorite pizza. But have you ever wondered about the privacy policies that govern these apps? An analysis published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found serious problems with privacy and inconsistent privacy practices in mobile health apps. With about 21000 apps analyzed, the majority could access and potentially share personal data with third parties, including advertising and tracking services. With that being said, it’s time to start paying attention! This article will dive into the topic of data privacy and explore why you should care about your apps’ privacy policies.

Data Privacy and App Permissions


Let’s first get familiar with some basic concepts related to data privacy. In the context of apps, data privacy refers to how your personal information is collected, used, and shared by the app developing company and third parties. App permissions are the specific access rights that apps request to function on your device.

For example, a messaging app may request access to your contacts, while a map app might need your location data. While these permissions seem reasonable, it’s essential to be cautious and read the app’s privacy policy to understand how your data is being used. – Especially, if, for example, a map app would request access to your contacts. Or, if you store very sensitive data within an app – like you do in medical and also mood tracking apps.

Why You Should Care About Your Apps’ Privacy Policy


Every app you install on your device collects some form of personal data. This data can include your name, email address, location, phone number, credit card information, purchases, social media profiles, hobbies, habits, and so on. The companies who own these apps may use this information to improve their services or target you with personalized ads. However, if the privacy policy is unclear or the app collects excessive data, it could be a red flag.

Caring about your apps’ privacy policies helps you understand what data is being collected and for what purpose. By staying informed, you can make better decisions about which apps you’re comfortable sharing your personal information with. You need to ask yourself if you feel like you can trust an app or company to share your personal data. Because if your personal data falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to make unauthorized transactions in your name, or even worse, manipulate, discriminate, or exploit you.

Data Sharing with Third Parties

Many apps share your data with third-party companies, which can include advertising networks, data brokers, and other service providers. Some apps may even sell your data to these third parties without your knowledge. By reviewing the privacy policy, you can get an idea of who has access to your data and how it is being used.

Understanding the data sharing practices of your apps can help you minimize potential privacy risks and ensure your data is only shared with trusted partners.

Security Measures

Not all apps are created equal when it comes to data security. Some developers might not invest in robust security measures to protect your data, leaving it vulnerable to hackers and data breaches. A well-crafted privacy policy should outline the steps the app developer is taking to secure your data, such as encryption, secure data storage, and regular security audits.

Caring about your apps’ privacy policies ensures you’re using apps that prioritize data security and protect your sensitive information from potential breaches.

Legal Compliance

Many countries have introduced data privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States. These regulations require app developers to be transparent about their data collection, usage, and sharing practices. They also give users more control over their personal data.

By paying attention to the privacy policies of your apps, you can ensure you’re using services that comply with the relevant data privacy laws and respect your rights as a user.

Control Over Your Data

A good privacy policy will inform you of your rights regarding your personal data. This may include the right to access, correct, delete, or restrict the processing of your data. It should also provide you with clear instructions on how to exercise these rights. By understanding the privacy policies of your apps, you can take control of your personal data and make informed decisions about its use.

Moreover, being aware of the privacy policies can help you identify which apps offer better data management options, like opting out of data collection or deleting your account. This knowledge empowers you to choose apps that respect your privacy preferences.

Tips for Evaluating an App’s Privacy Policy

Here are some tips to help you evaluate the privacy policies of the apps you use more effectively:

  1. Check the app’s privacy practice BEFORE hitting the ‘Get’ button. Every developer must indicate how personal data is used and processed in a tag-like format. This is the best and easiest way to get a great overview about an app’s privacy policy. You can find this information on every app’s page (in the Google Play Store as wells as in the Apple App Store) somewhere near the bottom. And don’t get blinded by “popular” apps! Just because an app has been downloaded millions of times doesn’t mean that the data privacy practices are fine (a negative example is TikTok which tracks anything it can get its hands on).
    Privacy Policy Overview on App Store
  2. Read the privacy policy. To completely understand an app’s privacy practice, it’s crucial to review the whole privacy policy document. If it’s a good privacy policy, it will be easy to understand and transparent about its data practices. If the policy is overly complicated or vague, it might be a sign that the app developer is not prioritizing user privacy.
  3. Check for data minimization. Apps should only collect the data necessary for their operation. If you notice an app collecting excessive data or data that doesn’t seem relevant to its function, it could be a red flag.
  4. Assess third-party data sharing. Pay attention to the list of third parties the app shares your data with, and whether you have the option to opt-out of data sharing. If an app shares your data with an extensive list of third parties or doesn’t offer opt-out options, you might want to reconsider using it.
  5. Evaluate data security measures. Look for information on how the app secures your data, such as encryption methods, secure data storage, and regular security audits. If the privacy policy doesn’t mention any security measures, it might not be the best app to trust with your data.

Pay attention and take control

Read the privacy policy!

Data privacy has become more important than ever before. By paying attention to the privacy policies of your apps, you can protect your personal information, make informed decisions about the apps you use, and ensure that you are in control of your data. This is especially important for apps that store a lot of sensitive, personal data – like medical and mood tracking apps. It’s always worth to take a moment and review apps’ privacy policy to understand how your data is handled. It’s a small step that can make a significant difference in safeguarding your privacy in the digital realm.

How we as developers of our mood tracking app Moodistory handle your privacy

As the developers of our mood tracking app Moodistory, we understand the risks and requirements that you as a user have. Your privacy has top priority! Therefore, by default, we keep ALL of your data on your device and ONLY on your device. This means, only you have access to your data. Since we do not story any of your data on any central server, you don’t even need to register an account. Everything stays on your device. Only for the data backup feature, you have the option to store it automatically in your iCloud. But this is 100% optional, and instead, you could save it e.g. to your private Nextcloud.
We see that a lot of other mood tracking apps love to collect personal information. They sell it to third parties or optimized their business. We don’t do that, and we are 100% committed to your privacy!