I-Spy: Change your computer’s settings to stop programs spying on you

Your phone knows a lot about you. It tracks your movement, browsing habits, downloads, and more. Go here for a trick to know when your phone’s camera or microphone is being used.

You also need to worry about social media apps, voice assistants, and smart TVs from listening and recording what you have to say. Tap or click for steps to put a stop to it.

Phone apps ask permission to access your camera, mic, and location. You can go into your phone’s settings to grant or restrict these permissions. Did you know you can do the same for your PC or Mac? Here’s how.

close up of hands of business person working on computer, man using internet and social media
(iStock)

How to change app permissions on Windows

Windows has a Privacy page where you can fiddle with your app permissions. It just takes a few clicks.

Change app permissions on Windows 11

  • Go to Start > Settings > Privacy & security.
  • Under App permissions, select an option (for example, Location). Then choose which apps can access it.
  • You can also use the Recent activity dropdown menu for each permission to show which apps are accessing them.

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Change app permissions on Windows 10

  • Go to Start > Settings > Privacy.
  • Under App permissions, select an option (for example, Microphone). Then choose which apps can access it.

There are many permissions on the list, including access to your calendar, files and folders, email, music library, notifications, and webcam. Consider whether an app truly needs the access level it requests by default.

See a complete list of app permissions and what they allow access to here.

RELATED: If you have this popular file program on your Mac, delete it now.

Typing on laptop closeup, chatting in Facebook, meeting website. Blogger, journalist writing new article.

Typing on laptop closeup, chatting in Facebook, meeting website. Blogger, journalist writing new article.
(iStock)

How to change app permissions on macOS

You receive an alert when a third-party app tries to access and control your Mac through accessibility features. You must specifically grant the app access to your Mac in Privacy & Security settings.

You can go into your settings to change permissions at any time. Here’s how:

  • Open the Apple menu and choose System Settings > Privacy & Security.
  • A list of program permissions will appear on the screen, such as Location Services, showing which applications have access to which permissions.
  • Click on any permission to see the apps that have access to it. Use the toggle switch to turn off permissions for each app.

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Keep your tech-know going 

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.

PODCAST PICK: Scary IRS scam, Alexa storytelling, 5 AirTag tricks

Phone apps ask permission to access your camera, mic, and location before tracking you.

Phone apps ask permission to access your camera, mic, and location before tracking you.
(iStock)

Are you dealing with Christmas stress? The government is here to help. Also, Google launches yet another way to stuff websites with ads, Netflix expands its video game collection, animate your own stories with Alexa, IRS scam and five smart ways to use Bluetooth trackers.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

Get more tech know-how on The Kim Komando Show, broadcast on 425+ radio stations and available as a podcast. Sign up for Kim’s 5-minute free morning roundup for the latest security breaches and tech news. Need help? Drop your question for Kim here.

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