Your Smartphone Apps Are Filled With Trackers You Know Nothing About

The privacy crisis Apple and Google need to fix—now

Owen Williams
Published in
5 min readApr 8, 2019


Credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

MMost of us understand by now that we’re being followed across the web. But how much do we know about how the smartphone apps we use track our every move? Thanks to tiny pieces of code that millions of developers use to make their lives easier, an array of companies gets free access to data they can employ to understand your habits. The process is invisible, and it’s worse news for you than you might think.

When we browse the web through Google Chrome, for example, a dizzying array of companies follow us. Such is the Wild West of our modern web, but you still remain in control of which sites you visit and which social networks you log into.

The shift to native apps changes this equation, however. Suddenly you’re no longer in full control of what’s loaded, nor of who is tracking you, and you must trust app developers to do the right thing.

All of this should make you skeptical of marketing like Apple’s recent “privacy matters” campaign.

On mobile, tracking is generally performed through the use of a “software development kit” or SDK—a set of…



Owen Williams

Fascinated by how code and design is shaping the world. I write about the why behind tech news. Design Manager in Tech.