"How can I make sure my phone isn’t spying on me, Gadget Guru?"

T3's technomancer-in-chief answers your burning questions

Unlucky, bub: your phone is probably reporting back to someone about something you’re doing. That’s just a thing that happens, although it’s probably not a process that should concern you too much – this is anonymised, limited and merely helps manufacturers build better phones.

But some handsets are doing a little more. Guru has supported OnePlus in times past, but recent revelations about the level of logging and reporting in its Oxygen OS are a little worrying. Cheap Chinese Android phones are often much more insidious, keeping their masters fed with more information than even GaGu’s network of little birds knows about you. That’s a lot.

If you’re sticking with your current hardware, pawing through your phone’s settings screens should give you a number of options to disable any voluntary reportage. There are further secret options, if you’re using Android, within the mysterious developer options screen – find these, usually, by tapping your phone’s version number seven or so times. Don’t go tweaking anything you don’t understand, mind. Guru isn’t paid to be your tech support monkey. 

iPhones have options to turn off data sharing, but Apple’s privacy protection is pretty strong anyway. 

If you’re happy to change, you can start by buying a phone from a reputable brand and hoping that there’s not some kind of secret information gathering going on. The bigger the company behind it, the more they’ll have to do to patch holes in their software to stop anything untoward sifting through your data. If you’re so terrified that someone’s listening in, it turns out Blackberry’s phones are still relevant. Models like the Priv (from around £280) run stock Android with no hidden extras, sandbox user accounts to protect them, and operate VPNs to shield your data.

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