The Windows 10 Privacy Settings You Should Check Right Now


Further down the page you can grant individual apps access to your location. This is useful if you want to let certain apps know where you are (like your weather app) but would rather not share your whereabouts with others (like the webcam app). Use the toggle switches to make your choices.

Here you’ll also find options for blocking off access to your location for all your apps, and clearing your location history on the local device—which Windows 10 says is kept “for a limited time,” in case it’s needed.

Turn Off Camera Access

Any computer that has a webcam—so just about all of them—comes with the worry that someone, somewhere, is spying on you through your camera. One way to put your mind at rest is to block app access to the camera at the OS level.

To do this, open up Privacy from Settings and then click the Camera link on the left. From there you can use the toggle switches to choose which apps can access your webcam—and camera, if you’re on a 2-in-1 or tablet—and which can’t. Video calling apps need access, for example, but not much else does.

You can also disable camera access completely, or let Windows 10 access the camera but not any of the apps that you’ve got installed. It’s also worth checking inside the apps you use regularly for extra permissions regarding the camera.

Turn Off Microphone Access

You might not worry about anyone watching you through your webcam, but what about people listening in? Besides Cortana, of course. As with the camera, Windows 10 lets you restrict which apps can use the microphone, and you can even disable it altogether.

The options you need here are under the Microphone entry on the Privacy page of Windows 10 Settings. If you want app-by-app control, go down the list of apps and turn microphone access on or off as necessary. If an app hasn’t asked for permission to use the microphone, it won’t appear here.

You can also turn off microphone access for all the apps on your system using the toggle switch above the app list. If you want to block all apps and Windows 10 itself from accessing the microphone, click the Change button at the top of the page.

Control Access to Your Account Info

Some apps want to take a peek at the information associated with your Microsoft account. It’s like when you log into a new site or app using your Facebook credentials, in that you give away some details associated with that account to the app or site.

If you’d understandably rather apps not do this, open up the Account info tab under the Privacy section of Settings, then use the toggle switches to stop individual apps from accessing any data, like your email address or profile picture, linked to your Microsoft account.

At the top you can click Change to block any app from accessing the account information for anyone who uses the computer you’re on. If the switch breaks any functionality in certain apps, you can always revert back to the previous settings.

Control Access To Your Contacts

The email addresses and phone numbers you have associated with your friends, relatives, and colleagues represent a chunk of the most private data on your computer, so you want to be absolutely sure these details aren’t leaking to places that they shouldn’t.

Windows 10 lets you manage all this. Open up Settings, then choose Privacy and Contacts to get to the relevant section. Here you can see which apps have access to your contact data, for whatever reason; maybe sharing files with them, for example. If you see an app in the list that you’re not happy with, just turn the toggle switch to off.



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