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Facebook and Instagram the most invasive apps on iOS, says report

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What you need to know

  • Instagram and Facebook are "the most invasive apps" when it comes to third-party data on iOS.
  • That's according to new analysis of Apple's privacy labels by pCloud.

New analysis of Apple's iOS 14 privacy "nutrition labels" reveal that some of the best apps for iPhone might also be the most intrusive when it comes to data.

From pCloud (opens in new tab):

We're experts in online privacy, so we looked at the concerns surrounding mobile apps, working out which ones require the most information in exchange for using them. By using the new Apple privacy labels featured in the App Store, we identified which apps share the most of your private data with third parties and which gather the most for their own benefits, to find the most invasive overall.

The report found that 52% of apps collect data and share it with third parties. The top two apps were Instagram, which shared 79% of personal data collected with third parties, and Facebook, which shares 57% of personal data collected with third parties. They were followed by LinkedIn and Uber Eats, who both share 50%.

From the report:

Every time you search for a video on YouTube, 42% of your personal data is sent elsewhere. This data goes on to inform the types of adverts you'll see before and during videos, as well as being sold to brands who'll target you on other social media platforms.YouTube isn't the worst when it comes to selling your information on. That award goes to Instagram, which shares a staggering 79% of your data with other companies. Including everything from purchasing information, personal data, and browsing history. No wonder there's so much promoted content on your feed. With over 1 billion monthly active users it's worrying that Instagram is a hub for sharing such a high amount of its unknowing users' data.

That's not all, the report also looks at apps that use apps and data to market their own products and services:

The study conducted here at pCloud revealed that 80% of apps use your data to market their own products in the app and beyond. This includes things like apps serving you their own ads on other platforms, as well as in-app promotions for their own benefit, or for third parties who pay for the service.

Facebook and Instagram both led with 86% of all personal data collected used to promote an app's own products. The report also revealed some of the safest apps, including Signal, Skype, Zoom, Telegram, and more.

Facebook and Instagram also topped an overall table of how much data each app tracks on users overall, with 55% and 62% respectively. You can read the full report here. (opens in new tab)

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

3 Comments
  • Never a big user of Instagram even before Facebook bought them. I did no Facebook February and took the app off my phone and haven't put it back on as of yet and probably won't. Mark needs to get it through his thick skull that harvesting data from my device without my permission is reprehensible.
  • In the words of Gomer Pyle; Surprise!, Surprise!, Surprise!
  • I'm glad Telegram is one of the safest. My favorite messaging app