Android

Pro tip: How to opt out of interest-based ads on your Android phone

Jack Wallen shows you how to opt out of interest-based advertising on your Android device to improve anonymity on your smartphone or tablet.

Opt out of ads

With Google, there's always a tie-in with searching and advertising. If you're on your Android device, and you have a Google account tied to that device (which you most likely do), Google uses a specific advertising ID to help apps refine the ads they display on your phone or tablet. This means, with the help of that unique ID, those apps track your searching to better refine their ads just for you.

Some users don't like this concept. The very act of tracking a search history means they are "watching." Fortunately, this is Android, so you can prevent it from happening. What's nice is that you don't have to install a third-party app to do so — you just have to know where to look to disable the settings.

As you might expect, it's a bit hidden. I was digging around on one of my devices the other day and just happened to come across the setting, and I thought "That's interesting." And so, I bring this to you. Here's how you opt-out of those interest-based ads.

  1. On the Android device, open Settings
  2. Tap Accounts & sync (this may vary, depending on your device)
  3. Locate and tap on the Google listing
  4. Tap Ads
  5. Tap the check box for Opt out of interest-based ads (Figure A)
  6. If you're extra paranoid, you can also tap Reset advertising ID to reset the ID

That's it. Your Google account (on that device) will not longer be tracked for interest-based ads.

Figure A

Figure A

Opting out on a Verizon-branded HTC M8.

If you have more than one device, you'll notice those IDs are not synced across devices.

If you prefer to remain a bit more anonymity than what the Android out-of-the-box experience allows, give yourself a hand and opt out of interest-based ads on your device. Even though these advertising IDs are anonymous, they are used to track your interests. You can now opt out and know your interests aren't tracked for advertising.

What do you think of using such IDs to help focus advertising on devices and browsers? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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