Being Smart About Apps

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Smartphones and mobile apps are very much on the upswing, which is changing how we use, share and store information.

As of May of this year it was reported that smartphone owners use more than 30 apps in a month, roughly one-third to one-half of the apps they have installed on their phones. And using those apps has become a daily habit. People now open or launch an average of nine apps each day.

Utility apps typically are the apps already installed on the phone when it’s purchased. They are also the apps most often used. After utilities, the apps most used are social networking, communication (email), photos and videos, productivity, games and social/dating. Of all the apps, the dating and productivity apps were launched the most.

So what does all this mean to individual users?

It means that each one of us needs to be smart about which apps we use and how we use them. We need to be aware of what’s private and what isn’t on the different apps, who owns what, how information can be used, and what information or data is collected and how that information is used.

It means reading the Terms of Service for each app or platform you’re using. It means paying attention to settings and controls that are your responsibility. It means understanding what is and what isn’t allowed. And it means taking time to investigate how secure the service is that you’re using.

In other words, apps are great. They can and have made our lives easier and more connected in a number of ways. But it is important that you make the effort to understand your rights and responsibilities.

Knowing the terms for each platform is one part of the process. The other part is having a plan in place for handling your mobile apps and other digital accounts should something happen to you, whether it’s because of incapacity, a disability or your passing away.

  1. Make a list of all the apps you use and all your digital accounts. That includes apps you may think are obvious, such as Facebook or Pinterest, as well as online accounts such as banking, travel, credit card, or shopping sites like Amazon. You may be surprised at how many you have.
  2. List any user names and passwords associated with these accounts. Make sure this information is protected – you don’t want the wrong people to get hold of the information – but available to the family member, friend or caretaker who would need this information if you are unable or not around to personally provide it.
  3. Store this information, along with other important information or documents, in a safe place, again accessible to the right people at the time it might be needed. At one time people thought a safe deposit box was the best place. Certainly, a shoebox in a closet never was. However, today it makes sense to take advantage of secure digital cloud storage services that give you more control and flexibility in who, what, where and how your information can be accessed and used.

More than half of all smartphone users grab their phones as soon as they wake up. You may be one of them. Or you may be the person with the self-control to wait until you’ve had breakfast or showered and dressed. Whichever group you fall into, being smart about your apps and digital assets is critical.

We designed LegacyShield to provide a safe, secure and easy-to-use digital storage service to help people handle the new demands of our app-driven world. But whether you use LegacyShield or some other equally protected and advanced digital storage platform, do it now. It’s as convenient as the apps you use just a lot more secure. And a smart way to be in control of your information.

 

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