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How to opt out of interest-based ads on Android

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Android Google Play Services has a feature that allows you to opt-out of Ad personalisation. This will instruct apps not to use your advertising ID to build profiles or show you interest-based ads.

You have the option to opt out of receiving interest-based ads as well as reset your advertising ID. Please note, that you will still see ads, but they may not be based on your interests. Also, if you clear your device cache, you will lose your opt-out setting.

Click > Ads by Google to learn more about how Google handles apps across the Google Display Network.

How to opt out of interest-based ads on Android:

  • Go to > Settings > Google > Ads
  • Toggle switch to On

Note: Ads Settings lets you opt out of seeing personalised ads when you are:

  • Signed in to your Google Account (“Ads Personalisation”)
  • Signed out of your Google Account and browsing the websites and apps that partner with Google to show ads (“Ads Personalisation Across the Web”)
  • Signed out of your Google Account and using Google Search (“Ads Personalisation on Google Search”)

Opting out doesn’t do the following:

  • Stop ads altogether

How to enable App Preview Message on Android

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Google App Preview Message on Android allows people who have different types of messenger apps on their smartphones to communicate with each other. This means any Android or iOS user can message anyone in their contacts using any instant messenger app and the receiver does not need to have that specific messenger app to read the message. The message is received as a notification from Google Play Services.

Currently this feature is only available on Allo Messenger, but it is expected that WhatsApp and other messenger apps will also make this feature accessible.

How to enable App Preview Message on Android:

  • Go to > Settings > Google > App preview messages Toggle switch > On
  • You will receive a verification code (you don’t have to input this code)
  • Tap on App Preview Messages option and verify your mobile number
  • Apps connected – lists the apps that are setup to use App Preview Message (toggle On or Off)

Manage storage – messages are kept on your device for 1 year, but you have the option to remove messages after 7 days or delete all the App Preview Messages (toggle On or Off).

How to manage the Google Updater for MacOS

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If you’ve download and installed Chrome (or any other Google apps) on your MacOS*, you might not be aware of the Google Updater. This calls home on a regular basis and is designed to download Google Chrome updates in the background, without notifying you. Every time software that is updated should always ask for user consent, but this Updater doesn’t do that. But it should and here is why.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force in May 2018, will be the primary law regulating how companies protect EU citizens’ personal data. Under this law, users will generally have stronger rights when processing is based on consent i.e. the right to erase and the right to data portability. If consent isn’t applied, substantial fines are applicable under the GDPR. Google should take note.

How do you check if you have Google Updater

  • Go to Finder > Macintosh HD > Library > LaunchAgents
  • Search for com.google.keystone.agent.plist
  • If you don’t find the above plist, then you don’t need to do anything

How to manage Google Updater

Here are two options you might want to consider. Open Terminal for both and enter the relevant commands:

How to use BlackBerry Android Privacy Shield

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BlackBerry Privacy Shield lets you read emails, messages and personal content but without the issue of someone snooping over your shoulder. The app allows you to view any information in public places, by hiding the parts of the screen that you are not actively viewing or using. However, you can still interact with the obscured parts.

You can use Privacy Shade to adjust the transparency of the filter (which is a dark black) to suit the surroundings, Once you’ve installed Privacy Shade you have a number of setup and access options you can choose:

  • If you are using Nougat 7.0 or higher, you can add Privacy Shade to your Quick Settings.
  • Use a BlackBerry device? you can assign Privacy Shade to the Convenience Key.
  • Does your BlackBerry device support Swipe Shortcuts? If so, you can make Privacy Shade one of your shortcuts.
  • You can also toggle Privacy Shade on or off via the optional dedicated notification in the notification tray.
  • Finally you can also access Privacy Shade from the app icon.

Open the app as above:

How to identify your Windows 10 build and version

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Windows 10 build numbers are now very important. Previously Microsoft has always used build numbers, as they represented significant updates to Windows. You may know Windows as Windows Vista, 7,8 etc which also included service packs i.e. Windows 7 Service Pack 1. With Windows 10, this has changed.

Microsoft claim there will be no more versions (and service packs) of Windows, so Windows 10 is what it will be known as for the foreseeable. They are now only releasing two major builds per year. So, how do you find out what build version of Windows 10 you have? This can be found in the Settings App with either of the following options:

  • Hit Windows+I to open Settings > then go to > System > About (scroll down). You will see the Edition, Version, OS Build and System Type.
  • You can also use the Winver Dialog tool – From Start, type “winver” press Enter into the Run dialog. Note: This version does not show whether you are using a 64-bit or 32-bit version of Windows 10. Personally, I prefer option 1.

Useful tip: The version number is in the form YYMM – so if your Windows 10 version number is 1607 this means the 7th month of 2016.