Meet Lockdown, The App That Reveals Who’s Tracking You On Your iPhone

In an period of mass knowledge assortment by tech giants equivalent to Facebook and Google, it helps to learn. Many corporations are lower than clear about what they do with folks’s knowledge, leaving it all the way down to the person to guard their very own privateness.

Apple has made progress in growing its customers’ privateness and safety in iOS 13, which provides you extra management over the info apps are in a position to gather. However, even for those who lock down your permissions, it’s nonetheless doable for apps to trace you as you browse. 

Enter Lockdown, an iPhone and now Mac app based by two former Apple engineers Johnny Lin and Rahul Dewan. Launched final July, its customers are rising quick: 100,000 folks use the app and Lockdown has blocked a whopping 1 billion trackers. 

What is Lockdown?  

Lockdown is an open supply and on-device firewall with the flexibility to dam trackers. It makes use of Apple’s VPN set as much as perform, however it’s not a VPN itself and gained’t obscure your IP deal with.

However, Lockdown additionally provides a paid for VPN. Dewan says the Lockdown VPN is totally different from many related companies available on the market, which might gather knowledge logs. This is as a result of the servers for its VPN improve are overtly operated. “This means you can prove our privacy policy that we do not log or collect any data from users except to run the service, and we have zero access to it,” Dewan explains.

I attempted Lockdown on my iPhone over a interval of three weeks and must say I used to be impressed. The VPN was fairly fast and I didn’t discover a lag. In order to place the firewall facet to the take a look at, I additionally reinstalled the Facebook app I had deleted way back. After all, Facebook is already a identified offender, proper?

Where do the trackers come from?

But the trackers originate not simply from the Facebook and Google apps; they’re embedded inside different apps you utilize every single day, in addition to the web sites you go to on Apple Safari and different browsers.

“They silently collect data on what you’re looking at, your actions–every swipe, tap, and button click–your location, and more,” Johnny Lin, cofounder and CTO at Lockdown instructed me. 

This occurs even when the app is not lively within the foreground, and if you’re not utilizing your telephone.

“When this data is collected, it’s sent out to advertisers, data brokers, and analytics companies,” Lin says. “By collecting this data on individuals from different sources, these companies build super-specific ‘shadow’ profiles of each individual.”

The profiles include what you want and dislike, in addition to frankly creepy particulars equivalent to what time you get up, who you are linked to and in what manner, the place you reside and the locations you go, your weight loss plan, and even extraordinarily delicate well being knowledge. “Those are the tracking attempts that you see being blocked in the block log,” Lin tells me. 

Breaking down my block log

I requested Lin to interrupt down my block log and that is what he instructed me: 

  • chartbeat.web is a knowledge assortment firm whose privateness coverage says the agency tracks and saves private identifiers: My actual title, alias, postal deal with, distinctive private identifier, on-line identifier, Internet Protocol deal with, e mail deal with, account title, Social Security quantity, driver’s license quantity, passport quantity or different related identifiers, shopping historical past, geolocation, and extra.
  • doubleclick.web is promoting firm owned by Google. Aside from Facebook, in accordance with Lin, that is probably the most important supply of Behavioral Retargeting, which “follows you around the web with its massive ad network.”
  • is a market analysis firm owned by comScore. It sells your knowledge to 3rd events as outlined in its privateness coverage.
  • join.fb.web is Facebook’s notorious monitoring platform that collects profiles on billions of customers utilizing their exercise on apps and websites, even when they do not use Facebook and are not logged into Facebook, Lin says.
  • is a monitoring instrument utilized by an organization known as Firebase, which was acquired by Google. “It was reverse-engineered to find a surprising amount of private data being sent,” Lin tells me.

That’s only a portion of my Block Log from three:38PM to three:54PM on in the future.

Trackers in your iPhone: Why it is best to care 

Knowing simply how a lot I’m being tracked every single day on my telephone is actually an incentive to proceed utilizing the app. But I care about my privateness, and it is best to too. 

On a person degree, everybody has issues they wish to hold personal, Lin factors out. “Users currently have no idea what they’re sharing, who they’re sharing it with, and how it’s shared. We tell our devices things we wouldn’t tell our closest friends and family, so why should the data and behaviors on them be available to people and companies we’ve never met?”

Even for those who do not care about privateness in any respect, trackers have an effect on your telephone’s efficiency: “Having dozens of trackers constantly phoning home results in performance issues like draining your battery, racking up data usage, and causing slowdowns,” Lin factors out.

Lin says Lockdown cares about transparency–which is why the app is 100% open supply. “Anyone can see what it’s doing, and just as importantly, what it’s not doing.” ​

Trust is in fact essential, and as an added bonus Lockdown is free and straightforward to make use of. I’d actually advocate downloading the app in your iPhone so you possibly can see the sheer quantity of trackers for your self. 

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