Cell phone owners are becoming more facile at managing their mobile data. They often avoid apps that share a lot of data, as well as take measures in case their phone is lost or stolen.

Consumers still skeptical about downloading data collecting apps

In a Pew Internet Project study, cell phone users were asked about how they manage their mobile data. Of the 43 percent of mobile phone users who download apps, many of them have shown concern about their personal information. Over half (54 percent) of app users have decided to not install an app when they learned how much of their personal information they share when they use it, and 30 percent have uninstalled an app because it collected information they did not want to share. Those users make up 57 percent of mobile app users - made up somewhat equally of Android or iPhone users, accounting for demographic differences.

Different behaviors for different handsets

Cell phone owners take care of their personal data in other ways outside of app-related security issues, and at much different rates depending on if they use a smartphone or not. The most common precaution owners take guards against lost or broken phones - 41 percent back up data in case anything happens to their handset (photos, contacts or other files). By handset type, 59 percent of smartphone owners and 21 percent of feature phone owners have backed up their phone data. The other two common practices are valuable if a phone is lost or hacked - 32 percent clear browsing or search history (50 percent smartphones vs 14 percent) and 19 percent turn off the location tracking feature to prevent others from accessing GPS information (30 percent smartphone vs. 7 percent).

Content providers must properly address consumer concerns about security

Security is a fairly common concern with mobile phone users, as seen in this study, and should be addressed by developers and brands. While there are many security apps available to install, companies must consider how much they are limiting their audience depending on the data that they collect - customers will not access their content if they are unwilling to share what is asked of them. The Federal Trade Commission has been encouraging developers to protect consumer privacy, and according to the New York Times, recommends “express agreement” from customers about the data they collect.

By Ivory King