Is Facebook really listening? Alexa actually recording? 6 myths busted

We once believed that Macs would never get a virus, closing apps would save battery life, and private mode was really private.

For the record, switching to incognito in your browser probably doesn’t do what you think. Tap or click for six practical reasons to use it, from keeping your search autofill clean to shopping without spoiling the surprise.

And I’m sorry to break it to you, but just like a Windows PC, your Mac is certainly at risk. Tap or click for five free downloads that will keep your Mac or PC secure. This recommendation is one you can’t afford to ignore.

Call me your digital life myth-buster with six misconceptions you can stop believing:

1. You can’t be tracked if GPS is off

Even if you turn off location tracking on your phone, you can still be tracked. Smartphones continuously check in with cellphone towers. Using this data, the proximity of your phone can be easily calculated.

But in the words of those late-night television commercials, “Wait, there’s more!”

A few years ago, researchers at Princeton University released an app called PinMe. They proved that a phone’s location could be pinpointed by only using a phone’s sensors. The app collected compass details from the phone’s gyroscope, air pressure readings from the phone’s barometer, and speed along with the direction of travel from the phone’s accelerometer. No additional tech was needed to see the phone’s precise location on a map.

To prevent tracking, turn the phone off. If that’s unrealistic, tap or click here for insider settings to limit tracking.

Your smartphone's lithium-ion batteries degrade over time.

2. Let your phone’s battery drop to zero before recharging it

Years ago, nickel-cadmium batteries suffered from the dreaded memory effect. The batteries would remember previous cycles and would not recharge fully. So the modus operandi was to make sure you drained the battery down to zero before recharging it.

That’s not the case anymore with today’s lithium-ion batteries. These batteries degrade over time. A full charge that you have on your smartphone now does not last as long as when your phone was new. 

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