Quarter of all Android apps ask for users' GPS location data

Quarter of all Android apps ask for users' GPS location data
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About a quarter of all apps on the Android smartphone operating system ask for users' precise location using GPS coordinates.

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That's one of the findings from a Pew Research study that analyzed more than 1 million apps in the Google Play store. 

Twenty-one percent ask for a user's approximate location. About 6 percent of those apps ask to read a user's contacts, while 4 percent ask for access to a user's call logs. 

The research firm found 235 different permission requests among all smartphone applications, but most apps only use a handful that are most common — including requests that ask about access to a smartphone's hardware, rather than a user's information.

The most popular permission request — used by 83 percent of apps — simply allow the apps to connect to the Internet. 

Thirty-five percent of apps ask to know a phone's number and unique ID. And 54 percent of apps ask for permission to modify your USB storage. 

The study comes as the U.S. public remains wary of privacy concerns when it comes to their smartphones. 

Sixty percent of people said they have chosen not to install an app after finding out how much personal information it would use. Another 43 percent said they have previously uninstalled an app for the same reason. 

The survey analyzed data from only the Android operating system, which holds a majority of the U.S. smartphone market. Data from Apple's iOS operating system, which holds about 40 percent of the U.S. market, was not looked at. 

While there are millions of apps on the Google Play store, about 90 percent have been downloaded less than 50,000 times. About 1,000 have been downloaded more than 10 million times. And only 11 — mostly Google's own apps that come self installed — have been downloaded more than 500 million times.