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5 harmful apps you should delete from your iPhone right now

Yep, there’s an app for that! When it comes to apps for your iPhone, you certainly have quite a lot of options whether you’re searching for games for the kiddos, learning activities, workouts, yoga, or want to track your run. Of course, all apps are not created equal. Some eat data, others take up space on your phone and run down your battery, while a few end up not being what they’re cracked up to be. But the ones you should worry about are the apps with no privacy. Malicious apps that contain malware to try to obtain personal information, contact information, and passwords should be deleted immediately.

Unlike on your computer, getting a virus from an app is unlikely — but not totally impossible. All the apps in the App Store have been scrutinized by Apple before being made available for download, making the risk of a virus extremely low. That is not to say some apps, especially those connected to social media platforms, are considered safe. You wouldn’t knowingly share personal information like your social security number, address, or driver’s license number online, and you don’t post your passwords. Then, don’t do it by accident, either.

Privacy is a major component to consider before putting an app on your iPhone. Here are five iPhone apps you should delete or avoid downloading even if the kiddos beg.

Little girl having fun playing on a smartphone
takayuki/Shutterstock / Shutterstock

Facebook Messenger

Quite a bit has been said about the social-media giant Facebook and how the company uses your data. The safest spot for Facebook just may be your laptop or desktop if you’re a devoted user of the site. Leaving the app off your phone will save you battery life as well as data. When it comes to its Messenger app, you should leave it off your iPhone altogether. Unlike secure messaging apps, Facebook Messenger does not utilize end-to-end encryption by default.

Users can send secret messages to another party on Facebook Messenger, but this doesn’t happen without initiating a secret conversation. Other messaging apps like Signal use end-to-end encryption automatically. End-to-end encryption means only you and the person you’re messaging can see the contents. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to bring end-to-end encryption by default to Facebook Messenger, but for now, you might want to keep the app off your smartphone until the company hammers out the essentials.

Third-party weather apps

It would make sense that an app that tells you what the weather forecast would need your location, but many third-party weather apps have been known to collect and sell data to advertisers. A couple of weather apps like WeatherBug, AccuWeather, and even the Weather Channel’s app have fallen under suspicion or been sued for misusing user data. If you want to know what Mother Nature has in store for you, stick to the built-in weather app that comes already on your iPhone.

Angry Birds

Don’t make these birdies angry because they have access to your data. Seriously, free apps like Angry Birds should be taken with a grain of salt and left off your iPhone even if it does keep the kids busy while waiting in line at the grocery store. It’s been widely publicized that Big Brother was watching through the classic Angry Birds app. Since that bombshell dropped in 2014, Angry Birds apps released prior to the fall of 2014 were taken out of the app store in 2019, but you can still download games like Angry Birds 2.

Young woman having fun on her iPhone outside on a sunny day
sergey causelove/Shutterstock


Say it isn’t so! How are you going to get your favorite ice cream at 2 a.m.? It might be better to keep a stock of your faves in the freezer than to install the DoorDash app. Many apps have third-party trackers that are watching what you do online and sharing the information with advertisers and worse. DoorDash is one offender that is putting your name, address, and email out there on the World Wide Web for more than just the delivery person.

Flashlight apps

Downloading a flashlight app does more than provide light in a dark parking lot. A Wired story back in 2014 shed some light on how downloading a flashlight app exposes your personal information to third parties. Get a flashlight for your car keys instead. It’s safer and does the same thing.

Don’t worry, apps are still cool and can be a great addition to your smartphone, but it’s important to be aware of what you’re downloading to your phone before you do it. Before downloading an app, take the time to read its privacy policies. The small print can be annoying, but if you look it over, you can avoid unknowingly having your data sold to third-party advertisers or worse. Another way to keep yourself safe when it comes to apps is to head over to settings and the privacy menu. It is up to you whether or not to allow apps to access your location.

If you want to keep your apps from talking to people you don’t know when you think they’re sleeping (yes, they do that), turn off the Background App Refresh. This will keep your data intact as well as save your battery life. Like kids, adults want the hot apps right away, but it’s a better philosophy to do some research into the app before downloading it to your iPhone. This practice will keep your privacy and data safe.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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