How Many Privacy Settings in Windows 10 and How To Change Them

Windows 10 has a dedicated section in Settings app devoted in Privacy, which offers a lot of options in 13 categories that covers pretty much everything you can think of in terms of privacy. Fire up Settings app from Start menu, and click Privacy icon to check out.

Settings - Privacy

General

Settings - Privacy - General

There are 4 options in General that you can deal with.

  • Advertise ID for apps
  • SmartScreen Filter
  • How I write, and
  • Language list

I am fine with other apps to access my advertise ID so I can get more targeted ads showing up on websites I visit. I also need SmartScreen Filter to turn on to protect me at all time. But I don’t want my writing habit and language preference to interfere my online experience.

Location

Unless you have some specific reasons and don’t want reveal any of your whereabouts, you should leave it on, even you are using a desktop computer. It provides more relevant information like weather to your device.

You can also clear out the location history stored on your local computer with a single button and have the control to choose which app can use your location data.

Camera

Turn it on if you want your apps to get access to it. Same as Location, you also get to choose which apps can access your camera.

Microphone

Same as Location and Camera, you can turn it off to all apps or get to choose which apps to allow to use the microphone for voice communication or recording.

Speech, inking, & typing

This options is here exclusively for Cortana. If you want to take advantage of what Cortana can do for you, you need to open up yourself to let it get to know you more. Sharing your voice, writing, contacts, calendar entries, speech, and handwriting patterns, and history is simple the way to go. Otherwise, simply stop using Cortana because it will not work for you if it doesn’t know you.

Settings - Privacy - General

Account info

If you are ok with apps to get access to your account name, picture, or other account info, turn the option on. Otherwise, slide it off. As always, you have the control to what apps get to access your account info.

Contacts, Calendar, Messaging

These categories are self-explanatory. Either turn on or off, or choose which apps to get access to.

Radios

It’s not the music radio we are talking about here. It’s the radios like Bluetooth some apps want to get hands on them. You can turn the sharing off or set it on/off on app basis.

Other devices

It decides whether you want to share or sync info with wireless devices that don’t get paired with your PC, tablet, or phone, like Xbox, projectors, or TVs. It’s a new area worth exploring in the future.

Settings - Privacy - Speech

Feedback & diagnostics

If you want to help to make Windows better, set it to send the info to Microsoft Always, Once a day, Once a week, or Automatic. But if you think it’s annoying, set it to Never.

Feedback frequency

If you are part of the Insider program, you are entitled to send more diagnose data over to Microsoft, but you can stop being an Insider by going to Update & security → Windows Update → Advanced options.

Settings - update - advanced settings - stop being an insider

Background apps

This is the area more for saving resources, rather than protecting your privacy. And of course, you can allow which apps to run in background and which apps don’t.

Other settings to check out

Other than the options in Privacy section, there are a few other places that are worth checking too, such as Sync your settings, Edge browser, Cortana, etc.

You may also check Microsoft’s Privacy statement to get more comfortable of what data Microsoft is trying to collect.

The thing is that when it comes to privacy, everyone has its own concerns and preferences. The truth is, whether you believe or not, the more you want to protect, the less you will enjoy spending time online. You need to balance out the options to find a middle ground that fits you the best.

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 08/11/2015

Posted in: Windows 10
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