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How to opt out of T-Mobile's creepy ad tracking campaign

Customers and non-customers alike should follow these steps to remove your data from various marketers.
jason-cipriani
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer on

Last month, T-Mobile fully launched its App Insights program after it spent over a year in beta. The program collects information about the apps you have installed on your phone, how often you use them, which Wi-Fi networks you connect to and your web browsing habits and then sells that valuable information to marketers. 

Scary, right? To be fair, T-Mobile anonymizes the data so, in theory, it can't be traced back to a specific user. But who wants to take that chance? 

Thankfully, the carrier is allowing its customers to opt-out of the creepy tracking program. But unless you specifically go looking for the method, you'll have a hard time figuring it out. 

According to AdExchanger, T-Mobile isn't tracking any data from iPhone users because of Apple's rules around tracking and selling users' data. So, for now, at least, if you use an iPhone, you're safe from T-Mobile's prying eyes. 

However, if you want to take the extra step to tell T-Mobile you don't want to be tracked right now, I can't blame you. 

Install the necessary app... if you can find it

To opt-out, you'll need to install T-Mobile's Magenta Ads Platform Choices on Android or Magenta Mktg Platform Choices for iPhone app. See what I mean? T-Mobile didn't even put the company's name in the name of the app, and even then, they don't use the same name across platforms. People aren't going to search for "Magenta."

Ask for your data not to be sold and deleted

I turned on the option to ask apps not to track me on my iPhone, so the Magenta Mktg app doesn't provide me with the option to view what data the companies involved have about me and my device. 

t-mobile-ad-opt-out
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

On my Android phone, though, I can view which companies have information about my device -- even though I don't have T-Mobile -- and then delete it, followed by indicating I don't want my data sold. 

To be clear, I don't think T-Mobile itself is tracking me, but I believe that the marketers T-Mobile sells data to are collecting data about my device, likely through other third-party apps or services. It just happens that T-Mobile's app is surfacing my data during its check, and in turn, providing me a way to remove it and request not to be tracked. 

Once you opt-out, you'll be taken to a page in the app showing you the status of your request. After it's complete, you're instructed to delete the app. As for me, I'm going to keep the app installed and check it every few months. 

Since this appears to be a device-by-device setting, you'll need to repeat this process on any other devices you own.

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