What those creepy-sounding app permissions mean -- and when to be wary

Here's how to make sense of what to do when an app requests access to a particular part of your phone:

Your microphone: Many people look at this app permission and stop immediately, assuming that downloading an app that accesses the microphone means giving a company like Google or Facebook the greenlight to eavesdrop on all of your conversations.

Your camera and photos: If you were nervous about having your microphone accessed, then you're probably even more concerned when you see a request to access your camera. But, again, there are reasons for an app such as Messenger to connect with your camera.

Your "phone status and identity": This is, admittedly, one of the creepier permissions that comes up on the permissions list, and one that can certainly set heads scratching. But this can just mean that the app in question needs to know when your phone is about to ring, so that your game doesn't keep going while you're chatting away.

Your contacts: Another permission that often catches people's attention is when apps ask for access to your contacts -- and, quite frankly, it should.

Your location: This is probably one of the most common permissions, and also one of the most personal pieces of information that you can grant to an app. If that makes you uncomfortable, then you can opt not to share your location data with that app, by heading to your location settings and disabling that function.


What those creepy-sounding app permissions mean -- and when to be wary