Do you know that a considerable percentage of free iPhone apps do not use your device’s battery optimally, and are a leading cause of bad battery life? No matter how strict Apple’s approval procedure is, a lot of shady releases reach iDevices quite regularly due to the sheer size of the App Store. So despite all the rants by Apple fanboys, this is not a problem exclusive to Android, as the whole Path scandal highlighted in 2011. Apple introduced the Privacy feature in iOS 6 to address this issue, and there have also been third-party apps to help users protect their privacy. One such app was Bitdefender’s Clueful, which was released last year to help the iOS community in weeding out apps that breach user privacy without their knowledge. For reasons unknown, Clueful was taken down from the App Store pretty swiftly, but it has just made a comeback in the form of a web app. Now you can add Clueful to your home screen from Safari, and use it to to see if an iOS app is accessing your contacts, uploading personal data to its own servers, or contains advertisements.
To use the web app, head to Safari and visit cluefulapp.com. Once there, you will be directed to add the app to your Home screen from the browser’s options menu.
The app’s home page is divided into three major sections: ‘Top Free Apps’, ‘Top Offenders’ and ‘Just Analyzed’. All the apps listed in these sections display the amount of ‘clues’ associated with them. Clues are the things that users should know about an app but might overlook them normally. The following is a partial list of things that count as clues in Clueful.
- UDID uploading
- Ad Display
- Location tracking
- Use of anonymous identifier
- Lack of data encryption
- Battery drainage
- Calendar access and uploading
- Address book access and uploading
Before you start getting suspicious of every app that has got clues listed against its name, let us clarify that Clueful only shows the effects an app is going to have on your iPhone or iPad, and many apps legitimately need to perform these functions or access this information in order to function properly. For instance, a contact manager is sure to access your address book, and the Google Maps app needs to use your iPhone’s GPS. Clueful just provides the data, and users have to decide for themselves whether an app should be doing a certain thing or not. A few examples of what should raise concern would be a game that is accessing your contacts, or a note taking app that is tracking your location.
Clueful analyzes apps individually, so there is a possibility that the one you search for wouldn’t be found. That said, the web app’s database is quite vast and most apps are listed there. If you want your friends to stay safe too, Clueful lets you share an app’s privacy report via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and email. It is also possible to leave your comments on an app’s Clueful page by signing in to your Facebook account.
Clueful is a free web app, and if you are even slightly privacy conscious, it is a must-have on your iOS device.