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How To Remove 3rd Party App Access to your Google Account on iPhone & Desktop
Remove third-party app access to your Google account by signing into Google or opening a Google app. Click on your avatar and choose Manage your Account. Click on Security, expand Third-Party Access and click on Remove Access against each app.
Third-Party App Access - Risk vs Reward
I was in a situation recently where an app on my iPhone requested access to my Google Drive.
I urgently needed to edit a PDF, so I installed an app called, 'I Love PDF'. Conveniently, the app was able to retrieve a PDF from my Google Drive and save a newly edited version back into my Drive. All I had to do was allow the app to 'Edit, upload & create content in your Google Account'.
These days I think most people are wary enough to think twice before granting an app this kind of access to their personal data. I'm usually reluctant to give anyone access to anything remotely personal. However, as is often the case, urgency and convenience outweighed security, so I approved the access.
I quickly edited the PDF in question, saved it back into my Google Drive and promptly revoked the app's access. Thankfully, there didn't appear to be any adverse consequences to my actions.
In an age where you can use Google or Facebook credentials to sign into most online applications, allowing apps to exchange your information is becoming increasingly common.
The key to technology is finding a balance between convenience and risk. The vast majority of requests by apps are entirely legitimate and necessary. A photo editing app is not much use if it is blocked from your photo library.
There are also several levels of permissions and access. It is rarely necessary to allow an app carte-blanche access to your data. Google has more information on their levels of access here.
In the case of my PDF app, asking for 'Edit, upload & create content in your Google Account' was significant enough to make me feel hesitant. However, I figured it was reasonable. I was asking the app to open a file stored on my Google Drive, edit it, and save to the original location.
Ask Yourself 3 Questions
Before allowing an app access to my personal data, I tend to ask myself three questions:
How confident am I that the app is legitimate?
An app from a well-known brand should be more trustworthy and instil more confidence than an app from an unknown developer.
In my case, I had never heard of the app or its developer. I had very little to go on. That said, all apps that make it onto Apple's App Store go through rigorous checks before being approved, so I was confident the app was legitimate.
Is the request reasonable and reflect the purpose of the app?
It's reasonable to expect a messaging app, such as WhatsApp, to request access to your Contact and Photos and use your Microphone and Camera. The level of access mirrors the functionality of the app.
Is the access intended to be temporary or permanent?
This was the deciding factor for me. I knew I only had to allow access to my account for as long as I needed to edit the document, which was a few minutes. I revoked the access immediately after I had finished. Of course, if the intention of the app is entirely malicious, then it only takes a few seconds to do a tremendous amount of damage. However, I was confident that the intention of the developer were honourable.
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here's how to remove or revoke third-party apps from accessing your Google account.
Accessing Your Account Using a Google App
Open one of the Google apps installed on your phone, whether it be Chrome, Gmail or Drive and click on your Avatar in the top, right corner.
Choose Manage your Google Account.
Scroll down to the Security section.
If Google has raised some security concerns with your account, it will read 'Issues Found'. Click on Secure Account. Don't be alarmed if you see this on your account. There are several security settings that Google recommends. If you don't subscribe to all of them - such as Two Factor Authentication - it will display this message. If there are no security concerns, the section will be displayed as Security.
Scroll through the Security section and choose Third-Party Access. The apps listed here all have some level of access to your account. Click on Remove Access to revoke the app's permission.
Accessing Your Google Account From an Internet Browser
Browse to myaccount.google.com and sign in.
If Google believes there to be Security issues with your account, it will display, 'Security issues found'. This is not a cause for alarm and Google are perhaps being a touch over zealous here. Click on Secure Account to view your security settings.
Expand the section for Third-Party access to view any apps that you've granted access to in the past. Here you can click on the Remove Access beside each app. You can also see what other security issues Google was referring to, if there are any.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you're a frequent user of Google's apps and if you store personal data in Google Drive, it's worth checking these security settings periodically. And remember to ask yourself those three questions before granting an app access to your personal information.
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