Three quarters of Android apps share email addresses

Research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, and Carnegie-Mellon universities in the US has revealed many everyday, popular apps are tracking your movements and sharing your email address with third parties.

The universities examined the data shared by 110 apps on Android's Google Play and the Apple App Store to see how they handle data, including social networking apps, fitness apps, search engines and free messaging apps.

It revealed 73 per cent of Android apps share email addresses, while 47 per cent of iOS apps share the user's location, often without permission. Android apps were most likely to share personal information such as the name of the user (49 per cent) and address (25 per cent) while iOS apps were much better at hiding this information.

But these apps aren't regarded as malicious by Google or Apple in any way - in fact, they're 55 of the most popular apps available on the platforms, including Google, Instagram, Pinterest, Kayak, MyFitnessPal and many more.

Android health app shared some of the most shocking data, including search terms, with third-party targeted advertising apps such as and, meaning the users are likely to see public ads related to the medical search terms they use in the app.

Google and Facebook were shown to leak the most data on Android while Localscope was criticised for sharing data with 17 third party domains on iOS.

One mystery the researchers were unable to solve was that 93 per cent of Android apps shared data with the domain, which doesn't seem to exist.

The researchers examined the data sent by HTTP and HTTPS while using the apps routinely and identified any personal data, behavioural data, search terms and location data.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.