Apart from a new start menu, UI changes, and redesigned apps, Windows 11 bets big on user privacy. Thanks to a number of privacy add-ons in Windows 11, users have all the control over their data on their PC. After all, you will be doing critical work on your computer and you won’t want apps collecting crucial data about your work and web-browsing habits in the background. Use the tricks below and enjoy a private browsing experience on Windows 11.
Most users won’t mind sharing an email address, birth date, gender, and other basic details with apps and websites. But when it comes to adding financial information or accessing confidential information, you need to stay alert to prevent any misuse of data.
1. Disable Personalized Ads
Microsoft creates your personalized ID based on your browsing behavior and other personal details. Third-party apps can access this data to show you personalized ads. If you are not a fan of this behavior, you can make a tweak in settings.
Step 1: Open Windows 11 Settings menu.
Step 2: Go to Privacy & security and open the General menu.
Step 3: Disable Let apps show me personalized ads by using my advertising ID toggle.
You might notice some irrelevant ads as apps don’t have access to your personalized ID.
2. Stop Contributing Your Voice Clips
When you contribute your voice clips with Microsoft, the company employees and vendors may use the clips to improve speech technology. The company vows to delete voice clips with your personal information but some might not find it comfortable to share such sensitive data in the first place. If you are among them, use the steps below and stop contributing your voice clips with Microsoft.
Step 1: Open the Privacy & security menu in Windows Settings.
Step 2: Go to the Speech menu.
Step 3: Select the Stop contributing my voice clips button and you are good to go.
3. Disable Send Optional Diagnostic Data
By sending optional diagnostic data to Microsoft, you help the company to improve the Windows experience and fix problems. This includes data about websites you browse, how you use apps and features, and more. Let’s disable the behavior from the Settings menu. Shall we?
Step 1: Go to Privacy & security in Windows 11 Settings menu.
Step 2: Select Diagnostics & feedback menu.
Step 3: Expand the Diagnostic data menu and disable Send optional diagnostic data toggle.
4. Turn off Tailored Experiences
This option is enabled by default. It allows Microsoft to use your diagnostic data, to enhance your product experiences with personalized tips, ads, and recommendations. You can turn it off using the steps below.
Step 1: Open Diagnostics & feedback menu in Privacy & security (refer to the steps above).
Step 2: Expand the Tailored experiences menu and disable the option.
You can delete collected diagnostic data from the same menu as well.
5. Disable and Delete Search History
Windows collects your search history to improve search suggestions. If you frequently search for sensitive information, you might want to turn off the behavior.
Step 1: Open Search Permissions in Privacy & security menu.
Step 2: Disable Search history on this device toggle from the History menu.
Step 3: Select the Clear device search history button to remove collected data.
6. Check Location Permissions
Not every app on your computer needs to access your location permission to function properly. Some shady third-party apps might collect location data in bad faith. You can check which apps have location permissions and disable the same for unknown apps.
Step 1: Open the Location menu in Privacy & security.
Step 2: Check which apps have access to your location and deny permission if necessary.
Scroll down and hit the Clear button to delete location history. We hope to see Microsoft offering location permission ‘only while using the app’ option in future Windows 11 updates.
7. Check Camera and Microphone Permission
You won’t want any random app accessing the camera and microphone on your computer all the time. It’s time to rethink camera and microphone permissions on your computer.
Step 1: Go to Camera in Privacy & security.
Step 2: Check all the apps with camera permission. You can either selectively disable the permission or completely turn off the camera.
Similarly, you can go to the Microphone menu and make required permission changes.
8. Use Brave Browser
Unlike Google Chrome and the default Microsoft Edge browser, Brave is known for strict privacy protocols while browsing the web. It’s a chromium-based browser, meaning it will work perfectly fine with all the Google Chrome extensions. Brave is available on Mac, iPhone, and Android platforms as well.
Enjoy Anonymous Windows 11 Experience
Microsoft has made huge improvements with user privacy on Windows 11. Unlike the previous Windows versions, the privacy options are readily available in the Settings menu.