How to Stop Pokémon Go From Accessing a Scary Amount of Personal Information
In just under a week, Pokémon Go has taken over the lives of thousands, turning Central Park into a weird zoo of Pokémon hunters, garnering more downloads than Tinder on Android, and inspiring way too many weird stories. However, as a part of the sign-up process, thousands of people are handing over a scary amount of information to Niantic, the company who created the game.
Many users who signs up for Pokémon Go with their Google account are giving Niantic full access to their Google account. That includes giving it the ability to send email as you, the ability to access and delete emails, contacts, documents, and photos, as well as access to your history on YouTube, Google Maps, and Google search.
There's an amazing amount of private information available through Google for any user who basically uses the internet in any capacity whatsoever. This accessing of Google accounts is largely reported to be impacting iOS users rather than Android gamers, but either way, there's an easy way to stop the app from accessing your information.
Head to myaccount.google.com. There, click into "connected apps & sites." That will provide you with a list of who has been granted (or gained) access to some level of your personal information stored on Google.
Once there, you'll see Pokémon Go. Click that and it will open a panel revealing whether or not you've given the app "full account access." In that panel there's a big blue button that says "REMOVE." By clicking "REMOVE" you are revoking Pokémon Go's unfettered access to your account.
Importantly, it shouldn't alter your ability to play the incredibly addictive game. A few tests have shown that the game keeps functioning as normal, though some players have reported they weren't able to play the game after removing the game's access.
If that's the case, if might be a good time to set up a dummy Gmail account for this kind of thing. It's worth worrying about not just because Niantic has access to your account, but because Google tends to be the gold standard of verification for many services. If you forget your password at one site, verification is easily sent through Google, potentially opening up non-Google account access to anyone who hacks a Google account. That means protecting your account is worthwhile.
By making a fake account you can limit the amount of information being shared and not limit the number of Jigglypuffs in your Pokédex.
Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He loves the word Pokédex. Follow him @dlukenelson.