App / ad trackers huge battery drain, dishonest reply from Wyze support

Android - Huge app/ad tracker battery drain (lasts less than a day), 100K+ 3rd party (google, braze, etc) tracking attempts /day, even w/ privacy choices, opt-outs, etc properly selected.

Contacted Wyze Support for way to make it stop. Wyze replied they don’t sell /use customer info for ad tracking. Ad tracker detection app consistently shows continuous Wyze app tracking attempts each day. Disable Wyze app, no problem, battery life 2~3 times higher. So much for customer privacy & respect, truth & transparency.

Does anyone know how to stop the repeat and continuous ad tracker attempts?

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Duckduckgo App Tracking Protection works, I think. You can invoke it through their Android browser app.

It doesn’t work on certain Moto phones like mine, however (acknowledged by their support folks.)

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Wyze does use Braze and Segment-io, which actually aren’t really used by Wyze for 3rd party ads because Wyze doesn’t do 3rd party ads, nor do they sell our data. As I recall from all the past times this was brought up, Wyze is using Braze and Segment-io for anonymized aggregated data to know things related to app performance, user engagement, etc: like if some part of the app has broken functionality, or is causing crashes, or what things users use the most or avoid or don’t know about and how they can improve their user-inteface design.

Wyze already doesn’t sell our private data, but if it makes anyone feel better, you can select the option in the app settings to tell them not to (as is required by recent privacy laws):

Go to the account tab → About → Opt out of Data Sharing

As for the trackers, again, they aren’t ad trackers. They are typical performance and engagement trackers to know to best improve the app. I don’t believe there is any easy way to remove or disable them from the Wyze app…it is possible to do if you go into the app files and manually disable specific files…though I wouldn’t recommend this for 99.9% of people. You can use anti-tracker programs or VPN’s to block Segment and Braze from sending the performance and engagement data back to Wyze, though. As mentioned above, you can use something like the Duck-Duck-Go Tracker Blocker. That won’t change the battery use though, just prevent Wyze from getting as much anonymized aggregated data.

I should also mention that Braze and Segment aren’t really using any battery when you aren’t actively using the Wyze app. So it’s not draining your battery when the app is closed or in the background and not the active window. There are some other factors that affect the battery a little bit with these kind of apps, including the frequency and the size of data transmissions. They do seem to send more often than I would prefer, though the size is pretty minuscule/insignificant (which I have tested by various amounts of active and passive use of the app since I found out about these years ago and researched them individually). I have mostly concluded that these 2 are optimized and fairly compatible.

Having said that, I would still prefer that Wyze allowed us an “opt-out” option. I know they aren’t doing ads, and I know they aren’t selling our data, but I think they should still add an option to opt out of anonymized data stuff like this. Some (but not all) other companies have started asking us if we would permit them to collect anonymized data related to performance and engagement, and I appreciate that. I think most apps still don’t give that option, but I think Wyze should move in that direction now. Having looked into it enough, I do believe that they have good intentions compared to other data and privacy disrespector giants like Meta/Google…but I do like to turn off this kind of thing in general too and I appreciate that we are increasing being given options to turn them off in apps. Wyze should add that now too.


Duck Duck Go App gets it all…

Look at all the information they want about us😐

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image  knows.

It’s So Bad that when I Farted a ad popped up for Air Freshener :rofl:


DuckDuckGo institutes a VPN to block the transmission from Google/Braze to Wyze. It does not fix the battery use concern that OP was talking about though:

That is a misunderstanding. That is not telling you what WYZE is collecting, nor necessarily what Google/Braze is currently collecting through the Wyze App (or whatever other app is in question). What that is telling you is a list of services that are possible to contracted for, which other companies have been known to use them to collect. It is not saying that Wyze is collecting all, or any of that information through Google/Braze, nor that Google/Braze have collected any of that through their integrations in the Wyze app (though it’s also quite possible…all I am saying is that nobody knows what they actually collected here, just what those integrations provide as possibilities). In fact, it is possible that in some cases, the package installation varies considerably depending on the type of info being contracted for (for optimization purposes). I would assume that Wyze would at least opt for anything that could be useful in performance aggregates. For example, if they release a new app, and find that there are suddenly an increase number of app crashes or reports of freezing, or something not working correctly like livestreams, etc. It would be useful for them to be able to check the aggregated data on that and see if it was mostly coming from a specific OS version, phone model, or any number of other factors. There have been plenty of bugs that were only happening to either iOS phones, or just Android, or some recent bugs were ONLY happening to just newer Google Pixel phones or just Samsung phones. Having this data helps them to figure that out quickly.

Take the recent issue where you were unable to live-stream. You blocked those performance reports, which means they don’t have that data from you and it doesn’t go into their aggregate data to help support their automatic notifications that there is a performance issue in certain cases with the latest app release. If too many people do that, they are likely to assume something like that is an isolated issue, or something to do with your phone, for example. But if enough users allow them to get performance data, they can better find what the issue is and what all the common factors are to see why it is happening to you and not to me. Things like that.

In some ways the DuckDuckGo app is false reassurance. LOTS of apps do the same kind of tracking themselves without leveraging a 3rd party contractor like Braze/Google. For example, ANY Meta apps or any Google Apps. We can use DuckDuck Go blocker all we want, but they are still going to track EVERYTHING you do, everywhere you go, everything on your phone, etc and store it in their data, and likely sell it to data brokers for ANYONE to buy (your neighbor could buy it, I could buy it, the feds can buy it, an adversarial government can and DOES buy nearly everything you do online, anyone can buy anyone’s info for pennies on the dollar, especially when bought in bulk). If Wyze really wanted to, they could simply do all the tracking themselves and no duckduckgo app could stop it without blocking the entire app (which they won’t do, even to Meta or Google Apps which do this).

Having said all of that, I also use the DuckDuckGo Tracking blocker a lot of the time (usually when I’m not using one of my VPN’s for something like connecting to my NAS away from home). But I am well aware that it doesn’t REALLY prevent most tracking from the apps not using 3rd party packages, and that all my info is constantly being sold to data brokers by a majority of the 280 apps I currently have installed. I am under no illusions that China probably Gobbled up all my data from data brokers in a bulk buy that Meta and Google sold all my info to, and so did the Feds, and so did many others. Buying people’s data directly from data brokers is pretty cheap, especially if you buy whole demographics or locations. I even saw a demonstration video doing data broker purchasing about people in the DC area to demonstrate the kind of info that can be gathered about the politicians or federal employees and it’s kind of scary how easy it is gather dirt on people and use the pieces to figure out who they are.

So yes, I do use DuckDuckGo because it’s useful in certain ways, but in no way do I assume it is blocking more than a tiny percentage of the tracking going on. It absolutely doesn’t stop Google’s tracking (lots of videos on this too). Google is still getting all the information in that screenshot for their own purposes and collecting it through the Android OS in general. Apple does too (they’ve even had lawsuits about them monetizing it despite lying about it). Apple (and Google) don’t allow users to turn off performance tracking (the same thing Wyze is doing here). If you want to use an iOS or Android phone, you HAVE TO allow them to do performance tracking, exactly as Wyze is trying to do. Apple and Google say this is necessary for providing and improving their services and they respect your privacy, and they anonymize and aggregate the data, etc, etc. But it’s still all basically the same thing as being discussed here and includes all the same information being collected. And there is no way for DuckDuckGo to block it without blocking the entire phone forever. You can even put your phone in Airplane mode for hours or days or weeks, and as soon as you ever reconnect it to internet, it sends all that personal and performance data to Google and Apple without your consent and no way to prevent it being done or opt out.

I guess the point is…Wyze isn’t really doing anything different than 99.99% of companies by tracking performance data. In fact, they would be kind of negligent and a bad service if they didn’t do things to figure out where they are having problems and need improvement. People would be mad at them for not being able to figure out the source of certain problems, etc. Aggregated Performance data is critical for this. The main thing I care about is their privacy policy, and their promise to not SELL my data, which removes all incentive for that kind of bad behavior. I think they have reasonable policies in at this time. I think they could improve, and I would push them to still allow people to opt-out of more, but I think they handle this as reasonably as can be expected by any company who needs to balance performance and customer needs.

I respect other opinions to the contrary. After all, I still use tracker blockers myself, and I’m about to install a Pi-Hole container for even more control over mine. So I totally get it. I really do. I’m even there in the privacy group too. I’m just saying that I think there are also a lot of misunderstandings between using aggregated performance data to improve the UX vs those that track to sell personal info, which is not the case here. I prefer to avoid both, but I am not extremely upset with the former, as I find it mostly reasonable from an ethical standpoint and wide-spread normal. I’d be a lot more up in arms if it was the latter.


@bryonhu, our comments, especially yours, don’t stack up to The Carver’s. I’m not even kidding. We suck. Especially you.

I know you believe in meritocracy so let’s not try to wiggle out of it. There’s some nobility in that. :slight_smile:

On the contrary, Bryonhu is a brilliant user that raises really good questions often (not to mention how much I have long loved his shares about how he deploys cameras creatively). He has helped to bring concerns to attention that have often helped improve things in the app. This kind of discussion is really helpful because there are so many people who have the same thoughts and questions. Good, respectful conversation is helpful for everyone as more things are considered, explained, addressed, etc. I would not want to discourage people from bringing up concerns.

Also, I agree with the overall point of the thread of reducing battery drain and giving us control over whether he help toward performance data, etc. When I am giving the option, I usually opt-out, including because of the battery drain, and data use that I try to conserve, but also because of privacy as a general rule, despite knowing there really isn’t “privacy” as I’d like there to be…I still try to moderately make efforts toward it without being pathologically compulsive about it.

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I don’t know. I still think he sucks a little. Maybe it’s good that he sucks, like you say, and I just don’t get it.

Time will tell. :upside_down_face:

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On my phone the attempts continue even not actively used if you have run in background turned on. I turned off “Running in the background” in the Android app settings and the number of attempts blocked by Duck Duck Go dropped from more than 500,000 a day (yes, a day) to 1500 or less (YMMV). In my opinion that is still too many attempts if all they are trying to get is telemetry. I don’t know how much data each hits uses but I have a limited data plan. This reminds me of phone solicitors abusing my land line for which I paid the bill.