PC Doctor July 15, 2016

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Dear PC Doctor:

I recently started playing Pokémon GO and I am having a blast!  However, I heard that, by using my Google account, I’ve given Pokémon’s parent company access to everything in my account:  files, photos, spreadsheets, even my e-mail!  Can I do anything to restrict their access?  I still want to play! 

Thank you,



Dear Pikachu:

Yes, there’s been a lot of talk about the fact that the mobile game default is set to have full access to everything in your Google account.  There are a few important exceptions; Google asserts that Pokémon GO cannot change your password, delete your account, or make payments using your Google wallet.  You can see the Google website for more details on that.  (Go to support.google.com, and look for Privacy and Security>Account Permissions.)  That said, the application can “see and modify nearly all information in your Google Account” according to the same website.

If you would prefer not to grant Pokémon Go all that access to your information, there are a few things you can do.  One really simple solution is to create a second Google account that is only for the game.  You can also set up a Pokémon Club Trainer account, (at club.pokemon.com), instead of using a Google account at all.  They will still collect some information about you, (there’s a big privacy policy you can read), but it’s more like any other online service you use. 

The third solution was announced on July 11 by Niantic on their support website (support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com).  According to the company’s statement, full access to players’ Google accounts is not needed for the game and will be rolled back.  It says it is “working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access.  Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon GO or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokémon GO’s permission to only the basic profile data that Pokémon GO needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.”

So, decide which practice suits you best, have fun playing and, until next time,

Happy Computing!

    PC Doctor