How to Improve Your Privacy on Android
Staying Safe & Security-Savvy in a High-Tech World
It’s obvious to the point of banal to state that in today’s world we rely heavily on our devices to track our appointments, map out our days, balance our accounts, and manage our personal messages. A lost or stolen smartphone can amount to a complete breach of our most coveted information. Add to that the ever-growing mass of scammers spying on our online shopping habits and the question is not should, but how can one improve their privacy on their Android device. Luckily the options are many and range from high-tech app installation to everyday user-friendly system setups that will keep the Android user safe.
There is no such thing as absolute safety from hackers and criminal minds while using an Android device, and though most precautionary steps are accompanied by slight inconvenience, the following steps are the baseline recommendations to improve your privacy on Android:
- Use a PIN-protected lock screen
This most basic level of safety is the bare minimum suggestion for keeping users safe and personal information private. Beyond using such simplistic combos as “1234” or Grandma Evelyn’s birthday, it is highly suggested that Android users employ a strong alphanumeric combination for optimum safety. Passwords are strongly preferred to fingerprint recognition, and are easily set up within the Settings -> Security tabs on most Android devices.
- Encrypt your device
For a level of protection that will stymie the most sophisticated of criminals, device encryption is suggested. Simply put, device encryption locks your files and data away using a code, much like a secret spy language inasmuch as without decoding capabilities, the message appears to be gibberish. To make sense of the data you need the code or PIN number to convert your files and apps from gibberish to accessible information. If your data is encrypted, anyone who happens across your device will have a very, very hard time accessing your personal files. It’s an easy process and encryption options can be found under Settings -> Security Menu.
- Give Google less power
Google makes its money from data, and they are currently gleaning that data from you and your overly-used, freely-installed apps. Give them less power by giving less information . . . and thereby get an easy increase in your privacy, as well as a bump in overall device performance. See exactly what Google is up to behind-the-scenes, and decide which applications and services you can do without here.
- Find My Phone
With this feature, Android users can manage all of their devices remotely so long as they are connected to the Web. No longer will the lost-phone-in-the-tiny-space-between-the-car-seat be an issue. By logging on to Google Find My Device, users can locate any Android device, and even remotely lock or erase a device that has been lost or stolen.
The above listed suggestions are the bare minimum system setups that one must employ in order to stay safe and improve privacy on Android. For those looking for an as-close-to-absolute-privacy option there are any number of productivity apps that protect your online privacy available on the market. The most commonly used, and common sense way of protecting yourself from identity thieves and hackers is to seek out a third party virtual party network (VPN). VPN technology creates an encrypted, safe connection over a less-secure network, like the internet. For those not prepared to support the cost of a private network, VPN is the most cost-effective means of protection for the everyday internet user.
By following just a few steps, being conscious of simple habits, and perhaps recruiting third-party support there is absolutely no reason to fear for our security, or to sacrifice safety while living our device-happy lives.
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