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Mobile phone security is just as important as having security for a desktop computer or laptop. These days, smartphone users access the internet more than people do via computers. Security protects against unauthorised access, data breaches and other cyber threats, and Android settings are available on every Android device. Unfortunately, some of these settings are not obvious. This article focuses on essential settings you need to usseto protect your Android device.

11 Tips to keep your Android device secure

1. Lock screen security enhancements

To ensure only you can gain access to your mobile phone, secure it with a password, pattern or biometric authentication (e.g. thumbprint) to prevent unauthorised access. Here’s where you can set this up on your device:

  • Open the phone Settings
  • Tap on Security and then Screen Lock
  • Choose the lock screen option you want to use
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process

If you opt for pass code protection, choose something you’re not going to forget, but also something that won’t be obvious to others. Your phone is now safeguarded against unauthorised access.

2. App permissions review

Just about every app you install on your phone will want access to various phone settings, functions or data, such as location, microphone, camera and so on. To prevent too many third-party apps from accessing your info, you’ll want to audit your apps and restrict app permissions. This ensures apps only gain access to necessary data to function. Here’s how to do it:

  • Navigate to Android Settings
  • Tap on Security & Privacy
  • Access Permission Manager

A list of various app permissions will come up. When you tap on a specific permission, you’ll see a list of apps authorised to use and in what way.

  • Click on a specific app to adjust its level of access
  • Go through every app for each permission until fully audited

3. Find My Device feature

Every Android phone has the Find My Device feature. This comes in handy if you’ve misplaced your phone, lost it somewhere, or if it’s stolen. Not only does this feature help you locate your phone, but you can also lock your phone remotely and even erase data on a lost or stolen phone. Here’s how to enable and use this great feature:

  • Go to Settings
  • Tap on Security & Privacy
  • Select Find My Device
  • Turn on the app if it’s not already enabled by default

If you ever need to locate your phone for any reason, you can do so from any web browser on any computer or device.

  • Type in the URL com/find
  • Sign into your Google account
  • Pinpoint your device’s location on a map
  • Go get your lost phone (or lock it and erase data remotely if necessary)

4. Safe browsing settings

On Android devices, Chrome is usually the default web browser and will have Safe Browsing mode enabled. This security feature protects your device against malicious websites and unsolicited downloads. It will also warn you if you attempt to open a dubious or unsafe website. To check that the feature is on or to add ‘Enhanced Safe Browsing’, do the following:

  • Open the Chrome browser
  • Tap on the 3 dot menu icon in the upper right corner
  • Select Settings
  • Tap on Privacy & Security
  • Select Safe Browsing (enable it if it’s not already enabled)
  • Tap on Enhanced Protection and enable that too

5. Two-factor Authentication (2FA) setup

It’s a good idea to always use Two-factor Authentication for your Google accounts or any other apps that support 2FA. It provides an added layer of security to prevent unauthorised access to those accounts. Do the following to set up 2FA:

  • Navigate to Settings
  • Tap Manage your Google Account
  • Select the Security tab
  • Locate 2-Step Verification and follow the instructions

6. Regular software updates

It’s vital that you keep your device’s OS and your installed apps up to date at all times, as each update contains new features and security patches. This enhances the security of your mobile phone and also gives you access to exciting new features.

Security is extremely important when using a smartphone and updates are effective in keeping your phone safe from cyber attacks. Both your OS and individual apps will alert you regarding the latest updates available.

  • Open the Google Play Store app
  • Tap the profile icon on the top right
  • Select Manage Apps & Device
  • Tap Update for any apps displaying an Update Available

7. Ad tracking limitations

You’ll want to enable Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) on your phone to enhance the privacy and security of your stored data. This limits the collection of data for advertising purposes. It also helps protect your personal information. Here’s how to set it up:

  • Go to Settings
  • Select Google then Ads
  • Opt out of Ads Personalisation

8. Background app checks

Many smartphone apps continue running in the background even when you’re not using them. This can lead to both data leaks and battery drain. You’ll want to monitor and restrict background app activities by doing the following:

  • Navigate to Settings
  • Select Network & Internet
  • Choose Mobile Network
  • Tap Data Usage
  • Access Data Saving and then tap Unrestricted Apps
  • Toggle to Off any apps you want to restrict

9. Disabling unnecessary services

At times it’s necessary to disable some services on your Android device. Services like Bluetooth scanning, NFC, Google Location History and others are often continuously running. Turning these off when not in use creates a more seamless user experience and also protects against security vulnerabilities. Here’s how to switch them off:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Location
  • Switch off apps and services such as Bluetooth and Google Location History

10. Secure app sources

You can download mobile phone apps from just about any website, but that doesn’t mean you should. It’s important to only download and install apps from reputable sources to guarantee phone security and to avoid downloading malware with an app. Always download apps from trusted sites like the Google Play Store, or the official website of a company offering a specific smartphone app.

11. Privacy settings audit

You’ll want to periodically audit your phone’s privacy settings for features like location, camera access, microphone access and more. The Permission Manager or Privacy Dashboard gives you a single place to manage privacy settings for apps that tap into these features. Here’s how to manage your privacy settings:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Privacy
  • Tap on Permission Manager (or Privacy Dashboard for Android 12 and above)
  • Access the various permissions one at a time and tap Deny for any apps that you don’t want to have access to a particular phone feature

Need help with your Android smartphone setup?

If you’ve just purchased a new smartphone and are unsure how to set it up, Computer Cures is here to help. We can update your Android or Apple phone to the latest software, install your favourite apps, set up your email accounts, help you manage your phone’s settings (such as privacy settings), transfer the data from your old phone to your new phone and much more. We can do it all for you, so contact us today.

or fill in our online enquiry form today to set up an appointment with a local computer technician