Android is one of the most widely used operating systems in the world, and it’s packed with settings and options to help protect your personal data. But trying to use all of these tools effectively can sometimes seem a bit confusing. Here is some help. .
There is one thing you should know: this guide mainly covers privacy controls specific to your Android phone or tablet. Since Google’s services are deeply tied to how Android works, you’ll want to use Google’s privacy settings as well.
If you only do one thing
– Audit your applications
What makes an Android smartphone or tablet truly yours are the apps you use on it, but it’s common for people to install apps without thinking about what we have access to.
When you launch an app for the first time after installing it, it will ask you for permission to access certain parts of your phone (like its camera or microphone) or personal data like your contacts or text messages. . It’s a good idea to periodically make sure that the apps on your phone or tablet only have access to what they’re supposed to do.
Go to Settings> Privacy> Authorization manager; you’ll see a list of options ranging from body sensors to location to your contacts. Tap each option and make sure the “allowed” apps make sense – Uber should probably have access to your location, for example, but something like a calculator app shouldn’t.
If you find apps that you don’t use frequently, just uninstall them. Go to Settings> Apps> See all apps, then find the app you want to get rid of. Then tap on its name, followed by the âUninstallâ button.
If you are still concerned about privacy
– Rethink your unlocks
Android offers several ways to unlock your phone, but some can be much more secure than others. If you don’t mind waiting briefly before unlocking your phone, setting a password or using a fingerprint sensor is one of the easiest ways to make sure that people cannot easily access your phone.
If you’re a security buff, you might want to avoid unlocking patterns and facial recognition – some versions can be surprisingly easy to cheat. Here’s how to change your unlock method:
Go to Settings> Security> Screen lock and select a new type of screen lock.
– Hide your sensitive notifications
Notifications from incoming apps and messages are supposed to appear on your phone or tablet screen even before you unlock it. If you’re not careful, it could mean that people around you may see snippets and emails that you don’t want them to see. Here’s how to make sure that none of this potentially sensitive information shows up on your lock screen when you don’t want it:
Go to Settings> Apps & notifications> Notifications and make sure the “Sensitive notifications” box is unchecked. (If done correctly, the toggle will appear in gray.)
If you want to be very careful
– Make sure your phone is encrypted
Most modern Android phones are already encrypted, which means the personal data stored on them is not easily accessible unless someone manages to unlock your device. But if you are using an older Android phone or tablet, this feature might not be enabled yet. Here’s how to check:
Go to Settings> Security> Advanced> Encryption & Credentials. If everything is secure, you will see “Encrypted” under the “Encrypt phone” option and you don’t have to do anything else. If you don’t, you can hit “Encrypt phone” and start the process – don’t be surprised if it takes longer than an hour.
– Use Chrome wisely, or not at all
You’d be hard pressed to find an Android phone sold in the US that didn’t have the Chrome browser preinstalled, and it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if Google didn’t keep tabs on what you’re doing. online in order to provide you with personalized advertising. If at all possible, you might want to consider ditching Chrome in favor of more privacy-focused browsers like Brave, Firefox, and DuckDuckGo.
If you need to keep using Chrome, there are several ways to use it more securely. Launch the Chrome app and tap the three-dot menu button next to the address bar, then âSettingsâ, followed by âPrivacy and securityâ. Once done, make sure the âDo Not Trackâ and âAlways use secure connectionsâ options are enabled.