5 Ways to Improve Privacy on Android Phones
We store extensive amount of data on our mobile phones ranging from contacts, messages, photos and settings among others. While Android is a secure OS, our phones send some of our data to third-party servers like Google to help them deliver more personalized offers. Moreover, your data has become a target for various parties to track and share with advertisers and scammers. Therefore, it is important to improve the data privacy on your Android device.
Luckily, there are numerous ways of blocking unauthorized users from accessing your private data on your phone. In this post, we will explore the various options to help you keep your personal information safe.
1. Enable Android Device Manager
Device Manager is a security feature that enables to track your device when your phone is stolen or lost. In case your phone is missing, you can delete all the data on the phone remotely to ensure that your personal information is not at risk.
Enable Android Device Manager
- Open the phones settings app, scroll down, and open the “Google” settings under the “Personal” section.
- Look for the “Security” option and tap to open it. On the security page, press “Find My Device” and ensure the switch is turned on.
- Go back to the main settings screen and open the security settings. Under the “Device administration” category, tap “Device Administrators”.
- Check the “Find My Device” box to activate the device admin. This will allow the Google Play Services to erase data from your lost device as well as modify screen lock settings.
2. Set a Strong Alphanumeric Screen Lock Password
Most Android phones allow users to lock screen with a PIN or a pattern. However, some intruders can easily master or guess the pin or the pattern. To enhance your device privacy, it is advisable to set a strong password that incorporates letters, numbers and special characters making it hard for anyone to guess.
- Launch the device settings app and go to the security settings option. Under the “Device security” section, press “Screen lock” to set the password.
- Select the “Password” option from the screen lock list that follows.
- Tap the “Require password to start device” link.
- Enter your preferred password in the text box that appears, confirm the password and press the “Continue” button.
Note: Your password mixing letters in caps, numbers and symbols can make your password stronger. However, you should choose a password that is easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess.
3. Activate Device Encryption to Protect Your Data
Most manufacturers encrypt Android phones by default. However, it is good to confirm that your device is encrypted and if not you should activate encryption.
- Go to the device security settings screen and under “Encryption”, you will see whether the phone is encrypted or not.
- You can encrypt the device by pressing the “Encrypt phone” option and follow the screen instructions.
4. Disable/ Limit Google’s Tracking Activity
Google stores a huge amount of data about you including websites you visit, apps you use, location and so on. Though blocking Google from collecting information about you can be hard, you can limit how much information Google can track and store.
- Open your phone’s settings app and go the “Google” settings.
- At the top of the Google settings options, tap “Google Account” under the “Account” category.
- Scroll down to find the “Take the Privacy Check-Up” option on the resulting page and press “Get Started”.
- This will show a list of activities, you can turn off tracking for all activities including Device Info, location history, voice & audio, web and app activities, YouTube history and search tracking.
Note: Turning off “Activity Controls” will limit some of the Google services or features but it is worth trade-off when privacy is your priority.
5. Review and Disable Unnecessary App Permissions
Another way to improve privacy on your Android phone is to deny suspicious app permission to access your sensitive information.
- To review apps privacy, go to “Apps” settings and at the top of the screen press the settings (gear icon) to configure the apps.
- Tap the “App permissions” option on the resulting configuration page to see which apps have what access permission.
- Tap a category to view the apps with access. To deny permissions, press the switch next to the app to toggle off.
- It is also important to review the app permissions before you install an app to avoid installing suspicious apps on your device.
The above options will help you increase privacy on your android phone. However, there are several other effortless ways of keeping data on your device safe. Some of the most effective habits that can boost your phone’s privacy include; using a mobile VPN when connected to a public network, turn off location feature most of the times, change your device password regularly and use Chrome mobile browser alternatives.