To safeguard your valuable data housed on your Android phone it is imperative to fortify its security measures. Neglecting this could leave your data vulnerable to cyberattacks. While a multitude of Android phones come equipped with built-in security components like biometrics, it falls upon you to tailor your device settings to your specific privacy requirements. Here are the Android security features that you should apply.
Top Android security tips
#1 Enable 2FA
Android users can enhance their security with two-factor authentication, which involves a two-step verification process. This security measure is becoming standard across various platforms, not just limited to Android settings.
To protect your accounts, especially those with sensitive data, enable 2-factor authentication wherever possible. Here’s how you can get started:
- Access the “Settings” on your Android device.
- Choose “Google.”
- Select “Manage my Google Accounts.”
- Scroll down to your email and tap on “Security.”
- Locate “2-Step Verification.”
- Open your browser.
- Choose “Get Started” and follow the provided instructions.
#2 Audit app permissions
When installing an app, it typically requests permission to access various hardware and system services like the microphone, camera, location, and more. It’s easy to mindlessly tap through these notifications, but some apps may collect and sell your location data to marketing firms, even if it’s unnecessary for their functionality. Fortunately, Android 11 onwards automatically resets permissions for unused apps. Nevertheless, it’s always beneficial to occasionally perform an audit of your app permissions.
To ensure apps only have access to necessary services, follow these steps:
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Permission Manager
- Review each section to confirm no apps have access to unnecessary services.
If you’re running Android 12 or later, you can also check the Privacy Dashboard:
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Privacy Dashboard
- Get an overview of recent app access.
#3 Enable VPN
One of the key privacy tips for Android is VPN. It offers something that a default smartphone can’t do. It’s wise to figure out how to set up a VPN on Android. The principle is quite simple: install VeePN for Android and connect to remote servers. Specifically, VeePN protects your data, hides IP and DNS addresses, encrypts the channel, prevents DDoS attacks, and fights phishing and viruses.
#4 Activate automatic updates
To ensure the security and privacy of your device, it is important to keep both the operating system and downloaded apps up to date. You can enable automatic updates for apps by following these steps: open the Google Play Store app, tap Menu, go to Settings, select Network preferences, and enable Auto-update apps. The operating system, on the other hand, updates automatically by default, so there is no need to worry about that.
#5 Check the security of your Google account
Google collects a significant amount of data about your activities, some of which you may be uncomfortable with the company storing. While it’s nearly impossible to completely stop Google’s data collection on devices running an Android operating system, you can have some control over what is collected and how long it’s stored. These settings are tied to your Google account.
- To manage your privacy settings, you can use Google’s Privacy Checkup feature or access each setting directly from your phone. Open Settings > Privacy > Activity controls to make the necessary changes.
- Under the “Web and app activity” setting, Google collects various data, including Maps data, Search history, and Assistant usage. Enabling this setting allows Google to use factors like search history and location to provide you with specific results or ads. If you prefer to limit data retention, you can ask Google to delete the data every few months. Additionally, you can delete audio recordings if you use Google Assistant.
- Google keeps a record of your location history using your phone. While this feature offers benefits like improved search results and event notifications on Google Calendar, most people can disable location history with little impact on using Google Maps or related apps.
- For YouTube, your search and watch history is tracked. If you’re uncomfortable with this, you can pause the tracking. Other YouTube data, such as comments and survey answers, can be found on the “Other Google activity” page.
- In the Google Photos settings, you don’t have many privacy options, but you can enable the “Remove geolocation in items shared by link” option to remove location information from your photos.
- If you prefer not to see personalized ads on Google’s services, you can disable them in the ad settings.
- On the “Other Google activity” page, you’ll find a collection of almost all the data you’ve provided across Google’s platforms. Consider deleting or reviewing items such as Place answers, news preferences, and product survey responses.
#6 Safe Browsing
The Android safe browsing feature alerts users when attempting to access a potentially harmful website or download a suspicious app.
To enable Safe Browsing:
- Navigate to “Settings.”
- Select “Privacy.”
- Activate the checkbox beside “Safe Browsing.”
Additionally, be selective while choosing an internet browser for your Android device. This does not replace the need for a VPN. It is wise to use at least free VeePN for your Android device. Opt for privacy-oriented ones like DuckDuckGo that support private searches and browsing.
#7 Lock screen controls
To ensure device security, a passcode must be entered to gain access by enabling a lock screen. Having a lock screen provides greater security compared to not having one. Follow these steps to turn on or change your lock screen:
- Access Settings.
- Click on Lock Screen.
- Enter your current passcode if activated.
- Modify your Screen lock type.
#8 Block access to the camera or mic
On Android, you can easily control access to your camera and microphone on a per-app basis. However, sometimes you may prefer to have a clearer indication of when these functions are being used or to temporarily limit access overall. One way to achieve this is by accessing the Quick Settings menu and blocking the camera and microphone. This method proves handy especially when you wish to avoid navigating through various software options or simply require peace of mind during call interruptions.
Android offers a number of tools that focus on device security. However, most of us ignore them or do not use them to their full potential. This article offers a solution and instructions to make your Android device more resilient in the face of cyber attacks.
EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be considered an editorial endorsement