Android devices are popular among users as they generally offer more flexibility than Apple’s iOS. Both users and manufacturers can tinker with Android and adjust things as they please. However, the freedoms that Android users enjoy come at a price as those devices are sometimes more vulnerable to attacks and privacy-related issues. Unlike Apple’s strictly guarded and closed iOS open source, Android’s relaxed code policy has allowed anyone to exploit potential loopholes. Android-run devices vastly outnumber Apple’s iOS, so it is safe to say that hackers and eavesdroppers of all sorts generally target Android users more often.
However, some ways allow Android users to improve both the privacy and security of their mobile devices, and we will mention most of the most important ones here.
Review your app’s permissions
Many of the apps installed on your phone may have permission to access parts of the devices that they do not need. For example, your Skype app may not necessarily need access to all your photos but will require access to your phone and camera. On the contrary, your Facebook app may only need access to your pictures but no access to your mic and camera if you do not use it to stream.
Delete advertising ID
You, or someone in your household, might have Googled something that may prompt advertisers to target you with uncomfortable ads. The last thing you want to see is divorce lawyers or lung cancer ads on your phone if you or your spouse have Googled something that may trigger such attention. Your Android device allows you to reset your advertising ID. All you have to do to get the ID reset is go to your settings, locate the Ads menu under Services, and hit the reset button.
Adjust location history
It generally should not be Google’s business where you go. However, by default, Google’s Android OS stores an immense amount of location history that you may want to clean from time to time. Google, nor anyone with access to your phone, should know the bar you went to last night or that you’ve visited a place that you should not have visited. Staying on top of your location history is a must if you don’t feel comfortable storing such information on your device.
Take care of physical privacy
Ensuring that your phone is locked with a secure PIN is a must. A password of some sort, or biometrics lock, must always be in place if you care about the physical privacy of your smartphone. Even if you do not care about privacy that much, you still may want to lock your phone as the last thing you want is for your baby daughter to suddenly be live streaming your home to all your 1000 friends on Facebook.
Restrict access to apps
Children love playing with their parents’ smartphones. If you still want to share your phone with your kids but do not want them to cause damage, you may want to consider getting help from third-party software that could prevent them from accessing specific apps. High-end antivirus software solutions offer the option to restrict access to your apps with a security PIN. So, your children or anyone else can still enjoy the phone’s main capabilities but would not be able to accidentally end up in an app that they are not supposed to.
Use antivirus software
Antivirus software solutions often come packed with layers of security against viruses, malware, ransomware, and spyware. Getting a layer of security sounds great and often comes with additional privacy perks that you can enjoy. If you’ve picked the right solution, you may also get anti-theft protection that snaps a picture of anyone who makes three unsuccessful attempts to unlock your phone. Such antivirus solutions also offer remote wipe in case the phone is stolen and is too far away to be retrieved.
Privacy on your android devices walks hand in hand with its protection. For example, if you leave your car’s door unlocked, you will be more likely to find something missing from it, rather than if it was locked and armed with an alarm. The same goes for your Android device. Adjusting the privacy settings on your Android device should be a priority if you genuinely care about how much you disclose to third parties. Your phone’s manufacturer and OS developer, and all the companies hiding behind all the apps installed on your devices, do not need to know that much about you.