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How to Make Your Phone More Secure

Your smartphone goes with you everywhere. It also provides a window into your personal life, your banking, your correspondence, your bills, your health, and so much more. Depending, of course, on what apps you have installed. Isn’t it a good idea to make something like that as secure as possible? Here’s how you do it.

Screen Lock

PIN, pattern lock, password lock, thumbprint, eye scanner lock . . . modern devices have plenty of ways to remain secure, but they only work when users, well, use them. In fact, most people don’t lock their smartphones. That’s about as secure as leaving your car door unlocked or setting your debit card’s PIN to 1234. Don’t be one of these people.

Install Updates Immediately

Whether you’re using an Android device, iPhone, or something else, don’t wait to update. Updates frequently include updated security measures, bug fixes, and important patches that your phone needs right away. And we aren’t just talking about your phone’s OS. It’s a good idea to keep your apps updated too.

Practice Password Discipline

Say, for example, you bank using an app on your phone. Don’t remain logged in at all times. Set it up such that you have to type in your password each time. Even if someone manages to break into your phone, you don’t want to make it easy for them to break into everything else too. Also, if you use an Android device, consider installing AppLock, which lets you lock individual apps.

Manage Your App Permissions

Do your apps have access to your location? Your phone’s microphone? Cellular data? Obviously, some apps need these permissions, but others don’t. Think carefully about what permissions you want each app to have an act accordingly. Here’s a comprehensive guide to managing permissions for iPhone, and here’s one for Android.

Use Kid/Guest Modes

All Android, Windows, or iOS devices support either kid mode or guest mode. Granted, guest mode isn’t the most common thing to use, but kid mode is very handy when you’d like to keep the kiddo entertained but don’t want said kiddo to mess up your stuff. True story: we once heard of an enterprising toddler who got bored of Cut the Rope and managed to order a dish set from Amazon. Whoops!

Plan for Disaster

If the worst happens and you lose your phone, your only hope is either a good Samaritan or a little thought beforehand. If you use an Android device, set up Android Device Manager. It can track, reset, or remotely erase data from your device. iOS users have the same thing, but it’s called Find My iPhone. If you don’t have an app like this set up, do it now.

The Bottom Line

Keeping your smartphone secure is a matter of committing to a few smart choices and setting everything up properly in the first place. A few extra minutes each day can help you avoid the days or weeks of frustration caused by a lost or hacked phone.