Regular security breaches, privacy and data leaks, and generally the entire debacle Facebook has gone through recently means you should really keep an eye on your privacy settings. Now, Androids themselves come with lots of proprietary components, some of which then connect and tie into ads and ad services. However, while it may seem intimidating, keeping your privacy on your Android is relatively simple. Some of the advice below is simply common sense, while other segments of advice require you to tinker with your phone’s settings.
Keep things locked
First things first – keep things locked and secure. Configure your lock screen properly, get a good password or a complex pattern lock. A nice little bonus is if you have a phone with a fingerprint sensor on it. Furthermore, turn off lock screen snippets, notifications, and messages. Someone can easily take a peek at your newest notification or text even though your phone is locked. We also advise you to be careful with any Smart Lock options you may have. These can cause trouble if you’re not diligent since they allow you to keep your phone automatically unlocked based on your location, or the devices you are using…
Take a look at Ad-Tracking
You should keep in mind that Google keeps Android freely available to, among other things, gather as much data about you as possible. This means checking out your habits, your information, all for the purpose of getting targeted ads.
Now, every Android phone can get rid of this feature, in pretty much a similar way. First, go to Settings, then to Google, then to Ads. There you should find the “Opt-out of Ads personalization” option. Simply toggle it off, and you’re good to go. While you will, of course, see ads anyway, they won’t be personalized.
Get a VPN
Another thing you can do is get the best Free VPN service you can find and run your traffic through it. A VPN allows you to route all your traffic through an encrypted, completely secure and private connection. You basically get masked and protected access to the Internet. Furthermore, Android does have system-level support for VPNs. They’re pretty easy to install, but you do have to follow the manufactures instructions to the letter.
Don’t forget about App permissions
App permissions are a fantastic feature that lets you block certain apps from accessing different segments of your phone. You have probably noticed that when you open an app for the first time, you will see it prompting you for certain permissions (i.e. access to your camera, microphone, location, etc.). You can deny them permission right there at the start, or you can do so later by accessing your app folder, going to every app, and blocking certain permissions. Just know that many apps simply won’t work if you block specific permissions.
Work on your browser and your search options
Next, you need to think about how you browse the internet. Namely, just shutting of ad tracking and permissions isn’t enough. Cookies collected by every browser are gonna follow you around everywhere you go, and you can be pretty certain that whatever you searched for can be found within your history and your Google account.
So, think about getting certain privacy-oriented browsers that actually don’t collect data. Things like DuckDuckGo, for example. You should also turn off any activity and history saving options for your current browser.
Finally, know that your Androids records your activity. No, we’re not just talking about your internet browsing history – we mean every single thing you do on your Android. It used for troubleshooting, and help you run your Android better. However, if you want to get rid of this tracking, you just need to access the settings.
First, go to Settings, then Google, Google count, and then Data and personalization. From here, you want to access Activity controls. There are several options here, like Device information, voice and audio activity, as well as web and app activity (among others). Turn of those that make you feel the most uncomfortable when tracked.
Preserving your privacy and security on your Androids is not that difficult. While you will most likely notice that regular default settings all point towards your phone recording your activity, you can easily change that up. First, a bit of common sense – keep a good password, keep your phone locked, and always keep an eye on it. Then, you should understand that your phone tracks your activity, your web browsing, and your data. Turn of your activity logging, take a look at ad-tracking, get a VPN if you have to, and tinker around the permissions within your app settings.