17 Apr

Getting to Know Your Smartphone’s Privacy and Security Settings

Nowadays, whenever you purchase a smartphone or other electronic device they will come preregistered with what are known as “default settings”. On one hand these default settings are good, they are settings that are recommended by the manufacturers and they should normally be fine for general usage of the device.

However, most of the time you may find that, at the very least, one or two of these default settings may conflict with what you deem as your own personal optimal settings.

Maybe you’re willing to be more lenient with your battery usage or maybe you like to be much more private with your information. Whatever the case may be and whatever type of device that you are using, there are bound to be options that you can change, deactivate, tweak, and alter for your personal benefit.

If this seems intimidating or you’re worried about damaging your device’s software, fear not, this guide will help you in getting to know your device’s settings.

While Windows devices, iOS devices, and Android devices all have somewhat differing settings, there are still some common settings among them that are objectively essential.

Set A Screen Locksmartphone spy security

While this may seem simple enough it is actually your first line of defense when safeguarding your privacy. While some individuals might think that having to constantly enter a PIN, whenever they want to use their phone, is too time consuming; it is actually a minor inconvenience.

A screen lock can hinder your friends from meddling in your messages or photos and it can also help to ensure that criminals can’t readily access your private information using phone spy apps such as mSpy or Flexispy. The general consensus among tech experts is that, compared to pattern lock screens, PINs are much more secure.

If you are using an iOS device, to set a PIN all you have to do is head to: Settings; Passcode. For Android devices, if you want to set a PIN you should head to: Settings; Security; Screen Lock. With Windows phones, if you are going to set a PIN you simply have to navigate to: Settings; Lock Screen. For virtually all devices, you can select what services (such as emergency calling) are available on the lock screen.

Opt Out of Ad Tracking

The internet has become an integral part of our day to day lives. Following this, it comes as no surprise that online ads, internet marketing, and social media ads are extremely integral to our online experience today. A lot of these ads are specifically targeted to you based on the data that is collected in regards to your online behavior and activities.

However, even though this might seem a tad too intrusive, there are certain ways that you can effectively limit the data that is collected in regards to your online activity.

If you are on an iOS device you can navigate to: Settings; Privacy; Advertising. Once there you can then activate the Limited Targeted Advertising option, this will considerably lessen the level of tracking.

On a Windows device you should navigate to Settings and look under the Advertising ID tab, here you can turn on or off targeted advertising.

In your Google Settings on Android devices, you can find options for your advertising preferences. Simply go to: Ads; Opt out of internet based ads. This lessens the overall quantity of data that Google collects about your online activities.

Find Your Phone

Once upon a time, in days gone by smartphone users would have to personally search for apps that would be able to track their phone if it inadvertently go lost or stolen.Thankfully, those days are gone and now virtually all devices have integrated methods of locating and tracking them. These options are not usually pre-activated, so it is up to you, the user, to activate them yourself.

Windows phone users simply have to navigate to: Settings; Find My Phone and then select the relevant options. With this you can ring your device, track the location of your device, or remotely erase your device. If you are on an iOS device you have to do a bit more – navigate to: Settings; iCloud; Find My iPod/iPhone/iPad. You can then either utilize the web interface or use another iOS device that has the “Find My iPhone App” installed.

Android devices are a similar situation as well – navigate to: Google Settings; Android Device Manager. Select the relevant options and from there you can either use the Android Device Manager app on another Android capable device or use the online Android Device Manager.

Don’t Save Password In Browsers

Many mobile browsers have an option that gives users the ability to store their passwords, i.e. Remember Password. While this is undoubtedly very convenient, it is also very risky as well. In the event the your phone is lost, stolen, or misplaced, someone could easily do a bit of searching and discover any or all of the websites that you stay logged into.

spy apps secure

This could be your Facebook account, your PayPal account, your eBay account or anything in between. Whenever these prompts appear, asking you if you want to “Remember your password”, you should probably press “No”.

If you have already granted permission for remembering passwords on certain websites, here is how you can go about clearing these records. Android users should first go to Chrome and slect the Menu bar (located in the top right hand corner).

From there you need to select Settings and a section marked “Save Passwords” should appear, you can view, manage, and delete passwords that you have set to be remembered and you can disable the “Remember Password” feature.

If you are using an iOS device, navigate to: Settings; Safari; Passwords & Autofill. From here you can manage your saved password and autofill information (which may include credit card information and social security numbers).

Windows phone users should navigate to: Settings; Applications; Internet Explorer; Advanced Settings. Select the “Don’t Remember” option and then navigate back out of the Advanced Settings and select the Delete History option.

Backup

While there are apps that can immensely help you with you backup efforts, the default OS for each of the three device types listed here have native settings that can help you as well. While they are of course not going to be able to provide all of your backup needs, they are worth of being a necessary part of your backup initiative.

For iOS users, all you have to do is navigate to: Settings; iCloud (make sure that the backup option at the bottom is selected). From there you can comprehensively decide exactly what you want to send to the iCloud to be backed up.

For Android users, you need to navigate to: Settings; Backup & Reset. You have a few options, you can back up your app data and even your Wi-Fi passwords. For Windows phone users, you simply have to navigate to: Settings; Backup. From here you can enable the Backup service and alter any of the various categories.

Android

Android gives users the freedom to install apps from third party locations (i.e. not Google Play Store). While this is extremely beneficial to you the users, it is also a security risk if not managed properly.

Whenever you are not downloading an app form “trusted” third party provider, you should always deactivate the option that allows for non-Google Play installations. Simply navigate to: Settings; Security; Unknown Sources and uncheck the relevant box. You can also verify apps that are already installed on your device.

Also, some apps may prompt you to give them administrator privileges. The only apps that should be given this status are system related apps such as the previously mentioned Android Device Manager. Before you give this status to any other app, you should first do some in depth research as to why this app would warrant these permissions.

iOS – Apple Operating System

Virtually all iOS apps will ask for permissions to perform a number of functions, this is mandatory. While you may want to just blindly click ok and not read what they are asking for, this is not recommended. These apps may be asking to share your location publicly, access your photos (private one or otherwise), or access your messaging history.

Not everyone will be comfortable with giving up their privacy that easily. If you head to: Settings; Privacy, you can then see all of the permission group and permissions that your have given to your apps, as well as you can alter them as you see fit. By going into Settings; Privacy; Location Services; System Services, you can view numerous options related to location sharing, location related ads, etc.

Windows

Windows phones come with a nifty built-in option called the “Kid’s Corner”. This gives you the ability to designate specific app that you children can use, while prohibiting them from using others (such as the shop or the web browser). Simply go to Settings and select Kid’s Corner to begin adding allowed apps (you will need to have a PIN enabled on your phone to utilize the Kid’s Corner feature effectively.
Conclusion

While all of these settings may seem tedious and tiresome, going through all of them is well worth the trouble. Do you have any questions about our guidelines? Did we miss any essential tips that you are aware of? Feel free to let us know about them!

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