21 important security settings that every Android user should know about
As our lives move ever more online, it’s important to keep our personal data and information safe and secure. With more and more of us using our smartphones as our primary way of accessing the internet, it’s vital that we have a good understanding of how to keep our Android devices secure.
In this article, we’ll run through 21 of the most important security settings that every Android user should know about. By the end of this article, you’ll have a much better understanding of how to keep your Android device secure.
1. Keep your software up to date
One of the most important things you can do to keep your Android device secure is to make sure that you keep your software up to date. Google releases regular security updates for Android, and it’s important to install these updates as soon as they’re available. Not only do these updates patch security vulnerabilities, but they also often include new features and improvements.
To check if there are any updates available for your device, go to Settings > About phone > System updates.
2. Use a secure lock screen
The lock screen is one of the first lines of defense against someone gaining access to your device, so it’s important to make sure that it’s as secure as possible.
The standard pattern unlock is relatively insecure, so it’s worth considering switching to a more secure option like a PIN or password. To change your lock screen security, go to Settings > Security > Screen lock.
3. Use two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is an additional layer of security that can be used to protect your accounts. With two-factor authentication enabled, you’ll need to enter a code (usually sent to your phone via text message) in addition to your username and password when logging in.
Two-factor authentication is supported by many popular online services, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter. To enable two-factor authentication for a service, you’ll need to find the security settings for that service and look for an option to enable two-factor authentication.
4. Use a secure WiFi connection
When you’re using public WiFi, it’s important to make sure that the connection is secure. An unsecure WiFi connection can allow someone else on the same network to snoop on your traffic and steal sensitive data.
To check if a WiFi connection is secure, look for a lock icon next to the name of the network. When connecting to a secure WiFi network, you may also be prompted to enter a password.
5. Use a VPN
A VPN (virtual private network) encrypts all of the traffic between your device and the VPN server, making it much harder for someone to snoop on your traffic. This is especially important when using public WiFi.
There are many different VPN services available, and you can usually install them as an app from the Google Play Store.
6. Don’t install apps from unknown sources
One of the biggest risks to your Android device is installing apps from unknown sources. These apps may not have been vetted by Google and could contain malicious code that could steal your data or infect your device with malware.
To avoid this, only install apps from the Google Play Store. To do this, go to Settings > Security > Unknown sources and make sure that the option is disabled.
7. Keep an eye on app permissions
When you install an app from the Google Play Store, you’ll be asked to grant it various permissions. These permissions allow the app to access different parts of your device and data.
It’s important to be mindful of the permissions that you’re granting to apps. Some permissions, like access to your contacts or location, could potentially be abused by malicious apps. If you’re not comfortable with an app having a certain permission, don’t install the app.
8. Use a malware scanner
Despite the best efforts of Google and app developers, there are still malicious apps that make it into the Google Play Store from time to time. These apps can steal your data or infect your device with malware.
To protect yourself from these malicious apps, it’s a good idea to install a security app that includes a malware scanner. These apps are designed to scan your device for malware and remove any that is found.
9. Encrypt your device
Encrypting your device adds an additional layer of security by scrambling your data so that it can only be decrypted with a passphrase. This makes it much harder for someone to gain access to your data if they manage to steal your device.
To encrypt your device, go to Settings > Security > Encrypt device. You’ll be prompted to set a passphrase, so make sure to choose something that you’ll remember.
10. Use a security app
There are many different security apps available for Android, and they can offer a range of features like malware scanning, password management, and more.
Security apps can be a great way to add an extra layer of security to your device, so it’s worth considering installing one.
11. Use a password manager
A password manager is a great way to keep your passwords secure and easy to access. With a password manager, you only need to remember one master password to access all of your other passwords.
There are many different password managers available, and you can usually find them as apps in the Google Play Store.
12. Set up remote access
If your device is lost or stolen, you can use remote access to track its location, lock it, or erase its data. Most modern Android devices come with built-in support for remote access, but you may need to install an app to use this feature.
To set up remote access, go to Settings > Security > Remote access. From here, you can set up a PIN or password to protect your device from unauthorized access.
13. Use a lock screen widget
Lock screen widgets can be a great way to quickly access important information without having to unlock your device. However, they can also be a security risk as they can potentially give someone else access to your data.
To add a lock screen widget, go to Settings > Security > Screen lock and select the option to add a widget. From here, you can choose which widget you want to add.
14. Use a biometric lock
A biometric lock uses your fingerprint or iris to unlock your device. This is a much more secure option than a traditional PIN or password, as it’s much harder for someone to spoof your fingerprint or iris.
To set up a biometric lock, go to Settings > Security > Screen lock and select the option to use a fingerprint or iris scanner.
15. Use a lock screen message
A lock screen message is a great way to quickly give someone important information if your device is lost or stolen. For example, you could include your contact information or a message asking the person to return your device.
To set up a lock screen message, go to Settings > Security > Screen lock and select the option to add a message. From here, you can enter the message that you want to display.
16. Use a screen timeout
A screen timeout is the amount of time that your screen will stay on before it turns off automatically. The longer the screen timeout, the greater the risk of someone being able to access your device if it’s left unattended.
To change your screen timeout, go to Settings > Display > Sleep. From here, you can choose how long you want your screen to stay on before it turns off.
17. Use a secure home screen
Your home screen is where you keep all of your app shortcuts and widgets, so it’s important to make sure that it’s as secure as possible.
One way to do this is to use a lock screen widget for a security app like LastPass or 1Password. This way, you can quickly access your password manager without having to unlock your device.
Another option is to use a biometric lock for your home screen. This way, only you will be able to access your home screen and apps.
18. Use a secure keyboard
The keyboard is one of the most important parts of your device, so it’s important to make sure that it’s as secure as possible.
One way to do this is to use a biometric lock for your keyboard. This way, only you will be able to access your keyboard and enter your passwords.
Another option is to use a secure keyboard like SwiftKey. This keyboard includes features like SwiftKey Flow, which allows you to type without ever having to show your password on the screen.
19. Use a secure browser
When you’re using your Android device to browse the web, it’s important to make sure that you’re using a secure browser.
One option is to use a secure browser like Firefox Focus. This browser includes features like ad blocking and tracking protection, which make it more secure than other browsers.
Another option is to use a VPN service like ExpressVPN. This service encrypts your traffic and routes it through a secure server, making it more difficult for someone to snoop on your activity.
20. Use a secure email app
Email is one of the most popular ways to communicate, so it’s important to make sure that you’re using a secure email app.
One option is to use a secure email app like ProtonMail. This app uses end-to-end encryption, which means that your emails can only be read by the intended recipient.
Another option is to use an email service that supports two-factor authentication. This adds an additional layer of security, as it requires a code (usually sent to your phone via text message) in addition to your password when logging in.
21. Use a secure messaging app
If you’re looking for a more secure way to communicate, you should consider using a secure messaging app.
One option is to use an app like Signal. This app uses end-to-end encryption, which means that your messages can only be read by the intended recipient.
Another option is to use an app like WhatsApp. This app also uses end-to-end encryption, and it also supports two-factor authentication.
By following the tips in this article, you can help to keep your Android device secure.