10 Android Settings That Will Strengthen the Security of Your Device
We are all avid Android users here at Pod Creative and love the functionality, customizable options, and ease of use that Android phones bring to the table. One of the largest positives we feel Androids bring to the table is the ability to use the entire Google Suite of products on your smartphone, including the ability to use a domain related email in Gmail.
Does a perfect Android device exist? Of course, no! Like other mobile operating systems, Android has many flaws that make it a favorite target of many cyberattacks. Although Google constantly rolls out security patches to improve security, there are still zero-day attacks that arise at random. So, how do you protect your Android device?
Device security and you
Actually, there are many things that you can do. The simplest probably involves tweaking some of your device’s settings. Here, we have listed down some changes you can apply on your device to boost your device’s security.
1. Google Play Protect
By default, this setting is enabled, meaning it should be up and running the moment you activate your device. Unless you have intentionally disabled it for some reason, it is still worth double-checking.
Google Play Protect is a native security system that continuously scans your device for any suspicious and misbehaving apps. It also sends out warnings if it detects anything suspicious.
You can check if Google Play Protect is enabled on your device by going to your system settings and tapping into Security. Tap Google Play Protect and check if all options are activated.
2. Emergency Contact Information
Sometimes, it’s easier to retrieve a missing device with the help of a human. Give others a chance to help you in case of an emergency by adding them as an emergency contact. You can reach out to them with just a few quick taps on your screen.
To add an emergency contact, go to Settings > Users & Accounts, and scroll down to the Emergency Information section. If you don’t find it, go to the System section of your phone. And then, select About Phone > Emergency Information. Once you find this section, follow the on-screen prompts to add an emergency contact.
3. Smart Lock
Smart Lock is another useful setting if you only use it. Though it is designed to be a bit annoying, this feature is designed to counteract any forceful attempts. When you are in a trusted place like your house, it allows you to automatically unlock your device.
To enable this feature, go to Settings > Security > Screen Lock. From there, explore your possibilities.
4. Find My Device
Do you always misplace your smartphone around the house? Have you tried losing your device out in the wild? Don’t worry. By enabling the Find My Device feature, you can find your device, no matter the distance.
Like Google Play Protect, this feature is enabled by default. But just to be sure, go to Settings > Security > Find My Device. Check if this feature is turned on.
If you ever feel the need to locate your phone, open your browser and visit android.com/find. And then, do a quick Google search. Into the search field, input find my device. As long as you still have access to your Google account, you should be able to find your phone’s location and manage it remotely.
5. Two-Factor Authentication
Well, this isn’t really a dedicated Android feature, but it is definitely worth using to strengthen your device’s security.
If you are not familiar with this feature yet, then try it now. Go to Settings and select Google Account. Scroll down to the Security section and tap 2-Step Verification. Follow the instructions on your screen to set up Two-Factor Authentication.
This feature may add another step into your usual sign-in process, but this minor inconvenience is definitely worth trading for protection.
When downloading and installing new apps or content make sure it is from a reputable source!
6. App Permissions
News about app security breaches is a powerful reminder of how important security is for your smart device. Facebook, for instance, once had the ability to log and track messages and calls because users granted the app access to them. And take note, it is not only Facebook that you may have granted this kind of permission.
There is good news, though. Android has made it easier to check system permissions and check what information your apps have access to.
7. Screen Pinning
Yes, you probably haven’t heard of this before, but it is actually Android’s most practical security feature. It was introduced in 2014 and has been rarely talked about since.
Screen pinning allows you to lock an app. It will require fingerprint authentication or password before an app can be accessed. This gives you full control over your device, especially if a friend tries to access something that he/she shouldn’t.
To enable this feature, go to Settings and navigate to Screen Pinning. Switch on the feature and toggle the Ask for Unlock Pattern Before Unpinning Option.
8. Safe Browsing
Chrome is Android’s default browser. And as long as you use it to browse the web, you can rest easy knowing that you will be warned whenever you try to access an unsecured website or download anything malicious.
As with other security features of Android, Safe Browsing is enabled by default. But you can always check if it is working by opening Chrome and going to the Privacy section. Check if the Safe Browsing option is checked.
9. Lock Screen
Your Android device may frequently show notifications on your screen even if it is locked. This means any Facebook notification or message you receive might be visible to people who look at your device.
Now, if you constantly receive sensitive information or messages, step up your privacy and security game by restricting the notification information shown on your lock screen. Go to Settings > Security > Lock Screen Preferences. Apply the necessary changes possible.
10. Lockdown Mode
For newer Android versions, there is a new security feature called lockdown mode. Once activated, it allows you to lock your phone using all sorts of security options – PIN, password, fingerprint, or security patterns.
The concept behind this feature is that if a user is caught in a situation where he/she is forced to unlock his/her device with his/her fingerprint, this mode can be activated. Once on lockdown mode, your data cannot be accessed with your permission. Notifications won’t even appear on your lock screen.
Assuming you have got your security settings up and in order, make sure you keep yourself updated with the latest news about Android phone security. You can visit websites like Software Tested to ensure you never get left behind about the newest features and apps for your device.
Oh, and one more thing, make it a habit to clean up your files and folders and install an anti-malware app to ensure no malicious entities infect your device.
As a Journalist by profession, Jessica Bullet has extensive experience in writing about various topics, including technology, gadgets, travel, social media, and digital marketing. If she’s not writing articles for Software Tested, she’s either watching her favorite TV series or playing video games.