How to Use Android Privately

By SiliconIndia   |   Friday, 12 October 2018, 09:06 Hrs
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How to Use Android Privately

The Android operating system runs millions of smartphones in use around the world every day. It provides mobile connectivity through cellular and wireless networks, via web browsers, services, and apps, augmenting the voice and text functions inherent to mobile phones. However, like any Internet-enabled device, much of what users do across the network is not secure or private. This can present the opportunity for security breaches, personal information getting out, opening users up to hackers, and much more. Fortunately, there are steps users can take to use their Android device with a much greater degree of privacy and security.

Tip #1 – Use a VPN

One of the easiest steps you can take to secure your phone is to install and use a VPN app. These apps, from VPN providers, usually come with a subscription-based service. They allow users to access VPN servers, via an encrypted tunnel, so their data is secure and cannot be monitored. At the same time, the VPN servers obscure the true IP address of the user, passing along only the VPN server IP address to the destination system. They also allow users to bypass geographic-based restrictions on content, by connecting to servers in other countries or locations. Taken together, these elements provide powerful security, privacy, and anonymity online.

Many of the better VPN services and their apps also come with proactive security measures, to help protect you on public Wi-Fi even further, protect your true IP address and other information from leaking out (via Wi-Fi or cellular), and even sometimes offer tools to manage what apps or connections are made through Wi-Fi vs. which must use the more-secure cellular network. There are numerous VPN providers with apps that work on Android phones, reviews, and information for which you can find online at

Tip #2 – Keep Your Phone Locked With a Passcode

All modern mobile phones have a home or lock screen, which can be set to required to set a numeric passcode to be input prior to unlocking the phone. This is one of the most basic security measures you can take to ensure your private information on your phone stays private. Some more recent models also may offer fingerprint or face recognition authentication – so if your phone offers one or more of these options, you should make use of them. That way, even if your phone is lost or stolen, your information is effectively protected.

Tip #3 – Use Encrypted Messaging Apps for Sensitive Conversations

Encrypted messaging applications have grown in popularity in the last few years, and are perfect for ensuring your private conversations remain truly private. When used in combination with some of the other tips in this guide, you’ll have several layers of privacy and security. While they may be an extra effort for everyday conversations, for important, personal, financial, or health-related conversations, it’s best to take some extra precautions. Popular examples of encrypted messaging applications include WhatsApp and Telegram, among several others.

Tip #4 – Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks

Public Wi-Fi networks are a nice convenience, but should be avoided for true privacy and security. Connecting to a public Wi-Fi network makes it easier for others on the same network, as well as anyone with network administration credentials, to access information about you and your device. In some cases, they may be able to gain remote access to your phone and its contents. This doesn’t mean you can’t use public Wi-Fi in a pinch, but for true security and privacy, it’s best to stick to your cellular connection, or a secured, private Wi-Fi network, like a work network or personal network.

Tip #5 – Ensure Software is Up-to-Date

One way which bad actors tend to gain access to computerized devices is through flaws or bugs that have been identified in the operating system or program software, but not yet patched or fixed. Ensuring you install all updates to your operating system and programs on your Android device, once they are available, is crucial to maintaining your security and privacy. Companies usually disclose what they are fixing in a given patch, and bugs or vulnerabilities that have been identified often become public knowledge at that time. So, it’s very important to ensure that you install updates once available, and not leave them pending for days or weeks.

Tip #6 – Keep Your Phone Physically Secure

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning – one easy way to keep your Android device, activity history, and information private is to keep it physically secure. This means not randomly leaving your phone in places – keeping it on your person, in your pursue, pocket, or so forth. If you keep your personal Android phone with you at work, be sure to keep it in a cabinet or drawer that can be locked and secured when you’re not around. Don’t loan your phone to friends outside of your supervision, and don’t accidentally leave it on public transit, in a store, or other places where it may fall into someone else’s hands.

Tip #7 – Know How to Find or Deactivate Your Phone

If you do lose your phone, you can be in a world of trouble. But keeping your device private, even in these cases, can be managed. If you’ve observed some of the other tips on this list, then the phone should remain locked without the passcode, fingerprint, or facial ID. At the same time, most service providers offer a way to manage your phone account remotely, through a web browser, allowing you to lock or deactivate the phone, effectively turning it into a brick, if you lose track of it. Some also provide tracking services (provided the phone is on and connected to a network), so be sure to do some research and activate these features in advance.

Tip #8 – Use Good Password Habits

Last but certainly not least, keeping all your data private on your Android device can come down to using good password habits. All of the apps, your e-mail account, and related accounts should use different, difficult-to-guess passwords. You should avoid storing your password credentials on the phone. And, you should update and change your passwords often. Many users know this, but don’t practice it. Adopting good password habits can mean that even an unlocked, unsecured phone that is lost or stolen can mean that most of your personal information is still protected.

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