How to Keep your Privacy Safe on your Android Phone

Imagine your phone got stolen, would you be at peace knowing all your private information is secured or would it be all nervousness and worry till you get to the bank so you can get all your accounts blocked?

Not to even mention those private pictures and videos you wouldn’t want random people to see?

hide the pain

Hey guys, welcome to Shu’s Techs.

Losing your phone can be a pain but the thought of knowing all your private information could be in the wrong hands is something you shouldn’t have to go through.

Today, I’m going to tell you how to keep your Android device secured.

When You Lose Your Phone

Before we get into any details, I just want you to know that losing your phone should be something you kind of prepare for (not saying you’ll lose your phone).

Most times, when phones get stolen, if they are very secured, thieves won’t bother wasting their time trying to unlock it, they usually just reset the phone so it looks new (this is usually done by flashing a ROM or resetting from recovery).

hacking android

Resetting deletes everything on the phone and that’s the good part. You lost your phone (yeah it feels bad), but your private stuff isn’t out in the open.

To be at peace if it happens, make sure you have applied what I’m about to teach you.

Set A Password

I’m sure you saw this coming. Every phone has this feature. Always make sure your phone is protected with a password.

android pattern screen

It could be a PIN, a pattern or a code. Whichever it is, make sure your phone has one.

It’s a good thing a lot of phones now come with a fingerprint unlocking feature. Since it’s “fun and easy” to use, everyone will want to have an experience of it.

But if your phone doesn’t have it, get it password protected with a PIN, pattern or code.

Creating a Password

When creating a password, use one that shouldn’t be too difficult to input. It could be a short code or an easy pattern or password. This is because you may have a lot of friends that love using your phone(s) and at some point, you may have to tell them what the password is.

It gets annoying when they keep popping up saying “I looked away for a second and the phone died, please put in your password again.”

Things like that happen. Yes, it’s silly but your close friends should know the password. It’s even good for emergencies.

Get A Security App

Now, you’ve gotten your phone password protected but you know you need to have some extra security since some of your friends know it.

Some phones have a way of securing apps you want to secure. The only problem is that on some phones, the password to access the apps will be the same with the password you use to unlock the phone.

That’s not very safe.

This is where an app comes in. A typical security app locks specified apps on your phone so they don’t get unauthorized access.

list of locked apps

It is very important to not use the same password as the phone’s unlocking password.

This time, the password should be difficult for anyone to guess. If you really have to, you may only tell people who you really trust, but it’s best you keep it to yourself.

With an app like this, you can lock your messages, contacts, banking apps, most used browsers, email apps etc.

I mean, imagine you lose your phone and maybe it was stolen by someone who knows the “first” password.

If they are able to access your banking apps, all they have to do is select “forgot password” and an email will be sent to your phone.

Note that your email apps or browsers are also not protected, so they access your email, change your password and transfer funds.

I know this may not be the whole scenario and it may be a longer process, but it’s possible and your email is an easy way to get you, since you don’t always have to log in whenever you want to read mails.

Recommended Security Apps

I would recommend two apps in this case (you can also recommend others in the comment section and I’ll try them out).

  1. Smart Applocksmart applock iconI used this one on my old phone, it worked great. Although I’m not using it anymore, I’m recommending it because some of you may still be using some old phones and that’s okay (KitKat and Lollipop are still very functional). Get this app, set it up and get your apps protected.
  2. AppLockapplock iconI recently started using this app. But I’m still going to recommend it, especially for people with recent phones. This app comes with really good features to suit updated phones.

Setting up both apps may or may not be too much of a problem, if there are requests, I’ll create a post on how to set them up on your phones, but for now, download one of them and just familiarize yourself and see how it helps.

Remember to use a different password this time, but it should be a password you can remember.

Although, this is a way is good for some extra security, the apps that do the securing can be deactivated by starting the phone on “SAFE MODE“.

If your phone supports locking up the apps you specify, use that.

If it doesn’t, then use the apps I specified above and hopefully, your first password will not be bypassed.

Hide Pictures and Videos

We take pictures all the time and we make videos too. Sometimes, some of them are not what we’ll want people to see but we still want to keep.

android gallery

Pictures and videos shouldn’t necessarily been locked with a security app but sensitive ones should, and the only app I use for that is Gallery Vault.

Gallery Vault is an easy to use app that encrypts photos, videos, audios and certain files.

gallery vault icon

It doesn’t just hide said media files, it encrypts them, and it also has its password (which should be different from others). I know, “that’s a lot of passwords to remember”.

If you’re worried about forgetting the password, the Pro version allows you to use your fingerprint to unlock it. You just have to protect it with the previous method I suggested (sorry phones without fingerprint sensors).

I personally use the free version and I have a lot of pictures and videos on it (which are as you guessed, some important scanned documents and videos of aliens I encountered on so many research projects).

Download and get familiar with it as well, if there are requests, I’ll write a detailed way of using it.

Use Internal Memory not External

This is the part where my decisions are questioned but let’s talk about it a little.

So far, your phone is secured, some of your apps are protected like some hidden facility for nuclear weapons. Great! But are you good to go? No, not yet.

Sometimes, I feel like it’s a good thing some phones don’t come with a memory card slot.

sd card icon

This is because your SD card can be removed from your phone and used on another phone (or even a computer). I’m not sure there’s a way to ensure it doesn’t work on another phone (I should do some research on that or maybe someone here tell me?).

Get your phone, check your File Manager, ensure everything on your External Storage are things you wouldn’t mind being public.

Resetting a phone will keep the contents of the SD card but erase the Internal Storage, so make sure you don’t make the mistake of keeping sensitive information on your SD card.

Always move them to your internal storage.

My SD card contains my music, pictures and videos which I wouldn’t really bother about if there were disclosed.

I said it’s where my decisions are questioned because it’s hard to choose what to move to my internal storage space, but I get it done.

It’s up to you as well.

SIM Cards

If your phone gets stolen, it is advisable to immediately get you SIM Card(s) blocked.

sim cards

I recommend this for reasons such as :

  • Even if your phone is secured, SIM cards may be used on other phones to call (or text) relatives. This way, they may think you’re in danger and innocently give out certain sensitive information.
  • Certain codes usually get sent as SMS. In the wrong hands, a lot of harm can be done.

A lot of people have forgotten that you can set a PIN for your SIM cards. This way, putting the SIM on another phone will make it useless without the PIN.

Make sure you set a PIN and it shouldn’t be known by anyone.

There practically is no way to instantly deactivate your SIM card (at least from what I know). So the first thing to do if your phone ever gets stolen is to quickly get it deactivated by your service provider by visiting their office (hopefully it wouldn’t be on a “no work” day).

Delete Delete Delete

I don’t know about every country, but here, WhatsApp banking is a thing. I tried it once and I never did again. I’ll tell you why.

Well, I was able to set it up and use. It was great, but then a day later (not really sure, could have been a week later, anyway back to what I was saying), I opened it again and realized I forgot to delete the conversation.

I had my details sitting there like “here I am!”

I’m sure you know how that ended.

trash

All I’m saying is delete. Delete things you don’t need and wouldn’t want anyone to see, at least not unimportant eyes.

Another thing I’d really like people to know is that some of those images you’ve sent on WhatsApp (I know it seems like I’m just focusing on WhatsApp right now) are still on your phone and it’s best to check and delete the ones you don’t need.

Or better still, move them to your Gallery Vault.

To check them, go to your File Manager, select Internal Storage, select WhatsApp, select Media, select WhatsApp Images, select Sent and check to delete what you don’t need from there.

I’ve seen people with images from 2016, and they never knew.

You can do the same for videos as well.

Other Ways You Can Stay Secured

  • Do not log in to your social media accounts on public computers (or phones that are not yours) without logging out when you’re done. That’s how some people get hacked.
  • Don’t use one password for all your online platforms. If one gets stolen, the others will be as well.
  • Never give out sensitive information to unknown people.
  • Do not save passwords after successfully logging in, even on your own phone or computer.
  • Inform loved ones and relatives not to give out information about you (via texts) or send funds until they hear form you (either your voice or in person). If they have to, it shouldn’t be something they’d go crazy about if they find out they made a mistake.
  • If you want to give your phone away, or sell it, or exchange it for a new one, make sure you do a factory reset first.

Conclusion

There are so many ways you can be targeted with your phone. Using these methods is one of the ways you can limit being “hacked”.

So as long as you’re not some celebrity hackers are targeting, your stolen phone will probably just get formatted and your private data will be erased as well.

Please don’t abuse these methods because you want to be sneaky. If you start hiding things from certain people, they will notice and start hiding things from you as well.

If you can’t trust them with things like passwords, then at least give them an explanation why you can’t.

My aim is to keep you secured, not make you untrustworthy.


You may be called paranoid but if you know what you may lose, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind being called that.

Make sure you have people you can trust with your passwords, just in case.

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Stay safe, guys.

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