Tech tip: 3 steps to make your (or a family member’s) phone more secure

As for the technical questions, I have them all. More than ever, I hear people inundated with requests from older family members to fix their devices.

Maybe they clicked on the wrong link and their computer is acting up. Tap or click for eight signs that it is infected with malware or other malicious software.

The problem may be more mundane, such as text that is too small to read. A few taps in the settings menu will make their life much easier. Tap or click here to enlarge text on a phone, tablet or computer.

Gifts are great, but here’s a gift that will last your loved one all year round: a phone privacy and security tune-up. Do it this holiday season.


1. Enable emergency and health settings

A smartphone can save your life if set up correctly. It is essential to put this in place in

In the event of a health event, emergency responders can access the iPhone Health app, even if the phone is locked. Add details like your or your loved one’s name, age, medical condition, allergies, and emergency contacts to give first responders more information.

How to Configure Emergency Settings on an iPhone

When you first open the Health app on an iPhone, you are prompted to enter some basic health information. You can always go back to update health details. Image from

Hang on to your phone number. (Stock)

After completing the Health Details section, it’s time to set up the Medical ID.

  • Open the iPhone Health app, then tap the profile picture.
  • Select Medical ID > Start or Edit. Enter any health information.
  • Tap Emergency Contact and add someone you trust.
  • Tap Done.

One more step: Allow emergency services to access Medical ID even when the phone screen is locked. Here’s what to do:

  • Open the Health app and tap on the profile picture.
  • Tap Medical ID > Edit.
  • In the Emergency Access section, slide the toggles next to Show when locked and Share during an emergency call to the right to enable.

Now first responders will be able to see important medical information.


How to Configure Emergency Settings on an Android

If you or your loved one has an Android phone, follow these steps. Note that the steps vary depending on the phone you are using.

  • Go to Settings > Security & emergency.
  • Select Medical Information to enter details such as name, blood type, allergies, and medications.
  • At the bottom of the screen, enable this setting: To help you in an emergency, people can view this information without unlocking your device.

Finally, configure emergency contacts. Just go to Safety & Emergency Settings > Emergency Contacts > Add Contact.

Here are a few more ways to share medical information on your Android in an emergency.

2. Make sure there is always a backup in place

London, United Kingdom - July 30, 2018: Telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Messages and other apps buttons on an iPhone screen.

London, United Kingdom – July 30, 2018: Telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Messages and other apps buttons on an iPhone screen.

A stolen or broken phone means you or your loved one could lose everything in an instant. This is why automated backups are so important.

I heard of a woman who lost text messages with her husband after he died. She was heartbroken. Tap or click for easy ways to save texts.

To enable iCloud data backup on an iPhone:

  • Go to Settings > [name] iCloud > iCloud Drive.
  • Turn on Sync this iPhone.

You get 5GB of free storage with iCloud. If you need more space, you’ll pay 99 cents for 50GB, $2.99 ​​for 200GB, and $9.99 for 2TB.

To set an Android to back up automatically, follow these steps:

  • Open the Google One app.
  • Tap Storage and scroll down to Backup.
  • Tap View > Configure Data Backup > Manage Backup.

You get 15 GB of free cloud storage with your Google account. If you need more storage, a basic Google One plan costs $1.99 per month and includes 100GB of storage. A Standard plan costs $2.99 ​​per month for 200GB, and a Premium plan costs $9.99 and comes with 2TB of storage.

From there, you can choose your backup settings.

More technological intelligence: you can send an SMS from your computer. Tap or click here for five ways to text from your PC.

3. Silence unknown callers

I hear people who want to help their parents or grandparents who are victims of phone scams. Scammers are smarter than ever, and once they have someone on the phone, it’s easier than expected to trick that person into handing over personal information or money.

This tip will save your loved one the headache of dealing with spam. Note: If you disable unknown callers, they may miss a legitimate call. In my experience, a real person who needs to reach you will leave a voicemail.

To silence unknown callers on an iPhone:

  • Go to Settings > Phone > Mute unknown callers.
  • Slide the toggle next to Disable unknown callers.

Now the phone will no longer ring when an unknown number calls. It will be silenced, sent to voicemail, or shown in the Recents list. Incoming calls from familiar numbers will still ring as usual.

You can also hide unknown reminder texts. Here’s how:

  • Go to Settings > Messages.
  • Slide the toggle next to Filter unknown senders.

Here’s how to block calls from unknown callers on an Android phone:

  • First, tap the Phone icon at the bottom of the screen.
  • In the upper right corner, tap the three-dot menu.
  • Select Settings > Blocked numbers.
  • Slide the toggle next to Block calls from unidentified callers.
A burner phone can help you avoid calls from unknown numbers.

A burner phone can help you avoid calls from unknown numbers.

Arm the vulnerable people in your life with knowledge. Tap or click here to avoid the most popular tactics of scammers to trick seniors.

Keep your technological know-how

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today”. It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, click the link below for a recent episode.

CHOICE OF PODCAST: Best Cheap Freebies, Airline App Tips, Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card

In 30 minutes, you’ll learn 1: what apps to download before the holidays, 2: how to add your driver’s license to your phone wallet, and 3: how to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.


Get more tech know-how on The Kim Komando Show, airing on over 425 radio stations and available as a podcast. Sign up for Kim’s free 5-minute morning digest for the latest security breaches and tech news. Need help? Post your question for Kim here.

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