Android and privacy haven’t always been natural companions. Google still derives the bulk of its profits from its data-driven advertising business, which relies heavily on user information, much of which comes directly from Android users. These days, Google is giving its users more authority over how and when the search giant taps into data associated with Android by embedding a number of security and privacy features into the software.
Lots of basics you already know. Setting a strong PIN – or better yet, an alphanumeric password – to lock your device is a good start and will ensure you keep your device up to date with the latest security patches. Plus, protecting your Google Account with two-factor authentication can save you from even the most well-endowed hackers. Additionally, a number of Android’s built-in security features are enabled by default, such as Verified Boot, a feature that ensures device firmware has not been tampered with by malware, and Google Play Protect, the built-in Android application. scanner, which protects against malicious applications such as spyware and stalkerware.
Here’s what else you need to consider. (Some settings may vary depending on your version of Android.)
How to protect your digital privacy on Android
1. Uninstall unused apps
You are unlikely to use all the apps installed on your Android device. Not only can uninstalling your unused apps help free up storage space on your device, but it can also significantly improve the security of your device, as these apps, although unused, can still run backwards -plan, collect and then share your personal data. .
Fortunately, getting rid of these so-called zombie apps is quite simple. Just head to the Google Play Storefaucet Menuand select My apps and games. From here, you can select the apps you want to get rid of and remove them from your device.
2. Check your Android app permissions
Once you’ve gotten rid of unused apps, you should also perform a privacy audit of the ones you use regularly to make sure they only have access to what they’re supposed to. To do this, go to Settingsso Privacy and Securityand then Authorization manager. Here you’ll see exactly what data each app can access – whether it’s location data or contacts – and you’ll have the option to limit. In the case of location data, later versions of Android allow you to limit its accuracy to allow you to still get nearby results but without revealing your precise location.
3. Hide sensitive notifications on your lock screen
By default, Android is set to display all your notification content on your lock screen. This means that if your device falls into the wrong hands, they could see sensitive information – from private messages to two-factor codes – without having to enter your device PIN or password.
Fortunately, you can choose to limit the amount of information displayed on your lock screen. In Settingshead toward Privacy and Security and press Lock screen notifications. While by default it will be set to Show all sensitive contentthere is the possibility to switch to Show sensitive content only when unlocked — which will filter your notifications and only display on the lock screen those deemed “non-sensitive” — or Do not show notifications at all.
4. Browse the web with more privacy
Google Chrome is the default browser on Android and Google Safe Browsing Mode is enabled by default. A feature called Enhanced Safe Browsing greatly increases your protection against dangerous downloads and malicious websites, but at the expense of collecting more data about your browsing activity, which some users may feel uncomfortable with. especially since Google already has enough of our data.
You can enable it through Chrome three dot menu at the top right of the browser, then open Settings and head to Privacy and Security and Safe browsing. From here, you can enable enhanced navigation.
There is another option: switch to an entirely different browser. There are several privacy-focused browsers available in Google Play that offer more protection than Google’s default offering, from Brave to Firefox. You can also tune your search engines to DuckDuckGo, a popular privacy-friendly search engine that doesn’t log search queries, and the Tor mobile browser, which anonymizes your browsing history and helps users bypass the censorship.
Before leaving, remember to:
- Make sure Find My Device is set up: Just like iOS, Android comes with a built-in feature called Find My Device (formerly Android Device Manager) which allows you to track your device if it is lost or stolen. It also comes with a “Lock and Erase” feature that prevents anyone from accessing your device data by allowing you to remotely lock your device and erase its data.
- Disabling Ads: Ads follow you all over the internet. If it’s not the websites that are tracking you, it’s the apps themselves. One of the best ways to prevent this kind of targeted tracking is to turn off ad personalization, which uses data collected from your phone to show you ads that may be of interest to you. You can do this by going to Settingsthen head to Googleso Ads to turn it off. You must also press the Reset Advertising ID as this will unlink your device from your advertising profile.