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10 Key Tips to Keep Your Personal Files Safe on Your Smartphone

Key tips for phone security

Smartphone devices are quite valuable because people use them to access and share personal information. But even though a passcode can be used to protect mobile information, users may feel this still isn’t enough to keep data from getting into the wrong hands.

Fortunately, there are easy to remember tips and advice available that smartphone users can take advantage of that will offer more protection for sensitive information such as emails and photos.

#1 Keep mobile software updated

Update your mobile device

Most mobile devices run on operating systems such as Android, iOS or Windows. Depending on your operating system, you will learn when updates are available. Keep in mind, Android tends to roll out their updates a little later than other operating systems but it is still worth the wait to get it.

Getting the latest updates for your mobile device is important. Operating systems like Android Kit Kat and Control Center of iOS7 will have additional features to offer more security. Plus, many updates will have fixes to loopholes to help your system run more efficiently along with improved security.

When the updates occur they may not repeat again if you miss it. For instance, Apple is working on an update for iOS 7.0.6 that will fix problems for phones on an unsecured network.

To ensure you get updates when they occur, set your device to receive them automatically.

#2 Make your lock screen secure

Phone's lockscreen

Many who use a mobile device may not use the feature. This is considered a basic form of security users may not be taking advantage of. You can go to your device settings to create a passcode or activate the security feature that will lock your device screen.

Сonsider using an alphanumeric passcode. Keep any boxes unchecked that mention the option of making your password visible.

#3 Use antivirus software

Phone antivirus

People may overlook this option, especially if they plan to have their phone a short period of time and want to switch phones later. But a basic antivirus option could help reduce the risk of anything happening to sensitive information on your device.

Desktop computers are not the only forms of technology vulnerable to viruses. The iPhone offers good protection against viruses since Apple has strict regulations for apps added to their App Store, but there is still risk factor to be concerned about.

Android users may be at higher risk of getting a virus or having information stolen from their devices since Google may not check all apps for malicious activity.

#4 Avoid jailbreaking, rooting, and apps from untrusted sources

iPhone jailbreaking

Downloading apps not found on Google Play or the App Store is asking for trouble.

Rooting (Android) and jailbreaking (iPhone) can be dangerous to your device’s operating system when you have no clue what you are doing. These actions lead to manipulating the OS and potentially breaking the code that makes your phone word.

#5 Add more security with lock apps

Lock apps for Android

Having another layer of security will help protect apps on your device by using another code. A vault app makes personal info stay safely stored on an SC card. This kind of app allows you to wipe data clean if a certain number of login actions was unsuccessful.

Another example is the fingerprint scanner available for Samsung Galaxy S5 users. This feature keeps certain details hidden on your phone and can be unlocked only by your fingerprint.

#6 Change modes on your phone

Kids mode on Samsung Galaxy

Changing your device to child or guest mode can reduce the risk of someone accidentally gaining access to sensitive information on your device if you lay it down where others are present. A friend or child may pick up your phone and accidentally make a call or send info they shouldn’t have if they were playing with it.

Android and Windows phones will have this feature. Users of the iPhone can find a similar app in the App Store. Prior to changing the mode on your device, make sure you know how to change it back since some users easily forget their passcode or PIN.

#7 Use location settings

How to track a phone

Most devices have location settings that track where the phone is located. Keep this feature enabled. It can help you track your device if it gets lost or stolen.

Find my iPhone app available for Apple users is a prime example. Android users also have similar options via Play except it is not an app.

#8 Invest in a wearable device

Apple Watch

Using a wearable device such as the Sony SmartWatch 2 or the Galaxy Gear 2 can let you know if you leave your device in another location. The watch makes a noise when it is out of range of the Bluetooth connection.

Smartwatches can help you track your phone. If your phone is within the range of your watch, you could make it ring to detect it. This is useful if you’ve dropped your phone close by or left it on a surface but can’t remember where.

#9 Use SIM lock feature

SIM lock feature

You can lock your SIM if you want to add more security to your device. A SIM lock (also known as SIM PIN or SIM Security) is useful for those with a service contract on their device. This feature will prompt users to input a PIN in order to send messages or make phone calls.

In the end, this can reduce the risk of racking up charges for texts and phone calls. This feature is found in your device’s security settings.

#10 Avoid keeping sensitive data on your device

Keeping phone secure

Encrypting your SD card may help, but it can be more helpful to avoid adding sensitive files to your device.

For some, having sensitive files on their device is helpful or necessary. You may use your device to keep track of important information or you may want to make changes to documents you are working on. There is nothing wrong with wanting to use your device in such a way.

Was this article helpful? Tell us in the comments below and check out 7 mandatory practices recommended for your computer and learn how to wipe out all personal data off your phone.