Steps to Preserve Privacy on Your Android Devices

It’s the most popular mobile operating system in the world.  Android is a robust operating system that powers three-quarters of all mobile devices.

Here are some of the things you can do to increase privacy on your Android device.

Protect Your Phone

One of the biggest threats to your privacy is your phone itself.  If you’ve had it for any length of time, you’ve added a ton of personal data.  Contacts, social media, texts, emails, photos, credit cards, bank account info and more are all vulnerable if you lose your phone.

Make sure you use a locking screen and deploy a strong password.  Using the fingerprint sensor is OK, too.  Consider turning off the notifications that show on the screen even when the phone is locked if you want to make sure prying eyes don’t accidentally see something you don’t want them to see when your phone is sitting out somewhere.

Disable Ad Tracking

Google makes a lot of money by displaying targeted advertising based on who you are and your online activities.  You can opt-out of the practice of using this data to show you targeted ads by going to the Setting section on your phone.

Under Google, click on the Ads section and flip the switch from left to right on the “Opt out of Ads Personalization.”  According to Google, they will prevent apps for using your advertising ID to build profiles and show personalized ads.  You’ll still see ads, but they will be generic ones.

Manage Website Tracking

Turning off Google tracking won’t protect you when you go to non-Google sources online.  Website cookies and built-in tracking in Apps follow you as you go about your online business.  Some browsers will provide more security options, so you will want to check out the privacy options on your internet browser carefully.

Use A Virtual Private Network

Another option is a VPN or Virtual Private Network.  A VPN masks your identity when you go online.  Instead of showing your IP address, the only thing that will be visible will be the IP address of the VPN server you are using.  Most VPNs allow you to choose the server you are using.

Using a VPN creates a private tunnel between you and the VPN server.  Data is encrypted before it is transmitted on the public internet.  Even if someone were to somehow intercept your data, they would not be able to see it.

An Android VPN app will improve your privacy and security.  It can help you go online more freely and even unblock some streaming content.  Which Android VPN app is right for you?  Check out a side-by-side comparison of the best VPN apps.

Permissions And History

Under the main settings on your Android device, you can block individual applications from accessing certain features.  When you first installed an app, it may have asked you for permission to access your camera, microphone, location, etc.  You can change these setting at any time by toggling on or off access.

Android also keep an activity log of your online use, including websites, apps, and voice commands.  If you want to disable that, you can do so.  Go to Settings > Google > Google Account and look for Data and Personalization.  You can choose to turn off logging of Web & App Activity and other features.

Keep in mind that some apps may not function when certain settings are disabled.

Disable Location Tracking

If you are concerned about the privacy of where you are or where you go, you can also disable location tracking on individual apps.

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