3 Smartphone Settings You Should Activate

Smartphones are amazing pieces of technology. In just a few years, we’ve transitioned from the days of the rotary dial phone to a go-anywhere mini-computer held in the palms of our hands.

Our smartphones function as more than just communication devices, they’re also our photo albums, our televisions, even our wallets now. All of this has led to the understanding that our smartphones must be kept as secure as our very homes. After all, even the US Supreme Court has recognized that our phones contain as much information and personal content as our houses, if not more. But are you being as safe with your phone as you can? Or are you leaving the door wide open for a hacker to steal your content—and therefore, your identity—from your phone?

Fortunately, depending on the manufacturer, there are several privacy features that you can activate. While consumers should pay close attention to all of those features, here are three that can go a long way towards protecting you and your identity:

#1 – Location Settings

Your location settings tab is a really useful tool, depending on how you utilize it. These settings help you use the map feature of your smartphone, help you keep up with how far you’ve run while working out, and even tell you the showtimes for movies at your local Cineplex. Unfortunately, they can also tell a thief where your house is, tell a burglar when you aren’t at home, and even tell a kidnapper the GPS coordinates to your child’s school or favorite playground.

It’s important to find the instructions for your phone’s model and operating system, and then disable the location settings for apps that don’t need it. Your camera doesn’t need it, for example, since it will embed the GPS coordinates to where you took the photo (like your son’s school play) in the image file. With the more recent updates to phones, you should be able to turn this function on for some apps and off for others, meaning your map can still use it to give you directions but your Facebook app can’t.

#2 – Find My Phone

This is a very handy feature that didn’t originally come with most phones. After considering the numbers of smartphone users who downloaded third-party apps to locate their lost or stolen phones, most manufacturers began incorporating it into their devices. This feature lets you locate your phone if it’s lost or stolen, but only if you have it activated. If you didn’t turn on this feature, you can’t use it. With it activated, you simply log into your account from a different device or computer and it will show you a map of your phone’s current location.

While this is NOT an intended function of this application and therefore not considered foolproof, “find my phone” is also very handy for locating family members. It’s something to consider if you have children or teens who have a cell phone; with this feature activated, you can log into your account and find your child’s phone on an actual map. Remember, this is only the location of the phone, and is not going to help you if the child has been separated from his or her device.

#3 – Screen Lock

All of the privacy settings in the world won’t help you if you’ve overlooked one of the most important and most obvious ones: the screen lock. It’s astounding how many people opt not to lock their phones’ screens, presumably due to the annoyance of having to enter a digit-based code every time they want to use their devices. But a security code to open the phone and turn on the screen is crucial to keeping others out of your accounts and your content, especially if your phone has been lost or stolen.

By remembering to treat your smartphone as a key to practically everything about your life, you’ll be more likely to protect yourself and your identity from prying eyes.


ITRC Sponsors and Supporters 





Go to top


The TMI Weekly

Breaches here, identity theft there and invasions of privacy everywhere... Should you be worried and, if so, how can you protect yourself? Sign up now to receive The TMI Weekly and get the latest hot topics in identity theft, data breaches and privacy and helpful information on how to protect your information.