How to protect privacy on Android

THEIn this short article we will see a set of tips that will help us protect our privacy on devices with the operating system Android.

1 Minimize data collection by Google.

In most devices with Android is not required to use a Google account, but not to do so, unfortunately leads us to have a final experience is not complete.

But we can always check what data Google collects on us and go to limit them via the page my activities of our profile.

2 Lock our device.

We use a PIN or even better an alphanumeric password to block our device.

3 We encrypt the device to protect the data saved inside.

In most new Android devices encryption should be activated by default, while devices with older versions will have to be activated manually.

We must remember, however, that to use encryption on our device we need to set a PIN or password.

4 Keep the device software up-to-date.

This is a valid advice for all devices, of any kind.

Keeping the software up-to-date is one of the most important things to do.

On mobile devices, updates are sent directly from the manufacturer and so at least for the part concerning the OS we have to rely on them, but we can still update the applications every time a new update is available.

Updates usually do not just add new features, but in most cases they go to close flaws or bugs that can compromise not only the privacy but also the security of our device.

5 Pay attention to app stores and third-party apps.

We must pay close attention to the apps we install and that may come from unsafe sources.

If we install an app from any site on the Internet there is the possibility that the app may have been modified to access data that normally should not have or could use our device for other purposes (eg a botnet).

This is why it is vitally important that the applications we install externally from the official App Store come from sources we can truly trust.

6 When we install an app, we check permissions first.

We need to pay close attention to the permissions that every application we are going to install requires and if not install it if it requires access to sensitive data.

Very often the apps we are going to install require access to more data than necessary, so that they can then use this data for other purposes.

7 Check the permissions of the installed apps.

We may have installed an application before or not having noticed the permissions required by an app.

For this reason it is good to take 5 minutes of time and go to recheck the permissions required by the applications we have already installed.

We remove apps that we do not use and consider using other similar apps, but that require a minimum number of permissions to be used.

8 We evaluate which apps we want to sync with the cloud.

We check and evaluate which apps sync with the cloud, and if this synchronization is not necessary, we disable it.

Do not synchronize apps that do not need with the cloud, in addition to the function of saving us data sent, resulting in economic savings, also allows you to limit the amount of information held by third parties.

Because, it is important to remember that. there is no cloud but it is simply someone else's computer.

And if we give our data to someone else, what we can do depends on him.

9 Hide private notifications.

To keep our level of privacy high we can prevent the notification text and if we also want the notifications themselves, to be shown in the lock screen.

It is possible to change this behavior directly from the settings of Android in its latest interactions, while if we use an older version, we can rely on a third-party lock screen that has this feature.

10 Check the default apps.

We check the default applications used by our device, and make sure we use applications we really trust in at least the most critical communication apps like email, SMS and browsers.

In the case, in the most recent versions of Android, we can change the default apps with those we trust most.

11 Do not share the location with the app.

We prevent individual apps from accessing our location.

Sometimes we are asked to have access to our location to give us a better service, but to the proper functioning of the app access to the location is not necessary, different case is if for example we use a road navigation app or maps, in this case the access to our position is necessary for the correct functioning of the app.

12 Do not share your location with Google.

We prevent Google's services from tracking our position, and we eliminate the history of our position.

13 Consider using a non-Google version of Android.

If our device is among those supported and if we have the right technical knowledge, we can consider using a version of Android developed by the community, such as LineageOS.

We must be careful when we decide to make this passage because without a minimum of technical knowledge we risk doing irreparable damage to our device.

14 Install another browser.

We seriously consider installing and using a browser other than Chrome.

In the Play Store there are many third-party browsers such as Firefox or the DuckDuckGo browser, to name just two, which are much more attentive to our privacy and that have a much clearer management of permissions.

15 Change the default search engine.

We try to use a search engine that does not trace our research.

There are some search engines that were born just for this purpose, like DuckDuckGo  or StartPage.

We have come to the end, following this brief guide we have already taken a big step forward in improving our privacy and protecting our data on our Android device.

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