Android Tablets and Phones

Security First!

1 in 10 people have lost their device or had it stolen

Simple Steps to Staying Safe

Replace paranoia with safe practices.

Since your devices have so much power, they also can introduce significant risks. In this lesson we'll learn:

  1. What real dangers we are exposed to.

  2. How to use the lock screen to stop others from using our device.

  3. Best practices to make sure we don't lose our own access.

Don't Let Them in the Door!

Your device is likely connected to sensitive personal and financial information. It is a gateway to your online data. So, if someone gets access, it's an easy step into your email, social media, and even your banking services!

If you take your device outside of your home, there's a probability of accidentally leaving it somewhere or even of having it stolen. Without proper protection, this can cause a lot of problems for you.

Thankfully, there are some handy features you can use for your protection.

Planning First

Your device has extremely effective locking and anti-theft features. This includes a lock screen that hides information from prying eyes and blocks unauthorized access.

In fact, these features are so effective that people sometimes get locked out of their own devices! This can be a frustrating and expensive problem that you want to avoid. Here are some tips:

  • Write down your password or access code before you update it. If you can, do it together with someone you trust.

  • Date your access information and store it in a safe place.

Lock it Down!

Any device you carry with you needs to be locked so others cannot access it. Use the Security > Screen Lock settings on your device to set up secure access. The idea is to make it easy for you to get into your device but impossible for others. If supported, add facial recognition, fingerprint id or smart lock options.

The access features are layered. This means that if your face or fingerprint aren't recognized, you'll be prompted for your underlying PIN or pattern instead. Spending the time to improve your access will save you hassle each time you use your device.

Time It Right

Although you can manually lock your device by pressing the Sleep/Wake button, it's critical to lock it automatically when not in use. In this way, you don't need to remember to keep it safe.

Check your Display > Screen Timeout settings to ensure this feature is on and the timing is appropriate. The device stays unlocked while in use. However, when idle, it will automatically lock when it reaches the specified time.

Set the time to be long enough for you to read a screen full of text to avoid it being too annoying. Setting it too long presents a greater security risk since an unlocked phone is vulnerable until it auto-locks. Two minutes tends to be a practical balance between adequate security and usability.

Security Updates

The most practical and important security responsibility you have is to keep your device up to date. The safety of your device depends on frequent security and performance updates.

Generally, these updates are installed automatically for your device's programs (Apps). System updates happen less frequently but require your cooperation to initiate the update while the phone is plugged in and charging. Pay attention to any notifications or messages that indicate needed action to apply an update.

Remote Security

If your phone is missing, use the Find My Device App on another Android device. Sign in to your account from the App screen. If you're using a friend's device, tap Sign in as guest and sign in with your Goolgle account ID and password to see your devices.

Alternatively, you can use google.com/android/find on any computer to find your device. If you believe your device is stolen, you also have the option to erase your device remotely.

Some devices have an anti-theft feature If this feature is activated, it will prevent others from erasing and reactivating your phone. It also prevents people from turning off remote security features. But, beware, it can also cause you problems if you decide to erase or reset your own phone!