Quick. Name the most plagued mobile device platform on planet earth? Android, right? Funny thing. True story. What’s good for iPhone customers is good for Android device owners, too. Yes, Android might be a cesspool for malware, but there are ways to make whatever device you choose or have chosen for you to be more secure and less painful to own.
Here’s my iPhone list of tips and how they could apply to Android smartphone customers, too.
Security Updates – this is a problem for everyone who owns a modern device connected to the interwebs, but Apple wins the game here with a steady stream of updates and upgrades that keep about 90-percent of all iOS users running the latest. Android devices owners need to choose carefully because most devices never get a security update.
Lock It Up – yes, I know, you’re not expecting a Russian spy to hack your phone, but phones get lost and without a password, fingerprint scan, or facial recognition system built-in and turned on, whatever is on your phone becomes owned by someone else. Again, in general, iPhones work better than Android devices when it comes to the sweet spot that brings convenience and security together. Use Touch ID. Use a password.
Password Manager – Apple helps customers manage multiple passwords on all devices and keeps them in sync, but I recommend a third party password manager. Not only does such an app manage usernames, login IDs, and passwords, but it can hold additional information not capable of being stored in iOS or macOS Keychain.
VPN – it does not matter where your iPhone, iPad, or even your Mac connect to the public internet, you’re being tracked by IP address, location, websites, applications, and device– and the only way out of the tracking loop is to use a VPN and be careful which apps you use, when you use them, and on which device. Wherever possible, anonymize your online access.
Delete Apps – I have over 250 applications on my iPhone and a nearly similar number on my iPad Pro. I don’t need that many but I test different apps. The general rule of thumb is obvious. If you haven’t used the app in six months then you don’t really need it. Uninstall what you don’t use. Keep apps updated otherwise.
Connection Management – kinda sorta mostly related to using a VPN is the ability to dispense with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they’re not being used. Both are vector points for roaming hackers so if you don’t need Wi-Fi, turn it off. Ditto for Bluetooth. I’m now in the habit of using Airplane mode more frequently; while driving, working, exercising, etc. It took awhile to get into the habit of turning it off and back on, but it saves battery life.
Malware & Encryption – most of Apple’s customers have an advantage of not needing an anti-virus app, but malware exists and there are times when even an iOS App Store app should not be used, and email attachments should be considered suspect. As to encryption, use the password and you’re good to go, but as an added precaution I turn on the setting in Settings > Touch ID and Password which erases the device after 10 failed attempts. With iCloud backup turned on, restoring an iPhone or iPad is a mostly painless deal.
This isn’t the end all and be all list but it does the job for all but the most paranoid users, criminals, and terrorists.