How to Keep Your Smartphone Safe

From candid snapshots to our favorite music, work emails and banking apps, our smartphones contain a large part of our daily lives. While smartphones have only been around for two decades, they have become irreplaceable tools for communication, creativity, and organization. As smartphones become increasingly advanced, many of them are also becoming pricier. Here are some ways to look after your smartphone and keep it safe.

Use With Caution

The first step to keeping your expensive smartphone safe is to ensure that you never leave it unattended in public places. You may think that it is safe to leave your phone charging in a café for a minute while you head to the bathroom, but a few seconds is all it takes for someone to pick up your phone. Busy areas are the prime spots for opportunistic theft, so if you are checking your phone regularly, make sure that you store it in a bag with a zipper or in an inside jacket pocket instead of somewhere that is prone to pickpocketing.

Some people also take pains to make their phones look less expensive than they are. While you may want to show off your high-end technological gadget, it can garner unwanted attention. If you are sporting the latest ear pods, thieves will most likely assume that you have a fancy phone to match. Dull phone casings and generic old earphones are some ways that people use to disguise the value of their phones.

Lock It Up

Despite how important our phones are, research has shown that 52 percent of people surprisingly do not use password protection on their mobiles. In addition, only 22 percent of people use anti-theft functions on their phones. The ramifications of this lax attitude to phone security are serious. If somebody steals your phone, they will have unrestricted access to your private data and could possibly use your device to make financial transactions or commit crimes.

There are so many easy ways to password lock your phone. Passcodes are the basic way to lock and unlock a phone. You can choose between the standard numeric code or a more complicated alphanumeric code. There are also pattern locks, which involve connecting dots to create a personalized pattern. For enhanced security, most phone models now implement fingerprint or facial recognition (although the latter will not work if you are wearing a facemask).

To protect your data more, devices often come with the option of erasing all the data on the phone if a set number of unlock attempts are unsuccessful. You can also set up a SIM card PIN so that whoever swipes your phone will not be able to use your SIM card with another phone and rack up hundreds of dollars in cellular service bills for you. These methods only take seconds to set up and can prevent someone from taking further advantage of you after they have taken your phone.

Track and Trace

If you have only misplaced your phone in the last few minutes, a Bluetooth key finder will help you to find it quickly. Bluetooth key finders can look like innocuous phone charms, and not all crooks will notice what they are. A special app installed on the smartphone of your friend or partner can ping the key finder and show you its location in the vicinity. However, Bluetooth key finders function in a limited range. If your phone has already left the immediate area, you may need another solution.

While you can report your stolen or missing phone to the police, chances are that they will not have the time to track it down for you. Mobile phone providers will generally also refrain from releasing phone location information without a warrant. Thankfully, you can install a free mobile phone tracking application to help you to locate a missing or stolen phone. Apple iOS devices have the Find My iPhone app, and Google Android devices have the Find My Device app.

Should you prefer to have more than just the real-time location of your device, there are sophisticated phone tracker apps with numerous additional features. Some of these apps have geofencing functions that trigger an alarm when the device leaves a designated area. Others allow you to trace social media and browser usage, as well as log calls and text messages remotely. There are even apps that can remotely activate the front camera so you can see who is operating your device.

While these applications can help you to recover your phone, pin-point the identity of the perpetrators, and prove their criminal actions, they have uses for normal times as well. For working parents, these tracking apps can be used to ensure that their younger children get to and from key locations such as school or sport practice. While parents may not use these functions daily, they can provide vital peace of mind.

From dulling down your phone to installing innovative applications to remotely control it, there are many ways to increase the protection of your device. Prevention is better than cure, but if your phone does get stolen, passcodes and security applications can help you to level the playing field and get your phone back.