8 Important Security Tips For Android Users

Follow these steps to keep your Android device safe

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Android security is often in the news. If you use an Android device, you may be concerned about the threats that have surfaced. It's essential that you keep your smartphone safe, but it need not be an expensive or complicated process. Here are a few simple steps you can take to protect your device without spending a lot (or even any) money.

The directions below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Only Install Trusted Apps

Google offers four security tips on its Safety First blog, one of which is to use Google Play to download apps. That's a smart tip though there are other secure alternatives, such as Amazon Underground, Samsung, and other hardware manufacturer app stores.

If you find an app you like in a third-party store, do your due diligence. Vet the app maker and check reviews before downloading.

Google Play Store on Android

Install A Security App

Download a security app to protect your smartphone or tablet from malware. Avira Antivirus Security is a good place to start. The free version contains antivirus capabilities and other useful features. Then, there are paid features and additional free apps, which act like modules for other features. The list of security apps also includes paid apps, such as Bitdefender ($15 per year), Kaspersky ($14.95 per year), and AVG ($11.99).

Avira Free Antivirus on Android

Root Your Device

This one is somewhat of a double-edged sword. Rooting lets you take control of your device, including installing robust security software and gaining early access to Android software updates, which often include security patches.

Android root with Magisk

Keeping your software up to date is a great way to avoid Android vulnerabilities. On the flip side, you now have apps with the ability to escalate their permissions. If you aren't careful, things can go wrong. Rooting is a great option, provided you understand the risks.

Lock Your Screen

Lock up your screen using a password, PIN, pattern, or fingerprint. While it can be annoying to keep unlocking your phone, it's a good practice to block would-be snoopers. You can also customize the lock screen to surface notifications and other information.

Android lock screen settings

Set Up Find My Device

Set up Google Find My Device. The tool lets you lock your phone remotely, track its location, and wipe away all data if you lose the device. It's easy and fast, and you won't regret it the next time you misplace your device.

Location tracking requires that you have location settings enabled, which will drain the battery faster.

Google Find My Device on Android

Check Your App Permissions

With Android Marshmallow and later, you can customize what apps have access to, and view and adjust those permissions in your settings. While you're at it, do some clean up: delete apps you never use and free up valuable space on your device.

Android app permissions

Encrypt The Device

Another Google tip is to encrypt your device's data (for example, files, images, and apps). You can check this in your settings, under Security. Google encrypts Pixel devices by default, but you'll have to turn it on with most other devices.

Android encryption settings

This process may take over an hour, and you'll need to plug in your device. It's best to start this process before turning in for the night. Encrypting your phone requires that you use a password or your fingerprint to unlock the device.

Don't Talk to Strangers

Be skeptical and don't click links sent to you from unknown numbers or email addresses. Instead, delete the content immediately. While some of these links are harmless; most are not.

Android sketchy text message

These tips will go a long way towards keeping your Android smartphone or tablet safe. In the meantime, stay up to date on security flaws and threats so that you can take the necessary security precautions.