An Android user looking for online privacy? The great thing about Android phones is that they always provided an extra set of freedom that Apple devices didn’t. For example, you could always install apps from unknown sources, not to mention that back a few years ago, you could even have Adobe Flash installed on most Android devices, which at the time was a great thing due to the need for Adobe Flash to use most websites that offered any type of video.
...But with extra freedom come extra privacy risks. And those we will solve today in this ultimate Android privacy guide.
Annoyed by your phone showing you ads about the thing you just thought about 5 minutes ago? Our phones collect so much data and more importantly connect the dots so well, that it may look like our phones are listening to us.
While this may not in itself be harmful and for some can be helpful as it shows relevant ads, there is a way to turn this kind of ad personalization off.
In the Settings of your Android phone, search for Data & Personalization. Select an account, and then you will be able to see what Google has access to on your account.
It will be things like your web & app activity, location history, and YouTube history. For privacy purposes, you probably don’t want to have most of these enabled.
Remember: Do this for every single Google account that’s connected to your phone. Otherwise, you aren’t getting full privacy.
Ever needed to install an app urgently and just accepted whatever access an app wanted to get it to work as fast as possible? You might be giving away privacy on your Android device.
Go to the Settings section of your phone and search for “app permissions.” While there, go through each app and check what exactly does each app access, and think about if it makes sense that an app needs to access that, or not.
Just like that you have helped make your Android privacy a little bit safer.
One of the great things about Android phones is that you can install things from pretty much anywhere. That means if Google decides that a certain app is not going to be in the Play Store, that you can still install it.
And that is great in countries where certain apps are not available because of censorship, or when certain apps are simply not approved in the Google Play Store.
...But installing from unknown sources comes with its risks.
Make sure to never install apps that are already in the Google Play Store, unless it is from a trusted 3rd party app store.
...If a paid app is free to download, not only is it illegal to download it in most countries, but it also might come at the price of privacy or security.
That’s because everything comes at a price, and if something is free, it often isn’t, and instead, you pay with privacy.
It’s not that hard to put a piece of code into an app that you want to download for free. In fact, it’s the easiest way to put someone in danger, as most people never think about it.
What is a VPN? It’s a Virtual Private Network. When you are connected to it, depending on which service you use, you can look like you are in a different place on the planet, while also encrypting all the data you are sending and receiving.
The biggest threat to most Android users when it comes to ultimate Android privacy is when they use public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi? It’s the Wi-Fi in the cafes, in the shopping malls, and even the Wi-Fi on the bus. Anything that you can access with ease, is public Wi-Fi.
...The issue with it is that public Wi-Fi often doesn’t offer any protection, and in fact, is quite easy to hack into, even for someone that isn’t a hacker.
What that means is that anyone using public Wi-Fi could be giving away passwords or card information to a hacker.
You solve that issue by using a VPN. In this case, PrivateVPN comes with 2048-bit Encryption with AES-256. That means that when you are connected to a VPN server, that the data that would otherwise be poorly secured, is now encrypted on such a level that it would take billions of years to crack with current computers. And perhaps that’s why public Wi-Fi is such a privacy issue. As without encryption, it makes what would otherwise be just about impossible for hackers, possible.
But that’s not the only way a VPN can offer you ultimate Android privacy.
Whenever you connect to a VPN service, your IP address is masked and changed. If you connect to a US server, your IP address will be in the US. If to Germany, it will be in Germany, and so on.
That means that your activities cannot be connected to you through your IP address, making you anonymous.
Why choose PrivateVPN? By many, it’s chosen as the best value service with the best customer support, but don’t take it from us. PrivateVPN has a 4.9-star review on TrustPilot, based on over 1,000 votes.
...So if you have any issues at all, regarding anything regarding VPN, you know who to contact.
By that, we mean things like your GPS or NFC. Things that you don’t always need to have on.
Tips like remove what an app can access helped remove a lot of problems, but certain apps need your location to work the way they are meant to, especially when it comes to navigation, so you probably didn’t turn these permissions off.
And that’s where turning things like your GPS off when not in use comes in as a privacy tip.
If it’s not on, it can’t be used.
Remove ad personalization. Remove what each app can access. Turn off certain things when not using them. Don’t install from unknown sources, and most importantly, protect yourself with a VPN.
Written by Michael Smolski.