Some native functions of Android and iPhone (iOS) phones and services offered by apps can be annoying and also affect users’ privacy. Advertising tracking by some companies, for example, saves activities across platforms in order to deliver personalized ads. Also, software can have access to your location, even if they don’t need it to work. For these and other reasons, making adjustments and limiting permissions can be essential precautions. Here are six settings to give your phone more security and privacy.
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Settings can be adjusted on cell phones for more protection and privacy — Photo: Lucas Mendes/TechTudo
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Six settings you need to change on mobile
1. Hide lock screen notifications
Having notifications available on the lock screen can help you quickly check and access new app activity. Mobile phones offer this functionality by default, so you can check app alerts without having to unlock your smartphone. However, despite its practicality, the feature can leave personal data vulnerable, since anyone with physical access to the cell phone will be able to read the messages received or discover information contained in it.
To maintain privacy, it is possible to hide notifications from the lockscreen. To make this adjustment on Android, go to “Settings” > “Lock screen” > “Notifications” > and disable the selection by tapping “Disabled”. On the iPhone, it is possible to hide the content of the alerts in “Settings” > “Notifications” > “Previews” > “Never”.
If you prefer, you can also completely disable notifications for an app on Apple’s mobile. To do this, go to the “Notifications” tab, search for the desired app and select it. Then tap on “Lock screen”.
Get more protection by turning off lock screen notifications — Photo: Reproduction/Flávia Fernandes
2. Disable ad tracking
It is a fact that companies like Google and Meta keep relevant information about their users, such as age and gender, so that advertisers can provide targeted advertising to their profiles. Google’s tracking services, for example, may store activities such as search history, interaction with ads, opening links, etc. All these actions serve to customize the type of advertisement to be displayed for each person.
In this sense, it is possible to make adjustments to reduce the amount of customized ads. On Google, log into your account at (https://myaccount.google.com/) and select the “Data and Privacy” option. then go to “Your activities and places you’ve been” > “Ad settings” > “Ad customization”. Disable the option under “Ad selection is on”.
As of iOS 14.5 or later, you can choose – as soon as an app is installed – whether or not it can track your activities for advertising purposes. To manage tracking permissions on already downloaded apps, go to “Settings” > “Privacy” > “Tracking”. In this area, you can select the apps you want to disable tracking.
Google and other companies track your activities to offer personalized ads — Photo: Reproduction/Flávia Fernandes
3. Disable access to your precise location
Some apps may ask for access to your location to offer certain features, as in the case of GPS’s and transportation platforms. However, other apps may request permission only to obtain market data about users. Therefore, if you prefer to keep this information hidden, you can disable the location service on your cell phone. It is worth mentioning, however, that some applications, such as Facebook, continue to have access to the approximate location of the user even if the permission is disabled.
To disable the function on Android, go to “Settings” > “Location” and disable the activation key. You can also only allow access to the approximate location. That is, the app will only be able to see the region you are in, but not the exact location – which may be enough, depending on the application. This feature can also be enabled on the “Location” tab, by pressing the desired application and deactivating the “Use exact location” selection.
To disable location permissions for all apps on iPhone, go to “Settings” > “Privacy” > “Location Services”. Then disable the function. To enable only the approximate location, still in the “Location services” tab, tap on the desired app and disable the “Precise location” option.
Limit the location only to the region in apps — Photo: Reproduction/Flávia Fernandes
4. Put password on WhatsApp
Putting a password on WhatsApp can provide more protection to the app and prevent unauthorized people from seeing your information and conversations. When activating the code feature, it will be requested every time you access the messenger, which will give your smartphone an extra layer of security and privacy.
To do this on Android, download the Norton App Lock app. With it open, tap “Configure”, select Norton in the list of apps and check the option “Enabled”. Then draw the unlock pattern or enter a numeric code. Then press “Choose your Google account” and select the email you use to redeem the code in case you lose it. Open Norton home screen and choose WhatsApp from the list of apps. Then the password will have been added to the application.
On the iPhone, you can enter the face or touch lock. To activate the feature, go to “Settings” in WhatsApp. then press “Account” > “Privacy” > “Screen lock” and enable the option “Request Face ID/Touch ID”.
iPhone allows you to enter password by FaceID in WhatsApp — Photo: Reproduction/Rodrigo Fernandes
5. Automatically delete your app activity
When using Google apps such as Maps or YouTube, activities such as search history or frequented locations are stored on the platform. This information is used to save data that can be used in the future or to optimize recommendations for videos and services, for example.
You can delete this data if you are looking for more security and privacy. To do this, go to (https://myactivity.google.com/) and tap on “Web & App Activities”. Then press “Disable”. To disable YouTube search and location history, go back to the home page and repeat the procedure by tapping “Disable”.
Limit the management of activities on Google for more protection — Photo: Reproduction/Flávia Fernandes
6. Limit apps running in the background
Some apps may continue to “run” even when they are closed. In some cases, platforms may be in the background to download new updates and/or send notifications and alerts. In this way, they can consume more device battery and cause bugs.
It is possible to prevent this from happening, but for that, it is necessary to access the mobile’s Developer Mode. To do this on Android, go to “Settings” > “About Phone”. Then scroll down until you find the “Version number” option. Tap the item repeatedly until the message “You are now a developer” appears. Return to the previous screen, which will be called “System”, and tap on “Developer Options”. Look for the “Applications” tab and press “Limit Background Processes”. Select the “No background processes” option. That’s it, this will limit the amount of apps that run in the background.
Access developer mode to prevent apps from running in the background — Photo: Reproduction/Flávia Fernandes
See too: 7 functions your cell phone has and you don’t know!
7 functions your cell phone has and you don’t know!