We used to live on our computers, but now the world is going mobile. Our emails, photos, social media, bank accounts, businesses: everything is tied to our phones. All that sensitive data is just sitting there for anyone to peruse if the unthinkable happens. We lead busy lives and things are left on the restaurant table or check out counter. I have heard some crazy stories about bold thieves snatching Smart phones in broad daylight right in front of the phone’s owner. Android users can take many steps to protect themselves. iPhone platforms have protections too, but that’s for another article.

How to Lock your Screen

The very first step you can take is to enable the screen lock. You can choose to input a pattern, PIN, or password into your phone to unlock it. This won’t stop someone from removing your SIM card and accessing the data stored there, but it will make it harder for anyone to pick it up and use it.

To enable the lock screen:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Location & Security
  3. Scroll down until you see Security
  4. Tap Change Screen Lock and from there you will be prompted to choose a setting

Be sure not to use any common or simple codes for these locks. You never know who may be trying to access your data and what they may already know about you. I prefer the pattern option because it’s trickier than just plugging in numbers.

How to Encrypt your SIM card

Keeping the files on your SIM card safe requires an app since Android doesn’t come with these precautions built in. Lock Files is one of the most recommended free apps out there.

After setting the password, you can browser your list of files using this app and choose which ones to lock with a PIN. Be sure to delete the original copy of the file after your have created the encrypted version. There are other apps to choose from that provide this same service, some free and some paid; so you may want to peruse the Android Market to see your options. Keep in mind that encrypting an entire folder may cause it to be inaccessible in other places on your phone; for example, locking the pictures folder will make it unreachable via the gallery.

Now that your Android data is safer, I recommend visiting these past blog posts for more information about your security:

For ongoing tips and tricks, become a fan of PC Co-Pilot’s Facebook Page and, while you’re there, sign up for our newsletter. Let us know how we can make your life easier by calling (706) 253-6362 or emailing jessica@pccopilots.com.