Android and Privacy – These two words do not go hand in hand. Many users choose the iPhone (and iOS) from Apple just because of the data and the company’s privacy. However, the situation has improved in the past few years. Google has added several privacy settings to Android to protect user data over the past few years. Here are some of the best Android privacy settings that you should know about.
Noticeable: Some settings may vary depending on the Android version and device type. It is best to search for a specific setting if you cannot select it directly.
Protect your digital privacy on Android
1. Check Android App Permissions
A very useful Android setting, which is often overlooked, is the permission manager built into the operating system. Android allows you to see exactly what permissions installed apps have access to and what they’re using in the background. You should monitor these permissions and make sure that the apps only have access to the resources they need. To manage app permissions on your Android smartphone, follow these steps:
- Opens Settings and scroll down until you see a file Privacy List.
- In the Privacy Settings, select Permission manager.
- Here, you can manage the resources that each app can access.
Scroll through the list of permissions and see which app is accessing the resource and how often. If you discover something is incorrect, tap on the app and disable it from accessing that specific permission.
2. Browse the web with more privacy
- Turn on privacy settings on the default browser (Chrome): Google Chrome comes pre-installed as the default web browser on most Android smartphones. Google’s web browser has a built-in function called Enhanced Safe Browsing that protects users from dangerous downloads and malicious websites. However, Google says that it collects more data when Enhanced Safe Browsing is enabled, which makes many users hesitant to use this option. However, here’s how to enable Enhanced Safe Browsing on Google Chrome for Android:
- Opens Google Chrome and press three points in the upper right corner.
- Now, select Settings → Privacy and Security → Safe Browsing.
- Choose Enhanced Safe Browsing.
- Use a privacy-focused web browser: Google Chrome, although the default browser on most Android smartphones, is not the best privacy-focused web browser. Fortunately, a number of privacy-focused web browsers are available on the Google Play Store. Brave and Firefox are some of the browsers I like overall, but you can also switch to DuckDuckGo which offers Apple app tracking transparency as well.
3. Use a private DNS
The Domain Name System or DNS, for those unaware, is the Internet phonebook that allows your Android device to translate the names of readable websites (such as Google.com) to their IP address. Many services track DNS records, so it’s best to switch to a privacy-focused DNS, like Cloudflare, on your Android smartphone. Follow these steps to change the DNS on your Android device:
- Opens Settings Then head to network settings.
- Now, select private DNS Now select Private DNS provider hostname.
- In the text field that appears, enter your preferred DNS provider address. For example, if you want to switch to Cloudflare as your DNS provider, enter
http://1dot1dot1dot1.cloudflare-dns.com/in the text field.
4. Track microphone and camera access
With Android 12, Google added a feature to the operating system that notifies the user every time an app or service accesses sensitive resources, the camera, the location, and the device’s microphone. A green dot should appear in the top right corner of your device every time it is accessed. Although it is normal for apps like Google, Instagram, and Snapchat to access these resources when using them, if you detect any random app accessing these features in the background, you should immediately stop it from doing so (use the first trick to disable the app from using the resource) .
5. Use the approximate location setting
Another great privacy feature that Google has added to the Android operating system with Android 12 is the ability to give apps a rough location. This feature is useful in applications that do not need your exact location to work, such as the weather and time converter. Here’s how to enable this option:
- Opens Settings and headed to Privacy → Permissions Manager.
- Next, select location Now select the application.
- On the next screen, disable File Use the exact location switch.
6. Opt out of targeted ads
Google and other companies collect a lot of data when you use the app. This data is, in turn, used to display targeted ads. One way to prevent apps and websites from showing you targeted ads is to opt out of ad personalization. To disable ads personalization on Android, go to Settingsto specify The GoogleThen advertisements, and turn it off. While you are in this setting, you should also consider compressing a file Reset Ad ID A button to completely separate your Android smartphone from your Google Ads profile.
7. Uninstall unused apps
If you have been using your Android smartphone for a long time, you probably have a few apps on your smartphone that you don’t use on a regular basis. You should consider uninstalling these apps, because uninstalling unused apps will not only free up storage space on your Android device, but can also improve the security aspect of your device. Many apps are running in the background (without your knowledge). Such apps can collect and share your personal data, so it is best to get rid of them.
8. Use Google Play Protect
Another Android feature that not many people know about is Play Protect. Think of this feature as an antivirus for your smartphone that regularly scans for malicious and poorly functioning apps. It will warn you if it detects anything suspicious. Although the feature works automatically in the background, you should consider running manual scans every now and then. To manually run a Google Play Protect system scan, go to Settings from your Android smartphone. then select Security → Google Play Protect (Often referred to as Application security), then press Survey.
9. Hide sensitive notifications on the lock screen
Android displays all notifications on the lock screen by default. This means that if your phone accidentally falls into the wrong hands, it may be able to access some personal and sensitive information. In such cases, it is best to disable the appearance of notifications on the lock screen. To do this, head over to Settings → Privacy → Notifications on the lock screen. Now you can choose Show sensitive content only when unlocked – which will only show notifications that Android considers “insensitive” – or you can choose to hide all notifications by selecting Notifications are not shown at all.
10. Run a Google Security Check
Most of the time, your Android device is at risk due to your Google account settings. You can manage the security settings of your account directly on your Android device. go to Settings → Security then select Google Security Check. Here, you can find out if your account is at risk. For example, I forgot to check my recovery email for my primary Google account. Google notified me directly about this during the Google security check.
11. Make sure Find My Device is set up correctly
Like Apple, Google also offers a service, called Find My Device, that lets you track your Android device if it’s lost or stolen. You can also lock and erase your data from your device using the Lock & Wipe feature that Find My Device offers. Make sure Find My Device is turned on by going to Settings → Security → Find My Device.
12. Install the app
App Pinning is an underrated Android feature that Google introduced with Android Lollipop. It can come in handy in a number of situations, especially if you hand your phone over to kids (and strangers). Installing the app allows you to lock your phone with a single app. The user will only be able to use a specific application on your Android phone.
To use the app install, go to Settings → Security → Advanced Settings → Install the app. The next time you hand your phone over to someone else, go to the System Overview screen, long press the app icon, then select pin. Once this is selected, the user will not be able to use any other application on your phone. Notifications are also disabled in this mode. To uninstall an app, press and hold the Back and Overview button on your Android smartphone, then enter the lock screen password.
These are some of the Android settings you should look for. Taking small steps and changing these privacy settings are some of the small steps you can take to ensure the security and protection of your data. Do you know any Android privacy settings that we’ve missed? Leave a comment and let us know!