Securing privacy on Android smartphones requires more than just clearing browser history. Here are the actions to take at least once a month
Nowadays, the priority of every user is to protect their data. Companies, hackers, and even government agencies are constantly trying to get hold of our information.
Some people think that using incognito browsing, deleting browser history, and avoiding posting sensitive information on social networks is enough to protect our privacy.
In fact, it's only the beginning. In order to secure all our data, there are a wide range of steps that we need to take on our Google OS phone. The first step is to check, and if necessary change, some settings on the Chrome web browser. It is the browser used by 85% of Android users. And to prevent malicious people from knowing too much about us we have to constantly delete its history. Here are the actions to take to erase all our traces on the Net if we use an Android smartphone.
History and security on Chrome
Unfortunately, erasing the history on the browser of Google's house is very easy. First we have to click on the menu, the icon with three vertical dots that we find in the top right corner of Chrome. At this point a list of sections will appear and we must select the item History. Then all we have to do is press "Clear Browsing Data" and we're done. We'll also be able to choose whether to remove everything or just the data from a certain period. Deleting the history, however, as mentioned, can't always be enough. In addition to deleting browsing data, in fact, we can also change some settings that allow us to increase privacy.
Deleting our searches is not only important on the web browser, but also on major social media, such as Facebook. Otherwise, a hacker who takes over our profile will quickly figure out which friends we talk to the most, but also what our main interests are. This is useful information that can be used against us to generate an online scam. Luckily, deleting Facebook searches from mobile is really easy. First, we open the social app. At the top, click on the bar for searches and then click on Edit. The app will take us to the Activity Log, where we'll see all our searches, and to delete everything we just have to click on Delete Search and then Confirm.
Play Store History
Another app where it's important not to leave too many traces is the Google Play Store, the section dedicated to buying and downloading applications on our Android smartphones. For a hacker, knowing this information means knowing our hobbies, our passions and probably also having the right material to trick us with a phishing attack or a scam. To delete the history we go to the Play Store, open the menu (it is marked by the three vertical lines) and then select Settings. After that we click on Clear Search History. Strangely enough, there's no notification that the process has been carried out, so to see if everything went well, all we have to do is go to the main page and check whether or not there are any traces of our previous searches.
Most Android users aren't aware of the fact that the phone saves all the notifications it receives. This can be useful for double-checking alarm clocks and events marked on the calendar, but it poses a privacy risk. The previews of saved notifications, in fact, can provide brief information about our WhatsApp messages, our SMS or received emails. But also a summary of received calls. To delete this data we have to download a third-party application. One of the best in this sense is Notification History. To get started, let's go to the Play Store and install it. Then launch the app and select Setting. Then click on Auto Purge and all notifications will be deleted from your smartphone.
It's faster to purge the call history instead. First we open the Phone section, it is impossible not to recognize it is the one identified by the handset. Then we select the menu, it is marked by the three vertical lines. Then we select the item Delete call log. The phone will ask us whether to select everything or to choose individually the conversations to delete. To confirm the operation in the popup menu we choose the option Delete. As we said, this is an easy action to perform but it is not always the same on all Android phones.
Yes, even the Google keyboard has a function to save a history. In fact, the Gboard does more than that, it's able to record a lot of data, from conversations to searches. And it also takes into account GIFs or emoji that we send. Delete this information, however, is very easy. First let's go to the settings of our smartphone. Then look for the Applications section and in it click on Gboard. On the page that opens, click on Memory and then on Delete Data. And that's it.
The Spotify history is not very valuable for hackers but it might be convenient to delete it frequently, maybe to avoid bad figures. If you've always portrayed yourself as a tough guy, a rocker, for example, it might be embarrassing to show your friends that you listen to cartoon theme songs or the latest pop hits on the music streaming app. To eliminate searches, just open Spotify and select Search. Scroll down and you'll find the words Delete recent searches. Just click it and you're done.
The same applies to a social network like Twitter as it does to Facebook. Not leaving too much personal information on the microblogging platform is crucial for privacy. To delete the search history on Twitter we have to launch the application and click on the Search box. Let's click on the bar for searches and we'll see the word Recent right below. Just click on the X button to delete the recently searched information.
It's true that SMS has gone out of fashion. We often go days, if not months, without using them. But keeping an eye on our texted information is always important for security. Luckily, deleting them is really simple. Just press on a conversation to open the multiple selection function. That way we'll be able to select all the SMSs or only those containing important information. Then just click on the garbage can icon to delete them forever.
Restore factory data
We're about to sell or give away the phone, we've deleted all the histories of the various apps. So we're ready to give the device away, right? No, wrong. A lot of our information may still be on the smartphone. To give the device away without the fear of any of our data coming to light we need to restore it to factory data. Doing so is simple, we go to the Settings of the Android smartphone, then select Advanced Settings and click on the Backup and Restore item. To complete the process we press on the heading Restore factory data.