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Gadgets

4 smartwatch security tips you need to know

Smartwatches take many of our smartphones’ useful features and put them in a more convenient and familiar location — our wrists.

Some smartwatches focus on fitness, while others are a small extension of our iPhones and Android phones. There are many to choose from, each with different functions and drawbacks. Tap or click here for our top five smartwatch picks.

As with any device, you must take care when it comes to security. A lot of personal information is stored in your smartwatch, and it can be used against you. But you can take steps to minimize risks and still get enjoyment out of the handy gadgets. Read on for some smart tips for your smartwatch.

1. What to do if you lose your smartwatch

First, make sure to keep your device locked with a passcode just in case. If you lose or misplace your smartwatch, you can remotely lock it or even erase it.

Apple Watch

  • Your Apple Watch has a passcode that only you should know. If you feel it’s been compromised, you can change it by going to Settings > Passcode > Change Passcode.
  • You can set your Apple Watch to erase its data after 10 consecutive unsuccessful attempts to unlock it. Go to Settings > Passcode and turn on Erase Data.
  • You don’t need to have your Apple Watch on you to wipe its memory. Go to Find my iPhone at iCloud.com and sign in with your Apple ID. Go to All Devices and select your Apple Watch. Click Erase Apple Watch and click Next until the job is done. Finally, click the X button next to your Apple Watch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

  • Set a security lock on your Samsung Galaxy Watch by going to Settings > Security > Lock and select between Pattern and PIN.
  • You can lock your Galaxy Watch remotely by opening the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone and going to the SETTINGS tab. Tap Find My Watch > SET SECURITY > Remote lock. Touch the slider and enter a 4-digit PIN and then tap DONE.
  • To remotely reset your watch, open the Galaxy Wearable app and tap the SETTINGS tab. Tap Find My Watch > SET SECURITY > Reset watch > RESET. Enter your Samsung account password and then tap CONFIRM.

Fitbit

  • In the Fitbit app, tap Today, then your profile picture, then your device image. Tap Device Lock and set a 4-digit PIN code.
  • Fitbit does not offer an option to erase your device remotely.

2. Keep your smartwatch updated

Your smartwatch manufacturer releases updates to combat the latest malicious activity from hackers and trackers. Downloading these updates is easy.

  • On Apple Watches, go to Settings > General > Software Update and tap Install if an update is available.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watches, press the Power key, and go to Settings > General > Update watch software.
  • You need your phone to update your Fitbit. With the Fitbit close by, open the Fitbit app and tap the Today tab, then your profile picture, then your device image. Tap the pink Update button, which will only show up if an update is available.

3. Limit data that apps have access to

A big benefit of smartwatches is fitness apps. They can track your steps, sleep patterns, diet and more. Tap or click here to see the best watches for seniors.

This data is good to keep you informed, but third parties can access it and use it against you. When using a fitness app or any third-party app, check the privacy settings on your smartwatch. You can usually select what will be shared with other parties.

4. Be careful when using your smartwatch to pay

Third-party payment apps make it easy to send money to people or pay for services. This is a nice feature but it carries risks. These apps collect data and sometimes share it with others. On top of that, even heavy hitters like PayPal, Venmo and Square are not immune to security breaches.

Here are some suggestions to stay protected:

  • Read the privacy policy when using a payment app. This can tell you what information is being collected and how it’s used.
  • Make sure your payment settings are set to private so no one can snoop on your financial transactions.
  • Enable notifications, so you’re immediately informed if any payment or changes are made on your account. If you didn’t initiate the transaction, you’d be able to address the situation quickly.
  • Monitor your bank accounts regularly and look for anything suspicious that may result from fraudulent activity on your account.

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