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Android security settings
© Lukman Azis |

Take a minute to adjust these important Android privacy settings

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Presented by ExpressVPN

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Security can be complicated with your smartphone, especially for Android users.

What are some of the best ways to keep your device (and yourself!) safe from nefarious actors, illegal surveillance, and malware?

Our sponsor, ExpressVPN, recently shared five easy ways to configure your Android device for a safer and more private experience. All of them should be on your list if they aren’t already.

Hide your Google location history

The first to-do on this list brings a few obvious benefits. Your location history could leave you vulnerable to stalkers in a worst-case scenario. Creepy? Yes, and Google has been tracking your location since you first started using Google Maps.

Unless you rely on your Google location history for one reason or another, you should disable it. Here’s how:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Privacy > Google location history.
  • Tap Turn off.
  • Scroll down and tap Pause.

After doing this, you’ll be asked if your old data should be flushed. Tap Delete old activity and hit Got it to seal the deal.

While ExpressVPN does note that you would need a VPN to hide your location entirely, your Google profile will be separated through this method.

Cleanse your permission manager

After years of using an Android device, apps tend to pile up. At one point, many needed permission to use the camera, microphone, or contacts.

You can keep access to your device exclusive by revoking permission for odds and ends you don’t use anymore. It’s an excellent solution for apps you rarely use but not every day.

Here’s how to turn off app permissions:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Privacy > Permission manager.
  • Tap on each permission.
  • For the apps you’ve set to Allowed all the time or Allowed only while in use, set it to Don’t allow.

When we looked at our own permissions manager, we didn’t recognize half of the junk we’d accumulated. Good riddance to bad rubbish, at least for now.

Turn off usage and diagnostics

Usage and diagnostics are Big Tech’s clever ways of exploiting your data, supposedly for a better future experience for yourself and others. Everything from the apps you use to the lifespan of your battery daily is taken into account.

Constantly broadcasting all of this highly personal information through the airwaves is dangerous. Opting out, thankfully, is easy if you prefer to keep your activity under wraps.

Here’s how to turn off Usage and diagnostics:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Privacy > Usage & diagnostics.
  • Toggle the switch off.

Private information like your contact info will be much less likely to fall into the wrong hands.

Disable your Android personalization services

Android personalization works just like Google ads. Your data is collected, your preferences and needs are identified, and you’re presented with curated content and offerings at every possible intersection.

Unless you like to see recommended apps machine-selected just for you, switching this feature off is another recommendation from ExpressVPN. Here’s how:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Privacy > Android personalization service.
  • Toggle the switch off.

Turn off ad personalization

Finally, the big one. To stop contributing to your Google Play advertising ID, you should turn off ad personalization. Here’s how:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Privacy > Ads.
  • Toggle Opt out of Ads Personalization on.

There’s only one toggle to contend with, and you’ll be asked to confirm that you would, in fact, like to part ways.

It’s a simple laundry list of privacy essentials, but even these five Android tips can save you a lot of trouble (or, at the very least, a minor amount of frustration later on).

For true privacy protection, you need to incorporate a trustworthy VPN. We recommend ExpressVPN.

Get the only VPN service that Kim uses on all your digital devices today: ExpressVPN. Get three months free when you sign up for one year at

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