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Android and iPhone security settings
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Security & privacy

Smartphone warning: Check these settings NOW on your iPhone or Android

Criminals can hack almost any device connected to the internet. Given the massive amounts of photos, videos and personal information stored on your smartphone, they are significant targets for cybercriminals.

That’s why you need to take preventative steps to protect them as best you can. Tap or click here for three steps to protect your phone from hackers.

Now that you have a few ways to beef up cybersecurity let’s not stop there. Keep reading for Android and iPhone settings to check ASAP to give your device a fighting chance against security threats.

Google Play Protect for Android

While official app stores are more secure than third-party options, they are not infallible. Bad apps do slip through the vetting process of the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store from time to time.

One of the best ways to ensure you don’t download malicious apps is to utilize Google Play Protect. It is enabled by default, but only if you have a Play Protect certified device. Here’s how to check your device:

  • Open the Google Play Store app.
  • At the top right, tap the profile icon.
  • Tap Settings.
  • Under About, check if your device is Play Protect certified.

Google explains that the setting “runs a safety check on apps from the Google Play Store before you download them” and checks for potentially harmful apps from other sources, which could contain malware.

When Google finds a harmful app on your phone, it warns you and gives you the option to remove it or deactivate functionality. Of course, you can turn the setting off, but that isn’t a wise move.

If Google Play Protect somehow got turned off, here’s how to turn it back on:

  • Open the Google Play Store app.
  • At the top right, tap the profile icon.
  • Tap Play Protect > Settings.
  • Turn Scan apps with Play Protect on.

Mail privacy protection for Apple iPhone

Apple focuses less on preventing malicious apps from reaching your phone and more on protecting your data. One way it does that is through Mail Privacy Protection, which “protects your privacy by preventing email senders from learning information about your mail activity.”

Apple says, “When you turn it on, it hides your IP address so senders can’t link it to your other online activity or determine your location. It also prevents senders from seeing if you’ve opened the email they sent you.”

Here’s how to enable Privacy Protection on your iPhone:

  • Open Settings.
  • Scroll down and select Mail.
  • Tap Privacy Protection.
  • Slide the toggle next to Protect Mail Activity to the right to enable the setting.
iOS Mail Privacy Protect setting

NOTE: If you subscribe to iCloud+, you can also use Apple’s Hide My Email to generate a random email address for replies.

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