The Secret Agent’s Guide to Protecting your Phone Privacy
TL:DR (Too Long: Didn’t Read) is EAVI’s series of simple guides to navigating the media landscape. The tips herein are intended to be a guide for users of these platforms who wish to exercise some power over their data and personal information and stay stealthy …like a secret agent!
Each selected social media platform contains four sets of instructions:
- Ads Settings – To prevent your accounts from being tracked
- Two-Factor Authentication – To prevent your accounts from being accessed by thieves or hackers
- Blocking – To block people, ads or report inappropriate posts
- Tips – A few extra tips to help tighten up your privacy
The phone section is contains settings for Ads, Screen Lock, Location Services and Encryption. Most of the settings are intended for Android users, as they make up around 85% of smartphone users, but there are some settings for iPhone users as well.
iPhone or iPad
- Go to your phone’s settings Settings
- Tap Privacy
- Select Advertising
- Turn on Limit Ad Tracking
- Go to Google Settings
- Tap Ads
- Tap Opt out of interest-based ads
- Hit OK
For more on online behavioural advertising in the EU see the website of the European Digital Advertising Alliance where you can opt out of certain ad settings.
- Go to your phone’s Settings
- Tap Security
- Select Screen Security
- Choose type of lock; we recommend Pin or Password over Pattern, as it is relatively easy for other people to see you enter a pattern
- Make you sure you choose something you can remember
- Go to your phone’s Settings
- Under Personal select Location
- Toggle the switch to OFF
- Open your phone’s Settings
- Select Privacy
- Choose Location Services
- Toggle switch to OFF
Encrypting your phone is one of the best ways to protect your data in the event that your phone is stolen and it is highly recommended by security experts.
NOTE: Newer Android’s are encrypted ‘out-of-the-box’ and cannot be unencrypted
Be aware that encrypting your phone can take about an hour so you should not attempt this without at least 80% charge on your battery. It should be plugged in throughout this process.
- Begin by going to your Android Settings and selecting Security
- Here you will see a list of options including Encrypt phone
- Selecting this option will give you a screen like the one on the right that informs you a little about the process. If you haven’t charged your phone enough your Android will let you know
- Be aware: Once you select Encrypt phone you cannot do anything to interrupt the process or your phone’s data might be lost
There are so many options for Facebook privacy settings that some of us adopt the stance of an ostrich where our privacy is concerned and plant our heads firmly in the sand. That said, a quick review of your privacy settings can yield some surprises and help you take back control.
- Click on the or at the top-right corner of an ad
- Choose Why am I seeing this?
- Tap Manage your ad preferences
- Choose which ones to remove
- Go to Facebook Settings
- Click Edit next to the setting Ads based on my use of websites and apps
Select Off for Show online interest-based ads.
On your computer you can block most ads from showing on Facebook (and other websites) using an open source ad blocker browser plugin such as uBlock. These plugins will not only block ads but also prevent third party trackers from tracking your behaviour online. For more on the arguments for and against ad blocking check our article here.
- Go to Account Settings
- Select Security Settings
- Select Login Approvals click Edit then Get Started
- Enter a name and click Add Browser
- Select Android, iPhone or iPod Touch
- Enter your Cellphone number
- Get verification code & enter it
- Click Close
To block someone
- Select the person’s profile
- Tap the menu icon (three vertical dots )
- Hit Block
- At the bottom of the pop up window choose Cancel or Block
To report a post
- Tap down arrow at the top-right of the post
- Scroll down and select Report post
- Choose a reason to report
Your public profile
There are more options to change your preferences on Facebook in your computer’s browser than there are on your phone. For example;
Ever wondered what your profile page looks like to a complete stranger? A neat trick that you can try is to have a look at how your profile looks to someone who isn’t friends with you.
- Go to your profile page
- In the bottom-right hand corner of your banner photo there is a button that says View Activity Log and next to it is a button with three horizontally-placed small dots
- Click it and select View As
- Select to view your profile as public
- Is there anything you see there that you don’t want strangers seeing?
There are 4 settings for making posts on Facebook
- Public – anyone can see it, including people who aren’t even on Facebook
- Friends – only people in your friends list can see it
- Only Me – only you can see it
- Custom – you can choose which people will be allowed to see it