#The Secret Agent’s Guide to Protecting your Phone Privacy 2017-07-28T14:35:47+00:00

Project Description

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.

The following guide to protecting your phone is perhaps the most important one to follow. It is intended for Android users as Android phones are by far the most popular phones, however there are some settings included for iPhone users too








Ads Settings

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.


Screen Lock

  • 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


Location Services


  • 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.






Ads Settings

  • 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.

Two-Factor Authentication

  • 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

Instagram is a fun app but in some ways it is more fraught with privacy concerns than some of the other social media applications. For example, because many people’s Instagram posts are public and many of your followers might not be people you necessarily know, posting images of your home and its contents – especially with the location settings on – could make yo