How To Protect Your Android Phone From Theft 🛡
Picture this: you’re having dinner at your favorite restaurant and you’re enjoying your evening with friends.
You want to check if you’ve received new messages and when you try to reach your phone, you notice that your device is not there.
Someone stole your phone! 😱
Now your whole evening is ruined (also losing your appetite).
Situations like this happen every day, and it can happen to anyone.
That why we compiled a series of methods and tips to show you how to protect your Android phone from theft. 📱
For the past decade, we’ve lived through our smartphone, and they’ve become an important part of our daily lives. But, are you taking all the necessaries precautions to secure this personal device and the private information contained on it?
Studies show that thieves usually take the same steps or procedures to disable a stolen phone:
"To avoid being tracked, thieves take common actions seconds after stealing a phone, like immediately powering it down, putting it on airplane mode, or removing the SIM card." Lookout and IDG Research Survey of Americans Victims of Phone Theft (March 2014).
Removing the battery is also a common way to disable your phone but more and more devices are enclosed-case, with the battery locked in the back.
The burglar could also extract the SIM card but it would need the required tools on-site to be able to achieve this.
Losing your smartphone can be difficult and no one can prevent that a stranger touches your phone but we can definitely difficult the steps intruder take to disable your phone.
The most effective security solution are taken before any critical situation happens so you’ll have to to be prepared for an eventual phone theft.
Now we’ll show you a couple of extra tips to secure your Android device from theft.
We’ve separated these tips in two categories: Before and After theft; and we recommend you to follow these tips. Remember that nothing can prevent that somebody steals your phone since it doesn’t depend on you and please be careful, it’s not worth to endanger your life for a smartphone.
Before the theft
This might seem obvious, but enabling the home screen lock is the first barrier against theft.
Some studies show that more than 40% of mobile phone users don’t have a home screen lock.
Not having a home screen lock is the equivalent of having your front door unlocked. 🔐
There are many options to choose: Alphanumeric, numeric PIN, Pattern, Fingerprint, Retina Scanner, among other biometric methods.
Set your preferred password for the home screen but try to skip a simple 4-PIN Code.
Instead set a password with a minimum of 8-12 characters or 7-8 connecting dots in a Pattern mode.
Try to use passwords with different characters. For example if you like Harry Potter, never use the name or phrases just like they appear. Instead, replace all characthers with similar symbols to appear something like this h4R|2y-p0Ot3R.
You should use phrases as passwords whenever you can, replacing spaces with bars or zeros.
If your device supports it, use the Fingerprint or other biometric scanner to make more convenient for you.
Also, another thing you need to do is to save your device information on another place, specially the IMEI number and device model.
SECURITY TIP: Your IMEI number will be necessary in case of filling a police report in the event of losing your phone. This information will allow the Police to track, locate and retrieve your phone. You could send it to your email with the title: “my phone IMEI" so you can access it anywhere.
After setting a password for your home screen, you’ll need to install and enable Find My Phone on your device.📍
Find My Phone is an app developed by Google for Android devices that allows you to locate your phone using a web browser.
Setting this app before your phone is stolen or lost is essential if you want to locate your device after a theft.
When you notice that your smartphone is missing, quickly search for another device to login to your Gmail account in using a web browser and locate your phone. 💻
There are many option but we recommend using Google’s version of Find My Phone.
You also need to install lockIO, which will allow you to request a password to power off or restart your phone. 🔒
By securing the power switch, you’ll be able to block and interfere with the first thing burglars do after stealing a phone: turn it off.
If you can, we advise you to get lockIO’s premium features, like SIM Card Extraction Alarm or Location of the Power Off Attempt. 📍
At least once a month, make a habit of backing up your media files, messages or any other important file that you want to preserve.
You could use Google Drive or any other similar cloud storage service to store your files in the cloud (remember to lock access to cloud storage apps with a password, use lockIO or your favorite applock).
SECURITY TIP: Lock your email app (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc.) with a password to prevent unauthorized access to your inbox. These apps contain lots of personal information about you and any data leak could injury you.
After the theft
If your phone is gone, you better start moving quickly in hopes to retrieve it.
The two most common issues related to phone robberies are identity theft and fraudulent charges. 💀
So make sure that you change the password of your email and shopping apps and all other credentials that you have on your device.
After you renew the control over your credentials, try to locate your phone using Find My Phone. 📍
Using this app, you could locate your phone and remotely erase all your personal information if you wanted.
This is particularly useful if you keep regular backups of your personal data since you'll be able to transfer them to your new device.
If your phone was disconnected and all other anti-theft apps are not working, you’ll have to fill a police report. 👮🏻♀️
We strongly suggest that you fill a police report in cases of phone theft or loss, they can make a great difference in retrieving your phone.
Just remember that when you’re filling a report it is not the same to report it as stolen as it is lost since in one case you’re "supposing" that a person took it.
In the case of lost items, police will try to find it but not searching for an individual since your not accusing anyone specifically.
Don’t forget to inform all the companies that somehow might be related to your phone about this loss. 🏦
Your phone company, banks, brokers and/or credit card institutions should be informed in case someone attempts to make any charges using one of these methods.
The truth is that once your device is gone, is very difficult to retrieve it.
That’s why is very important to prevent and interfere with your phone theft. 🛡