Your cell phone holds some of your most sensitive personal information. Things like your passwords and account numbers, emails, text messages, photos, and videos. If your phone ends up in the wrong hands, someone could steal your identity, buy stuff with your money, or hack into your email or social media accounts. Here’s how to protect your phone.
Consumer Alert: Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks. If you have an older cell phone, you may not be able to call or text. The FCC has advice about what to do.
1. Lock Your Phone
Set your phone to lock when you’re not using it and create a PIN or passcode to unlock it. Use at least a 6-digit passcode. You also might be able to unlock your phone with your fingerprint, your retina, or your face.
- Apple Support: Use a passcode with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- Android Help: Set screen lock on an Android device
2. Update Your Software
Updates to your operating system often include critical patches and protections against security threats. Set your phone to update automatically. Otherwise, keep an eye out for updates, and don’t delay in running them. Update your apps, too.
- Apple Support: Update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- Android Help: Check & update your Android version
3. Back Up Your Data
Regularly back up the data on your phone to the cloud or your computer. That way, if you lose your phone, you’ll still have access to your personal information.
- Apple Support: How to back up your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
- Android Help: Back up or restore data on your Android device
4. Get Help Finding a Lost Phone
Mobile operating systems have a program that helps you find your phone if you lose it, or lock it or erase it if you think someone stole it. Go to your settings and turn on this feature.