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Safety First: Four easy Android security tips

With the amount that we do online, from working to learning, shopping to connecting, online security is a critical piece of our everyday life. That’s why we build multiple lines of defense in Android to make the internet safer for over a billions users. Even with these layers of protection, it still doesn’t hurt to take a couple of extra precautions to be super safe. In the spirit of Safer Internet Day, we want to share a few safety tips you can follow:

1. Use Google Play to find safe apps

We do a lot behind the scenes to review apps before they can be published on Google Play, so even before you install an app, Google uses a variety of methods to check that developers are complying with our policies. If an app violates those policies, it is blocked from Play and sometimes the developer is too. Apps that are considered to be potentially harmful are blocked and flagged for a manual review by members of the Android Security Team. To learn more about this review process and how Android continues to keep your device safe even after you download an app, read our recently published whitepaper.

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The app review process before it can be added to Google Play


2. Set a screen lock and activate Android Device Manager


Anybody can lose their phone, so it’s important to set a screen lock so a stranger can’t access what’s on your device. And should you ever lose your device, you can remotely locate, lock, or even wipe it with Android Device Manager. This feature comes preinstalled on all Android devices with the Play store, so you just need to activate it.


3. Check that your device is encrypted

Encryption is important because it protects your data by storing it in an unreadable form, so if your device is lost or stolen your information remains protected. To ensure that your device is encrypted enter Settings, tap Security, and tap Encrypt phone (or Encrypt tablet) under Encryption. Newer Nexus devices, like the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, are encrypted by default.

4. Manage app permissions


Each Android app is housed in a virtual sandbox. That means, unless you’ve given it additional permissions, the only data an app can use is the data that’s in it. For example, apps that you install aren’t able to access information like photos or your location unless you give them permission. On devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, you can control a given app’s permissions by entering Settings, tapping Apps and selecting an app from the list of installed apps surfaced. On the App info screen, you’ll see a Permissions category that lists all the permissions that app has access to. When you click on this you’ll be able to toggle on and off individual permissions.

To learn more about how Android keeps you safe, check out the Android Security website. Happy Safer Internet Day!