6 ways to increase the privacy and security of your Samsung phone

6 ways to increase the privacy and security of your Samsung phone

With all the data we have on our phones, it’s very important to take steps to keep it safe. Fortunately, Samsung phones come with a number of features dedicated to protecting your privacy and strengthening the security of your device.

Here are the top six ways to make your Galaxy phone more private and secure – they’re all built-in, so you don’t need to install anything else. Let’s get started!

1. Set up your Samsung account

Creating a Samsung account is the first thing you need to do when setting up your Samsung phone. Doing so unlocks a bunch of Samsung services, such as the Find My Mobile feature that helps you locate and control your device if it’s lost or stolen.

You also need an account to back up your data to Samsung Cloud, so you can restore it later when you upgrade to a new Samsung phone, reset your current device to factory defaults, or just want to empty the internal memory by sending old files to the cloud.

Also, if you ever forget your lock screen password and the fingerprint sensor isn’t working, Samsung won’t be able to help you unlock your device if it’s not connected to a Samsung account. And don’t forget that many Samsung services require an account to work.

We could go on, but you get the idea. If you don’t already have a Samsung account, you can create one by going to Settings > Accounts & backup > Manage accounts > Add account > Samsung account and follow the account creation process from there.

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2. Use Samsung’s web browser over Chrome

Although most Android users use Chrome as their default mobile browser, our detailed comparison of Samsung Internet and Google Chrome makes it clear why the former is more private and secure.

With Samsung Internet, you can block pop-ups and automatic downloads, stop websites from reading your browsing history, lock secret mode (the app’s incognito mode) with a password, and monitor your privacy dashboard.

This difference is not surprising. After all, Google is an advertising company before anything else, and its business relies on collecting your data to understand you better and show you more relevant ads. Conversely, Samsung makes most of its money selling hardware and is therefore more private.

3. Move sensitive files to secure folder

If you have sensitive files like confidential business documents or private photos and videos that you don’t want anyone to see, you can set up and use Secure Folder on your Samsung phone to lock them away.

Secure Folder is a special secure environment that is password protected (including biometrics) and uses Samsung Knox security to protect your data. The data in Secure Folder is encrypted, never backed up to the cloud, and stored separately from your regular files, where it gets extra protection.

This means that even if your phone is stolen or hacked, the files in the Secure Folder cannot be accessed by anyone. Not just files, Secure Folder also lets you clone apps so you can use multiple accounts on one device.

4. Use Private section to send files

Samsung phones are equipped with a rather underrated feature called Private Share which, as the name suggests, allows you to share photos and videos privately. Files shared via Private Share are encrypted using blockchain technology and can only be accessed by a designated recipient. They are also protected from screenshots and cannot be shared with other parties.

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As a sender, you can set an expiration date for the files being shared, revoke access to the data being sent at any time, and remove location metadata from images before sharing. You can send up to 10 files at a time, but the total size must be less than 20 MB.

Follow these steps to share a file using Private Sharing:

  1. Open the Private Share app from the app drawer and tap Share files.
  2. Select the type of file you want to send, select your file and press Finished.
  3. Press Choose from contactsselect who you want to send this file to and press Finished.
  4. Enter an expiration date for how long the recipient can access this file and tap Send.
  5. If the recipient does not have Private Share, you can invite them via SMS, QR code or other apps. When they accept the invitation and install the app, the files will be shared.

5. Remove permissions from unused apps

You’d be surprised how many apps on your phone have permission to access things like your microphone, location, contacts, camera, and more. Although Android 12 added privacy indicators that let you see when an app is using the microphone or camera, there are no such indicators for other permissions.

One of the ways you can stop your phone from tracking you is to simply remove permissions from apps you don’t use. To do this, go to Settings > Security and privacy > Privacy > Permission management and go through all the permissions one by one. Under each permission, you’ll see a list of apps that use it.

If an app uses an irrelevant permission, remove it from the list. For example, it doesn’t make sense for a calculator app to require access to your microphone, but it makes perfect sense for a navigation app to need access to your location.

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6. Use Pin Windows to lock apps to the screen

If someone has borrowed your phone, for example to make a call, and you don’t want them snooping around your personal files and photos, you can pin an app to the screen.

This way, they can’t access apps other than the one attached to the screen – eliminating the risk of them invading your privacy. The Pin Window feature is not enabled by default.

To enable it, go to Settings > Security & privacy > Other security settings and turn on Attach windows. The function is now activated. Go to the Recents page, tap on the app icon and tap Pin the app. Unlocking an app requires your fingerprint or password on the lock screen.

Protect yourself with Samsung’s privacy features

In the Android space, Samsung phones are the most reliable when it comes to protecting users’ privacy. You can use Secure Folder to hide your files, Private Share to share files with others securely, Samsung Internet to surf the web safely, and Pin Windows to prevent people from opening apps they shouldn’t.

Make sure you keep your phone updated to get the latest security updates and new privacy-centric features added to One UI. In fact, if you’ve recently bought a new Samsung phone, you can expect it to receive up to five years of security updates – the highest of any Android brand.

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