Smart phones are basically mini computers in your pocket; it is very convenient to have a phone that can do almost everything your computer can do. With smart phones you can also hold personal and confidential information, such as pictures, contacts, bank information etc. What if your phone happens to stop working or gets lost or stolen, then what? All of that information could possibly be used for identity theft and so on. There are several steps that you can take to protect your personal information on your phone before something happens to it. Listed below are some of the steps that I have taken to protect my info. I am just the average user and thought this information would be great for first time Android users like myself.
I personally have the HTC Evo which I love, this is my first Android device, it is currently running Android 2.2 and is on Sprint 4G network. One thing with Android that could be good or bad depending on the person you ask, is that you can set your contacts to be backed up with your google account. The advantage with this is that everything is saved online, and all of your information can be synced back to your phone. So if your gets lost or you get a replacement, all you have to do is log in with your Gmail user-name and password on your phone and all of your contacts will come back. This can be done two ways, you can click into the Android Market app on your phone and choose the sign in option, or go to the Mail app and setup your Gmail account.
I would also suggest setting up a lock pattern or code on your android device. This can be done by pressing the Menu key from the home screen, tap on Settings then Security. Adding a lock pattern would prevent someone from accessing your phone and personal information. The only way to get back into the phone is with the Gmail user name and password, or by doing a Hard Reset which wipes the phone clean, deleting everything on the phone except for the info on the SD Card. One thing that the hard reset will not wipe is your SD Card, things that are saved on the SD card are pictures, downloads and music. If you are worried about losing your pictures, you have several options, you can backup your pictures to your computer via the USB Cable and save it to your hard drive. Or you can use a cloud based service such as Picasa. Picasa is a photo sharing service from Google, where you can upload, edit and share your photos. You get the first 2GB free, if you want more space you can get 20GB for like $5 a year, well worth it compared to other services. If you are on Sprint, your pictures that you send or receive are stored on the Picture Mail server. Just log-in to your picture mail account by going to pictures.sprintpcs.com to access that information.
If you want to backup more then just your contacts, such as your SMS, MMS and Call logs, you can do so by downloading 3rd party apps from the Market on to your phone. There are many apps that will do this task, one app that I personally use is SMS Backup+, this program will backup your call log, SMS and MMS to your Gmail account and with the press of one button, you can also restore that information with this app as well. It also has an automatic backup feature, where you can set it up to back up every hour, couple of hours or days.
The last app that I would suggest when you get your new phone is called Application Protect. What this app does is protect certain apps that might contain sensitive information, such as a mobile banking app, your email and even the Android Market. Remember that the Android Market has a lot of free apps, but they also have paid apps that will charge your credit card that is linked to your google account. This app is another layer of protection that you can setup on your phone. With in the application you can set what apps you want protected so that every time you access that app you have to put in a password. That way if you let someone hold your phone you don’t have to worry about them accessing certain apps with out your permission.
With the boom in smart phones in the last couple of years, information security is very important, what I have listed are my own personal app selection, and I think any body new to Android can learn from. Losing your phone can be a stressful and actually terrifying experience. Having a backup solution in place can help alleviate some of that stress.