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.
Your phone just got stolen.
Now your whole evening is messed up and even lost your appetite.
Situations like this happen every day, and it can happen to anyone.
We show you some tips on how to protect your Android phones 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 preoccupations necessaries to secure this personal device and the private information contained on it?
We've already discussed the importance of locking the power off switch with a password is a great idea!
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.
Losing your smartphone can be thought and we can't prevent any stranger from touching your phone but we can make it more difficult for the intruder to disable your phone.
The most effective security solution are taken before any critical situation happens.
You'll need to be prepared for an eventual phone theft or losing your device out of sight.
Now we'll show you a couple of extra tips to secure your device from theft.
We've separated these tips in two categories: Before and After theft; and we recommend you to follow these tips.
This might seem obvious, but enabling the home screen lock is the first barrier against theft.
There are many options: Alphanumeric, PIN, Pattern, Fingerprint, or Retina Scanner.
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 pattern.
Try to use passwords with different characters. For example if you like Harry Potter, never use the names or phrases just like they appear.
Instead, replace all characthers with similar symbols to appear something like this h4R|2y-p0Ot3R.
You could also use phrases as your passwords, replacing spaces with bars or zeros.
If your device supports it, use the Fingerprint or other scanner to access your home screen.
Also, one of the first things you need to do is record your device information, 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 save it on your email’s inbox so it is accessible to you 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 accurately locate your device 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.
If you want to give your phone a security boost, you need to download lockIO to enable a password to power off or restart your device.
By securing the power off button, you’ll block the first thing burglar do after stealing a phone.
Also, remember that lockIO's Premium feature "SIM Card Extraction Alert" will trigger a loud alarm whenever someone extracts your SIM Card, one of the most common causes of mobile phones disconnection after stealing (power off, battery removal, SIM removal or activating airplane mode)
To learn more about lockIO’s Power Lock feature, check this article.
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 set a proper password to secure your inbox.
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.
If your phone is gone, you better start moving quickly in hopes to retrieve it.
One of the most common issues regarding phone robberies is 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 possess on your device.
After you assure control over your credentials, try to locate your phone using Find My Phone.
Using this app, you could remotely erase all your personal information from your device 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 now working, you'll have to fill a police report.
We strongly suggest that you fill a police report in case of theft or loss. 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, police will try to find it but not searching for a specific individual.
Don't forget to inform all the companies that somehow might be related to your phone about this loss.
Your Phone, Bank and Credit Card companies should be informed in case someone attempts to make a charge using any of these means.
The truth is that once your device is gone, is very difficult to retrieve it. That's why we're focussed on preventing the intruder from gaining control over your device, starting by blocking the power switch button and securing the SIM Card with an alarm.