With more and more people depending on their smartphones, the need to protect them has grown exponentially. If you’ve ever had the displeasure of losing your phone, you understand. You want safeguards. Fortunately, whether you’ve got a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 from T-Mobile, or another smartphone from a different carrier, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
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Tracking Your Phone
The most obvious strategy is to never lose your phone. Short of that, there are tracking devices that can attach to your phone (or any other object you can’t bear to lose). An iOS-compatible option is Tile. If you misplace your phone, log in, click on the Tiled item you’re looking for, and its location will be revealed. For Android and BlackBerry users, there is the Cobra Tag. Along with a separation alarm if you misplace your phone, the free app will generate a map leading you to your Tagged device.
Backing Up Data
If it’s not the phone but rather the data you can’t lose, back it up. For Apple users, there is iCloud, which is automated and can be done wirelessly over Wi-Fi by clicking Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup” and then turning on the switch for iCloud Backup. Once on, you can toggle “on” the apps you want to back up, and “off” those you don’t.
Android users have Google, which automatically backs up data with the user’s permission. To back up data on an Android device, click Settings > Backup & Reset, and then tap “Backup My Data” and “Automatic Restore.” From this screen you can also select the Google account to which you’d like to sync your data. While backing up to iCloud can take as little as five minutes, the initial backup with Google can take longer.
With both Apple and Android, you can also back up manually by connecting your device directly to your computing device. It’s the old-fashioned way but still easy and effective.
Apps That Provide Protection
There are also apps available to enable you to back up data, both manually and automatically. With iTunes, you can back up your data wirelessly, via Settings > General > iTunes Wi-Fi Sync, or directly into your PC. Morobodo allows you to send and receive SMS messages through your PC, and it even keeps a log as you go, which both protects your messages and allows you to delete them on your phone and save space. MyBackup Pro allows you to store information onto a SD card or to the cloud, and its Migrate feature allows you to move your system date from one device to another.
With an Internet rife with spyware and viruses, keeping your passwords protected is essential. Rather than jotting down all your secret passwords on a notepad, Password Protector allows you to securely store your passwords and usernames in one place using AES256 for encryption, which is the recommended cryptosystem used in banks. It even comes with a recovery system in the event that you lose your master password.
If, despite your safeguards, your phone is lost or stolen, you can wipe your phone clean remotely. This is possible for both iPhone and Android users, via Settings > Setup > “Master Clear” (or “Master Reset”). Press “OK” or “Confirm” and your phone will restart, restored to original factory settings. For a short tutorial, watch Wiping Your Smartphone Memory Clean.
Adding protection does take a little extra time, but far less than retrieving data once it’s lost, if it can even be retrieved at all. Implementing these safeguards is time well spent.
Jessica is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.