What I Wish Everyone Knew About Smartphone Security

There’s no escaping the smartphone screen whether you’re working, shopping, or socializing. Even toddlers know how to use them, and everybody needs one. Even so, we’re far too careless when it comes to protecting the treasure troves of data our phones have become.

In this article, I’m sharing the most impactful smartphone security tips I wish I’d known a lot sooner. They’re all easy to follow but will make it much, much harder for snoops, cybercriminals, and petty real-life crooks to compromise your identity or finances. Let’s dive in!

Start Locking Your Phone

Lock your phones, people! I know it’s tedious, especially if you’re trying to catch up on your socials but can’t put the darn code in because the sun is making the screen unreadable. Still, it’s your first defense against thieves trying to pull the ol’ snatch and grab. They might get your phone, but at least your data remains safe since they can’t use your PIN or biometrics to gain access. On that note…

Protect Your Phone’s Contents

Losing or getting your phone stolen is rough, but it doesn’t need to be the end of the world if you’re smart about it. Here are two things to do now so there are no regrets later.

First, you might want to encrypt your phone if you store compromising or sensitive info on it. Encryption takes a while, but it makes everything on your phone unreadable without a decryption key.

Alternatively, you should back your phone up to the cloud and set up a remote wipe. That way, you can remotely delete any accounts, payment info, and other data on a stolen phone from another device. That phone might be gone for good, but at least you won’t lose everything else.

Ditch SMS

There’s no reason to use the Stone Age short messaging service in 2024. Who wants to pay per message sent when there’s iMessage, Telegram, WhatsApp, etc., that even your grandma can start using in seconds?

The cost is secondary, though. SMS lacks encryption and offers a backdoor for hackers to introduce malware or start tracking your phone. I can’t remember the last time I sent one, and neither should you!

Not using SMS will also help you spot smishing scams. They’re the mobile equivalent of phishing emails and usually urge you to tap a link and give up all your info to resolve a supposed problem with your bank or some other account. Tell your folks about them and how to avoid them, then delete such messages and move on with your day.

Get an Antimalware App

I used to think that running your phone’s built-in antivirus scanner and being careful about which sites to visit is enough to keep my Android phone free from threats. While that’s still good advice, it might not be enough. Malware comes in different forms, from pop-up ads to suspicious links and apps that look innocent but have bad intentions.

Installing a trusted antivirus / antimalware app and doing deep scans every so often could reveal sneaky code the default app was oblivious to. Don’t scoff if you’re on an iPhone, either! iOS might be more secure, but hackers are figuring out ways of getting around it. The first Trojan that targets iPhones and steals their users’ identities appeared a short while ago, and I doubt it will stop there.

Use a VPN

Back when I didn’t particularly care about my phone’s security, I’d ask for the Wi-Fi password at the coffee shop across the street or a restaurant and not give it a second thought. Turns out that was among the worst things I could have done.

Public Wi-Fi has terrible security, and you don’t need to be a hardcore hacker to use one to spy on connected devices. Savvier crooks can even spoof a legit Wi-Fi and trick you into connecting to their network instead.

Stick to your data plan when you’re on the go. Alternatively, install a trustworthy iOS or Android VPN and turn it on whenever you need comprehensive protection and extra privacy. VPNs encrypt all the data you send and receive, making intercepting it useless.

Better yet, they route all your internet traffic through remote servers, so no one can guess your phone’s real IP address or location. Great for staying anonymous and even better for watching that show your local version of Netflix doesn’t offer for some reason.

Stick to the Stores

Another trap I see far too many people fall into is downloading suspicious apps from god knows where. They’ll hook you in with promises of easy money, ridiculous discounts, or hacks that will make your phone run faster. It’s all a scam, and the people who made the app are the only ones getting rich off the data they’ll steal from you.

The solution? Stick to Google Play or the App Store. It’s that simple! Both have strict vetting procedures that weed out obvious scams and malware. Still, an approved app might ask for weird permissions that have nothing to do with its function.

Take note of such behavior and read negative user reviews to see what bothers people. Some might just be salty, but if you see several complaining about the same legitimate concern, it’s best to avoid such apps.


If I’ve come to learn anything about smartphone security, it’s that an attitude adjustment and a few key apps go a long way. The only thing I can add is that when choosing security product providers, make sure to research their reputation and features well. One good example of where to search is Reddit and its users’ VPN comparison table. You can also explore Quora for advice and ask additional questions if you have any.

If you’ve read into all the essential smartphone security essentials well enough, you should be fine out there. Here’s hoping you’ll find the info I shared useful and apply it to make your phone that much more secure.

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Archie Henry

Archie Henry, a Technology Expert with a Master of Science in Computer Science, specializes in emerging technologies, cybersecurity, and software development. His profound understanding of tech trends and impactful analyses of technological advancements make him a key thought leader in the tech industry.
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