Android Location and Security Settings

April 8, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Android mobile devices have a wealth of configuration options hidden away in the Settings screen, and these can be accessed and adjusted to get your phone or tablet working just the way you want it.

One of the key elements of concern for mobile devices over the past few months has been that surrounding privacy. Certain mobile services (such as Twitter) can reveal your location, something that isn’t too wise if you have gone on holiday for several weeks, giving potential burglars the nod to pop around your house and take off with your games console.

Additionally we now carry more and more personal data on our mobile devices. Should these be lost or stolen they will reveal many secrets to potential identity thieves. Keeping this information safe is vital to your bank balance!

Android’s location and security settings are simple to access and use, making it a simple task for you to apple whatever security steps you feel are necessary.

Android Location and security settings

Locking Your Droid

The first thing you should do is ensure that you have some form of security setup on your phone or tablet should the device fall into the wrong hands.

Via Settings > Location & security settings you can use the Set up screen lock option to configure a Pattern, PIN or Password to unlock your Android’s screen and gain access. These options are all quite different, but all can be disabled (None), although you can only use one at a time.

For instance, to setup a Pattern, select this option and then follow the prompts to enter the pattern, which must be four connected lines based on a 3 x 3 grid.

With your chosen lock entered and confirmed, switch your Android phone or tablet display on and off and then try out the unlock pattern, PIN or password. If you’re unhappy with any aspect, just go back to the Set up screen lock page and change it!

One other security feature that you should be aware of is the ability to view passwords as you enter them into applications and websites. This makes it easy to enter them correctly, although note that anyone looking over your shoulder will be able to read them. The default setting for this option is “disabled”, and this should be the case for most users. When you enter a password on Android, each character is briefly displayed as you type, so if you do make a mistake you should be able to see where it is before the characters are obscured.

Android Location Settings

Finally you should be aware of the location settings available in Android. By default these are disabled but can be used to add functionality to various applications – such as Google Maps.

The options Use wireless networks and Use GPS satellites can both be toggled on and off (the latter only if your device is GPS equipped), with both available as triangulation options for apps like Google Maps or even your preferred Twitter client.

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