Securing Your Mobile Devices

1. About securing your device

If you're a smartphone or tablet user chances are there's a lot of personal information stored on your device. Emails, passwords, photos and financial data can be accessible with a swipe of a finger. Instant access to your information is convenient, but having it on your mobile device can leave you vulnerable if your device is lost or stolen.

The following steps can help secure your device, keeping personal information safe, even if your device falls into the wrong hands.

2. Secure your screen with a strong password

Your device may have a variety of options to secure the screen, which can include a 4-digit PIN, a finger swipe pattern and even facial recognition. While each method varies in level of security, one of the best methods to secure your screen is by using a strong password. The features of a strong password are:

  • At least 8 random characters
  • A variety of character types including letters, numbers and symbols

Avoid using dictionary terms and personal information that's commonly known or can be easily guessed, like a family member's name or birthday.

On Apple® devices, look for password settings on the Settings screen under passcode.

For instructions on setting screen security on other devices, visit your device's Interactive Simulator, and look under the First Time Use section.

3. Turn on your device's auto-lock feature

Setting your device screen to automatically lock after a period of inactivity can protect it from unwelcome access. Using auto-lock in conjunction with a password ensures others cannot easily access your device, even when left unattended.

For more information on auto-lock settings, check your device's user manual.

4. Install a trusted security app

Security apps, like Digital Secure, help protect your device and your sensitive information from viruses, malware and theft.

5. Be cautious when installing apps

Only install apps from trusted sources, like Google Play™ Store or Apple ® App StoreSM. Avoid installing unofficial versions of popular apps and apps from unknown developers. Read app reviews and check app permissions, making sure the permissions granted are necessary for the app to function.

6. Install operating system (OS) updates when available

OS updates often contain new security features and important patches. Be sure to install OS updates when prompted.

For more information on available updates for your device, check our Advanced Devices - Software Updates page.

7. Avoid using unsecured, public Wi-Fi networks

Public Wi-Fi networks generally don't include security, leaving the data on your phone unprotected. When conducting mobile banking transactions or making online purchases, either switch to mobile data or wait until you can connect to a trusted, secure Wi-Fi network.

Always log out of financial or shopping sites after you view sensitive data or make a payment, and don't store passwords on your device.

8. Turn off Bluetooth® and Wi-Fi when not in use

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi allow you to connect to other devices and networks, but they can also leave your device open to unwanted connections. Be sure to only connect to trusted devices and secured networks, and settings off when you aren't using them.

For instructions on turning on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, visit your device's Interactive Simulator.

9. Beware of suspicious emails, text messages, and links

Your mobile device has similar vulnerabilities to a computer when it comes to suspicious communications and phishing. Don't open, tap on or reply to anything that looks suspicious. Beware of messages that look as if they're coming from a legitimate entity or person but have a generic greeting, ask you to verify personal or account information and include a false sense of urgency.

If you receive an email that seems fraudulent, you can send it to phishing@verizonwireless.com for our internal review.

If you receive a suspicious text message, you can forward it to 7726 (Verizon Corporate Security) from your device and then delete it.

Learn more about phishing.

10. Turn off location tracking services

Location tracking services are typically used by apps to deliver personalized, location-based information, including driving directions, traffic updates, and local weather. While these services are often useful, leaving location tracking on may allow others to know where you are and your location history.

For instructions on turning off location tracking, visit your device's user manual.

Apple and App Store are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.

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