Protecting your Android phone is about more than fitting hardshell cases and screen protectors. Whilst viruses on Android are thankfully rare, there is the possibility that your phone could be infected at some point. And what about stopping prying eyes from viewing your photos or emails, or trying to find a lost phone? There is more to Android security than might at first meet the eye. Here are five apps which will make it easier to keep your device safe. All of these apps are available from the official Google Play Store.
Avast Mobile Security
There are several very good security suites available for your Android phone,each offering a slightly different selection of security tools. These range from anti-virus and malware protection, right through to network data monitors and app scanners. Avast! Mobile Security helps to protect you from viruses, malware and spyware, but it also includes tools that can help you find a lost phone, remotely lock a phone and even wipe the memory if you think the device is gone for good.
On top of these fairly standard features, it also gives you a network meter, app manager, and even a firewall on rooted phones. You can use the app to block unwanted calls easily, filter calls and SMS messages in a number of ways, and use Web Shield to safely browse the Internet on your device. As if that wasn't enough, it will also give you a advanced privacy report, explaining what permissions your installed apps have been granted. All in all, a very comprehensive security app which is completely free.
Photo Locker - Hide Pictures
For many users, keeping their Android phone secure isn't just about virus protection and screen locks. If your kids are anything like mine, they will constantly be bugging you for a go on the games installed on your phone. And whilst I am happy to let them play games, I may not be quite so happy to let them browse through my photos. Photo Locker, as the name suggests, lets you easily lock accessibility to your photos, whilst allowing access to the rest of the device.
Sensitive photos from your Android photo gallery can be kept safely locked away in a secure Photo Locker, accessible only via a PIN code. Once you have a locker set up, you can quickly and easily move photos from the gallery to the locker. Add to that the auto-lock feature, which secures the locker when your screen locks, and password recovery options, and you can see that this is a well thought out photo security app.
App Protector Pro
Making your Android phone secure isn't just about stopping viruses and finding it if it is lost. There may be times when you want to protect the information in only a few apps and stop it being accessed by anyone using your phone. Of course, you can just lock the whole phone, but say someone wants to borrow it or your kids want to play on Angry Birds, and you don't want them to be able to access your email or images. That's where App Protector Pro comes in.
With this app installed, you can individually lock any of the apps on your phone, from the Gallery to the web browser and even Android Market to stop unwanted games or apps being installed without your consent. Anything you don't choose to lock remains available for anyone else to use. The scope of this app is fairly slim, but it does what it does very well. You can choose from password or pattern lock, set the locking mode to manual or automatic and even set up Locale and Tasker rules using the included plugins. All locked apps are shown in a single, easy to use menu, and removing the lock is as easy as unchecking a box (and confirming your password). If you worry about what your kids are doing when they borrow your phone, this is the app for you!
Where's My Droid
Losing your old feature phone would certainly have been a bit annoying. There is little chance that you would ever find it unless you were lucky enough that the person who found it went to the trouble of calling a few people in your contacts list to find out who's phone it was (and that's if it wasn't locked). But at the end of the day, you would only be a little bit out of pocket, and would only have to spend a bit of time rebuilding the contacts list on your replacement phone. Imagine the nightmare of losing your much more expensive Android phone, with all the data and personal information you have on it!
Luckily, Android users have a way to help ensure that a lost phone does not stay lost for long. Where's My Droid sits quietly on your smartphone, doing nothing at all for (hopefully) most of the time. If your handset gets lost, a simple text from any other phone can activate the ringer at full volume, even if the phone was on silent when you lost it. If that doesn't help it can be switched to emit a siren sound. If it seems that phone is nowhere within earshot, a second text message will prompt the phone to text back it's exact location, including longitude, latitude, nearest address and a link to a Google maps location. GPS and Wi-Fi would need to already be on when you lost the phone for this to work, so it isn't a perfect solution. But as a small, free, additional security measure, it is hard to ignore.
Is your Android phone's running speed becoming slower and slower? Are you getting frustrated by it? And do you know why your phone is not as fast as before? It is probably full up with cache files, hogging all the internal memory and making everything work harder than it needs to. Cache files are produced in Google Play, the Browser, Email, Twitter, Facebook and almost any other app which stores user information or usage history. If you don't clean them away every once in a while, they can really start to slow things down.
1-Click Cleaner lets you do just that, with just one click. But what has that got to do with security I hear you ask? Well for a start, the app lets you easily remove your browser history, which means no one can see what websites you have been browsing. It also lets you clear your call records, so no one can check what numbers you have been dialing. This means that your personal data is made much more private, much more easily. You can do all of theese things in the individual apps or by going into the Application Settings menu and going through each app in the list and clicking on Clear Cache. But why bother, when you can do it for free and with 1-Click?