May be you’ve been using Android for years, or maybe you just recently switched to. In both cases, there are so many little settings that you perhaps don’t know about, but really
Should. They might have to do with security or privacy, or are just plain useful. So we are going to go over 13 settings in Android that you should really change right away. And we will start off with some privacy and security settings, because those are the most important.
The first one will stop Google from using your personal information to advertise to you. You just go to Settings, Google, Ads, then enable the option to “Opt out of Ads Personalization”. You will still see ads, but they will no longer target you based on your search history and interests.
The next thing is to go to the security settings. This menu might be named something a little bit different depending on your phone manufacturer and version, but you should be able to figure it out. Once there, go to Screen Lock Settings Gear, and look for the setting for “Power Button Instantly Locks” and set that to on. Otherwise, even if you turn off the screen, the phone will not be locked right away, so if someone snatches your phone out of your hand, they can still get access to what is inside your phone.
You may also need to change the “automatically lock” setting, which makes it so the screen does not lock right away if the screen times out. You may like to keep this on 5 seconds, in case you are reading something and it turns off too soon. But, definitely you may want it to lock if you actually press the power button by yourself.
Here is another one for lock screen security. This time you want to go to the actual Google App, then go to the menu, Settings, Voice, OK Google Detection, and Disable “Trusted Voice”. This feature makes it so your lock screen can be bypassed if it here’s your voice. But obviously, it’s not perfect, and is not secure at all. In fact, perhaps you have seen it where someone phone would unlock when he was talking, and he did not even say OK Google! So you wouldn’t trust it at all.
Number four, is the “SIM Card Lock” setting, which is very important, but not many know about. To enable it, again go to Settings, Security, Set up SIM Card Lock. But do not do anything with it just yet before the explanation it is imperative to know this setting will protect your SIM card, and make it so any time you turn on your phone, you will have to type in a PIN. This way, even if your cellphone got stolen by someone, takes out your SIM card, and puts it into another phone, they cannot use it without the pin. Otherwise, they could do things like use your cell data, see your phone number and even make calls from your number, and potentially see billing data. So obviously we want to enable this. When you hit Enable, it might ask you for your current PIN. If you don’t remember setting it up, don’t guess! You only have three tries. Instead, look to see what your cell phone carrier’s default SIM pin is.
For example, AT&T;’s is 1111. If you get it wrong 3 times, your SIM card will be locked, and you will need to go to your cell phone carrier’s website or call them to get what is called a “PUK Code” to unlock it again. But if the default Pin doesn’t work, you might need to get that code anyway. But the good news is, when you type in the PUK code, you can now set your own pin. And in any case, this is all good, because after you set your PIN, you don’t want some thief to be able to easily guess your code a bunch of times.
Number 5, we want to make sure we can track our phone if it gets stolen, by enabling Android Device Manager. So in the settings go to Google, Security, Android Device Manager, and make sure both of these options are enabled, to be able to remotely locate and wipe the device if you need to. On newer phones they should be enabled by default, but you will want to double check.
Another place to check is Settings, Security (which is not the same security menu we just looked at), then Device Administrators, and make sure “Android Device Manager” is enabled. Now if your phone is ever lost, you can log into your Google account and use the “Find
My phone” feature. Moving on, the next few are quick and easy. Go to Settings, notifications, click the Gear, though it might look a bit different on other phones remember, and then find the setting for “On the Lock Screen”. This one is personal preference whether you want to change. If you select “Hide sensitive content”, it makes it so for certain apps, like text messages, a notification on the lock screen will not show the content of the message, only which app it is. So if you tend to be around a lot of prying eyes, all day, this might be one to pick. You can even have it not show any notifications at all on the lock screen, but that one is a bit extreme.
Number 7 is on Near Field Communication “NFC”. Go to “Wireless & Networks”, and you might have to click “More”. Then you can see the option to enable or Disable NFC. This basically allows your phone to communicate with other “NFC” enabled devices you put it next to. One example is if you use Android Pay, and hold your phone up to a cash register. But for the most part, perhaps many people use this at all, or at least very rarely. And on some phones it can really affect battery life. And there have apparently been demonstrations of hacks that can take advantage of it at a distance. So you should just keep this disabled until you need it.
Onto number 8, this one is pretty useful for anyone with a cellular data cap. In settings to go Data Usage, and see where it says “Cellular Data Usage”, and click the Gear. This allows you to tell the phone when the billing cycle resets, and also provide a data threshold to warn you when you get close to your limit, or stop you from going over altogether. And if you have unlimited data, you can turn the warning off so it doesn’t ever annoy you.
Next up we have a cool one, but we have to enable developer settings to get to it. But if you don’t have that enabled yet, don’t worry. Just go to Settings, About Phone, look where it says “Build Number”, and tap that a bunch of times until it says “You are a Developer”. Now you will see the new menu under settings. So go there, and scroll down until you see the options for “Animation Scale”, there should be a few of them.
This changes how fast or slow animations on the phone are, such as switching between apps. If you set these to 0.5x, they will now be twice as fast, because the .5x means one-half the time. So this just kind of makes your phone feel a little bit snappier, and especially on newer phones, allows you to navigate in apps a lot faster.
Number 10, the infamous autocorrect! There are actually a few keyboard settings we can adjust here are grouped as one. Let’s assume you are using the Google Keyboard, but other keyboards should have similar settings. So let’s go to Settings, Language and Input, Virtual Keyboard, Google board, then Text Correction. Look for where it says “Auto-Correction”, and disabled it, so it does not ever change what you type. But you can always keep “Show Suggestions” enabled, to make it still easy to fix typos. Also, some people find that if you disable “Suggest Contact Names” and “Personalized Suggestions”, the keyboard works a lot faster. Also, another one to disable is “Block Offensive Words”. Certainly if you are an adult, you can handle seeing some swear words. But we’re not done with the Google Keyboard just yet.
Go back to the Google board Keyboard Settings, and click Advanced. You will perhaps want to disable the options for “Share Usage Statistics” and “Share Snippets”, which sends information to Google about what you type.
Onto number 11, this is actually a Chrome feature that not many know about. So Open up Chrome, Click the menu icon, then settings, and click on where it says “Data Saver”. What this does, is has Google compress webpages for you before sending them to your phone. This could be useful in at least two cases, like if you have a data cap, you will use less, and if you have a slow connection, sites will load faster because there will be less to load. It won’t be able to do it on encrypted sites, but it’s better than nothing. And it will even show you how much data you have used and saved over time from the feature. Coming near the end, we have a couple more Chrome settings that you’ll like.
The first up is a relatively new feature called “Chrome Home” that is not enabled by default. You can find it in the hidden “Flags” menu, and if you don’t know about that, you just go to the navigation bar, and type in “Chrome: //Flags”. This will bring up a whole bunch of advanced experimental and developer settings. So now press the menu icon, then click “Find in Page”, and type in “Home”, which should bring you to an option called “Chrome Home Android”.
Switch that from Default to Enabled, click the button to Restart Chrome, and you’ll now see it looks different. Instead of the navigation bar being at the top, it’s now at the bottom, which means you don’t have to reach so far to use it. Also, if you swipe up, there’s a new “Home Bar” which has quick links to recent downloads, bookmarks, and history.
It might also show you some relevant news pages. Obviously you might not like having the bar at the bottom, but it’s easy to get used to, and having the extra quick links is really convenient. And finally, we have another new Chrome feature that solves one of the most annoying things about mobile web browsing, which is when you try to read a web page, and the whole thing keeps jumping as stuff is loading.
Google recently introduced a new feature called “Scroll Anchoring”, which again can be found by going to “Chrome: //Flags”, and search for the word “Anchor”. Then where it says “Scroll Anchoring”, change it from Default to Enabled. The “default” means to enable at this point, and this way you can be sure. And with this feature, you might not even realize it’s working, because obviously it when it is, nothing happens. And it perhaps won’t work every time, but you should hopefully see page jumps happening a lot less often now. Oh and you can enable that setting on the desktop version of chrome as well. So that is it, a bunch of settings for Android will make your life easier, and also more secure.