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Privacy & your phone

iphone phone privacy

iphone and Android privacy settings

Remember when protecting your privacy was as simple as pulling down your blinds or putting a lock on your mailbox? Privacy was something you got by using real life objects you could actually see and touch.

These days our privacy still needs to be protected – but one of the places we’re most at risk is our phone.

Most of us have multiple devices that are all linked and that all contain personal information we may not want to be shared.

Here’s some simple steps you can take to protect your privacy when you’re using your iPhone or Android device.

Private browsing

When you switch to ‘private browsing’, the browser you’re using won’t save search details, AutoFill information or websites you have visited to your phone or other devices linked to it. This means, should your devices be lost or stolen, or simply fall into the hands of someone you don’t know well, your private online activity will remain just that – private.

Here’s how to turn on private browsing on your device:


  1. Open a browser
  2. Tap the tabs icon and select ‘Tab Groups’ list
  3. Tap ‘Private’ and then ‘Done’


  1. Open a browser
  2. Tap ‘More’ and then locate the ‘Incognito icon’ at the top

Samsung secret mode

  1. On your Samsung device, within the Samsung Internet browser, tap the tab manager icon on the bottom, where you can manage your open pages.
  2. Activate Secret mode by tapping ‘Turn on Secret Mode’
  3. On the next screen, you can see a guide explaining this mode. If you decide to activate Secret mode, tap the ‘Start’ button.

Hide my email

Most websites and apps require you to use an email address to access information or sign up for newsletters, but sometimes we don’t want to share our email address – what do you do?

‘Hide my email’ lets you create a random email address and allows you to keep your personal email private. Here’s how to use it:

  • Using Mail: open a new message window, tap the ‘From’ field, then choose ‘Hide My Email’ in the pop-up menu.
  • Using iCloud: log in to your account, tap ‘iCloud’, then tap ‘Hide My Email’.

On Android, it’s a little bit different. You can use Firefox Relay or SimpleLogin and follow the steps.

Location settings

There’s a good reason why you have a Location setting on your phone. It helps deliver search results particular to your location, and it’s essential for navigation apps such as Maps. There are times, though, when you may not want third parties to know where you are, and that’s when it’s important to understand how to turn off the Location setting.

How to turn off location settings on iPhone:

  1. Tap ‘Settings’ and then ‘Privacy’.
  2. Tap ‘Location Services’
  3. Slide the button to off.

How to turn off location settings on Android:

  1. Open your phone’s Settings app
  2. Under Personal, tap Location access
  3. At the top of the screen, turn Access to my location off.

Find my phone – iPhone

Anyone who has ever misplaced their phone or device knows how awesome ‘Find My Phone’ is. ‘Find My iPhone’ lets you use the ‘Find My’ app on another device to see your phone’s last known location.

But what about when you sell an old device, give it to someone, or simply dispose of it?

You may very well want to turn it off.

Here’s how to disable Find My Phone:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ and then choose your account
  2. Tap on ‘Find My’
  3. Tap on ‘Find My iPhone’
  4. Slide the button to off.

When you turn it off you will be asked to authenticate the request using your iCloud password.

How to disable Find My Device on your Android phone

To stop your device from sharing your location, you’ll also need to turn off location tracking. Here is how you do that:

You’ll need to enrol your phone in Google’s Find My Device feature.

  1. Open the settings app
  2. Open security tab
  3. You should see Find My Device – tap that option
  4. Slide the options to OFF. 
  5. You then need to erase your data by visiting https://www.google.com/android/find?u=0
  6. Sign in to your account, select erase device.

Easy phone privacy adjustments that are advisable for anyone

Uninstall unused apps

Uninstall unused apps. It’s a simple tip, but a must-do. Unused apps use your device’s resources while providing an access point to sensitive info that you probably want to keep private. 

Look through your apps. If there are installed apps that you haven’t used in 2-3 months, and they aren’t important, get rid of them.

Review apps with access to your Google account

If you are a Google search engine, Google Drive, Youtube or Gmail user, you have a Google account. 

Apart from phone-specific permissions, certain apps and services request access to data within your Google account. 

For example, Dropbox can be given access to your Google account. This includes access to your contacts, basic account information and more.  

It is a good idea to periodically go through your Google account (you can do this on your phone) to review what apps have been granted access. If access is no longer needed, remove it and close that pathway down. 

Simply open up the Google account permissions page (from within your signed in Google account, either on mobile device or desktop), review what has been granted access. For access you no longer use or don’t recognise, click the ‘remove access’ button.

Phone privacy

These are simple and easy steps, but spending a few minutes tightening up the privacy on your phone will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that when you’re using your iPhone or Android, you’re using it away from prying eyes.

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