Smartphones and tablets are very expensive for us, not only and not particularly because of their (oftentimes (un)justifiably high) prices but because of the role they play in our lives and because of the information stored inside of them. They are small, convenient computers in our pockets, with which we spend most of our days, and where we keep our strictly personal pictures, videos, messages, information about our finances and passwords.
Every day, all across the world, phones and tablets are lost or stolen. The danger is real, but often ignored. That is why it is important to protect your smartphones and tablets well, with hopes of either getting it back or at the very least painlessly saying goodbye in such a way where bad people will not be able to take advantage of them.
Why you should protect your smartphones or other mobile devices
Think about the kind of personal or corporate data which could possibly be stolen. What information regarding your passwords, bank, social media, email accounts could be jeopardized with that loss, and decide whether you need to protect your device or not.
How to protect your devices
1. The first piece of advice for protecting yourself is by creating a password for your device. No matter how inconvenient, time consuming or even unpleasant you consider it to be, always have a password for your tablet or smartphone. The more complex the better, with both numbers and letters, and if you don’t want letters, then at least using simply 4 digits.
2. Regularly back up the information on your device, so that in the case of losing your device you don’t also lose all of your information.
3. Keep your device physically close to you, do not leave it in cars or in hotel rooms (if you are travelling), or on cafe tables when you decide to go to the restroom.
4. Keep your devices charged. If your the batteries on your device die, it will become impossible for you to track where it is located.
5. Take advantage of apps that help keep track of your device’s location when the device is connected to the internet. These are possibly the most important apps to have on your smartphone or tablet. Apple users can use Find My iPhone, which are installed by default on the devices, and Find My Device for devices running on Android operating systems.
These applications help you to find your lost device. And if here is no hope of finding it, it helps to safely delete the information contained in them, and/or permanently lock the device so that no one can use it.
The applications are free and very easy to use.
Find my iPhone also works with Mac computers, Apple Clocks, iPads and iPod touches, this way you can track all of your devices from one window.
The app has an Activation Lock function, which was created to prevent others from using your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Smart Watch in the case of losing it. It automatically turns on when you start to use the Find My iPhone application.
Even if you delete the application from your device, it will prevent any entrance from your device and is reactivated without your permission, because after deleting it, you will need to reactivate, delete information from your smartphone and disconnect your Find My iPhone app using your Apple ID password in order to enter your device.
That is to say, the smartphone and tablet will turn into an unusable piece of metal or at best be used for spare parts.
What to do when your device is lost or stolen
1. If you have already activated the Find My iPhone or Find My Device apps, try to track the location of the device.
2. Activate the Lost Mode function, which will lock the device and will help track it. This function can also leave a message to the finder, specifying your contact information.
If your device does not has battery or internet connection, the Lost Mode function will only work when the device is turned on.
3. Report the lost device to the police.
4. Change the passwords to all of your accounts.
5. Don’t contact the smartphone manufacturer, they cannot help you.
6. When you feel that you have taken all the necessary steps to get your device back, but you know that it will never come back, calmly “let it go” knowing that no one will be able to use your smartphone or tablet, and that your information is safe, and the device will be nothing more than a beautiful piece of metal.
7. If you would like to learn more about how to protect your devices, social media accounts, information etc., play the game Tsantsar. This educational game will help you to learn about the dangers of the digital terrain and will teach you how to protect yourself using security tools.
The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.