We often tend to neglect the privacy settings of our smartphones. However, this can be risky: people could read your texts or even copy your files. There are tons of settings buried in our smartphones and tablets that can help us gain more control over how we protect our devices and personal information.

Whether you’re spending time at home with friends or out in public, here are five settings that will help you keep your privacy in check.

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1. Disable Notification Previews

Notifications are a great way to stay up to date, but they can also be a privacy risk. If you’re not comfortable with people seeing incoming alerts when they’re using your phone, consider turning off the notification previews that occasionally appear on your home screen.

Although the actual settings may vary from device to device, we show you how to do this using a Samsung device:

  1. On your device, go to Settings menu and press Apps. You will be able to see a list of apps installed on your device.
  2. Tap the app for which you want to turn off notifications.
  3. Then go to Application Information > Notifications > Show notifications, then disable the slider button. You can even customize the types of notifications or alerts you want to receive.


Alternatively, Do Not Disturb mode can also be a useful addition when you don’t want to be continually interrupted by alerts or annoying calls or texts. To enable this feature:

  1. Open the homepage and press the Fast Settings sign. Swipe left and tap the Do not disturb icon in the status bar.
  2. Long press the Do not disturb to view various scheduling and customization options.
  3. Scroll down and tap Hide notification.
  4. Enable Hide all to hide notifications from your apps.

2. Use Screen Pinning

One way to secure your phone is to use the screen pinning feature, which lets you lock your phone so only one app can be accessed at a time. We used a Samsung Galaxy device for this guide:

  1. On your device, go to Settings > Biometrics and security > Other security settings.
  2. Scroll down and activate the slider button next to Pin Windows.
  3. Return to the app drawer and open an app of your choice.
  4. Hit it Return on the navigation bar to view recent apps.
  5. Tap the app icon at the top of the desired application.
  6. From the drop-down menu, select Pin the app to activate the feature on your device.


3. Set up guest profiles and use incognito mode

If someone else has access to your phone, they can do more than just read your text messages, they can also access other websites or apps that may contain private information about you.

To avoid this, you can set up a guest profile on your smartphone. It’s a great way to protect your data by limiting third-party access to sensitive information on your phone.

You can even use an incognito mode on popular browsers or consider using a secure private browser that doesn’t log your online activity. You can even use a VPN to encrypt all your data.

4. Hide or lock sensitive information

You might not like the idea of ​​your friends or family having access to all your apps when they use your phone. Consider “hiding” sensitive apps from your app drawer (such as messaging apps) using your device’s default settings, if available.

Some apps (like banking apps) have built-in lock features, but you might want a little more security when giving your phone to others. There are several ways to hide apps on your Android device. To hide apps on a Samsung Galaxy device, follow the steps below:

  1. Move towards Settings > Home screen > Hide apps. You will find a list of apps installed on your device.
  2. Tap the apps you want to prevent from appearing in your app drawer.
  3. Select Do.

If no such feature is available, consider using free third-party apps like Microsoft Launcher or Nova to block people from accessing your data.

Depending on your Samsung device model, you can even use the Secure Folder feature to lock apps or folders. You can always turn off location permissions for all apps except when you’re actively using them, like a banking app or ridesharing app.


5. Disable Bluetooth or network connections

Your smartphone’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi/mobile network connections certainly allow you to easily transfer files between devices, but it also means that anyone using the same network and within range of your phone can easily access your information.

To protect your information from these types of threats, be sure to turn these settings off, especially if you’re with friends or in public places where there might be other users around (like at an airport).

To disable these features, go to Settings > Connections > Mobile hotspot and tetheringand disable the slider buttons for each of these parameters.

Keep your device private

We hope you can use these helpful settings to keep your personal folders and files or other information private. While it may not be helpful to lock down all features of your device, the suggestions above can help make your phone less intrusive when using it in public or even prevent other users from prying.