According to Paul Simon, there are fifty ways to leave your lover, including “hop on the bus, Gus” and “make a new plan, Stan”. What would the list be like if he were singing about phones rather than partners? Would his Android anthem include such advice as “don’t forget to lock the screen, Gene”? Er, probably not, and it’d probably be rubbish – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a sensible list of things you really shouldn’t do with your smartphone. Here are some of our favorites.
Don’t forget to lock the screen, Gene
The more we do on our phones, the more damage someone can do if they can get access to it – and one of the simplest ways to secure your phone is to lock it. There’s no shortage of great lock screen apps on Android, and many of them add useful features, as well as security.
AndroidPIT iPhone 6 Plus iOS 9 lock screen
A lockable phone is a happy phone – and there are stacks of great lock screen apps. / © ANDROIDPIT
Best Android lock screen apps
Remember to update, Kate
It can be hard keeping tabs on which devices get Android updates, but it’s worth paying attention: each new version of Android is mightier than the last. Google Play Services keep the guts of your device current, but the big updates can make your phone feel brand new all over again.
How to update your Android firmware
Don’t charge it over USB, Lee
Not all chargers are created equal: plugging your phone into your computer’s USB port doesn’t deliver as much juice as when you use a dedicated charger.
AndroidPIT elephone p9000 1164
Remember: phone chargers good. Laptop chargers bad. / © ANDROIDPIT
How to charge your phone battery faster
Don’t forget to back up, Chuck
Your life is on your phone. Imagine how you’d feel if you lost the device and it took all your precious photos and top secret world domination plans with it. Backing up isn’t hard, and it’s a very necessary thing to do. As one of our editors puts it, “getting good backup habits is like having good dental habits. It may not be the sexiest activity, but the alternative is far worse.”
How to back up Android and keep your data safe
Don’t let it overheat, Pete
We’ve seen stacks of stories about exploding Android phones, and while the culprit is usually a badly made no-name knock-off battery or charger, there are still charging issues you should consider. It’s a very bad idea to leave your phone somewhere warm when it’s charging. Another thing to consider – regularly letting your battery run to nearly zero is bad for its longevity and you should disconnect it when it’s fully charged.
AndroidPIT Smartphone On fire
You should probably avoid no-name knock-off battery chargers. / © NextPit
How to stop your smartphone battery exploding
Don’t leave the screen exposed, Jose
Gorilla Glass is great, but it can only do so much: while it takes a lot to break or seriously damage a smartphone screen, it also takes a lot of money to replace one if it does get damaged. Screen protectors and cases are a kind of gadget insurance: they’re worth buying because the potential costs of not using them are enormous.
8 tips on how to protect your phone screen
Don’t leave it in the rain, Jane
Nowadays, more and more phones come with waterproofing so if you have IP67 or IP68 certification, you can skip this one as your phone is basically dishwasher-proof. But if your phone isn’t waterproof, then dampness and extreme humidity are to your phone what sunlight and stakes are to Dracula. Water damage is one of the most common kinds of smartphone damage, and even water resistant devices can only stay submerged for so long.
IP68 certification? IP67? What does it all mean?
Don’t keep photos of your bits, Fritz
Everybody loves taking selfies, but if your shots are of the, ahem, intimate variety then it’s a very good idea to ensure they’re not in your photo gallery when you pass the phone to a friend, employer or church minister.
AndroidPIT Jessica and Ira OnePlus 3 camera test 9836
If your pics are less family-friendly, don’t leave them in your photo gallery. / © ANDROIDPIT
If you do insist on taking sensitive photos, it’s a good idea to store them in a secure gallery. There are several apps for doing this on the Play Store. We recommend Gallery Vault, a free app that is great for storing your most private photos and videos.
Gallery Vault – Hide Pictures And Videos
Install on Google Play
Don’t let them see your tracks, Jack
If you’ve been using your phone to look at things you shouldn’t, such as, er, top-secret Christmas shopping you’ve been doing, you really don’t want anybody else to see the endless pages of red hot wrapping paper and saucy kindling that you’ve been looking at. The good news is that clearing your browsing history couldn’t be easier.
Private browsing: how to use incognito mode on your phone
Don’t install dodgy apps, chaps
Almost all mobile malware targets Android – and in particular, it targets Android users who don’t pay attention to what they’re downloading and who frequent less reputable sources of apps. If you’re sideloading apps from Pirate Pete’s World of Warez, you’re asking for trouble.
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