You know that icy stab of panic when you suddenly realize your Android phone or iPhone isn't safe in your pocket where it should be?
Sure, features like "Find my iPhone" on iOS or the Android Device Manager can help. But if bad guys have snatched your phone or tablet, they can do a lot of damage before you zero in on its location.
Lock down your iPhone's or Android phone's security settings before it up and disappears. That way, if the worst happens, at least you'll have the grim satisfaction of knowing that whoever swiped your device will have little more than a paperweight on their hands.
Read on for 9 easy ways to shore up your iOS or Android security, starting with a bonus tip...
Bonus: Lock your phone with a passcode, pronto
Here's a tip that's so obvious — well, to me, anyway — that I'm throwing it in as a bonus. Why mention it at all? Because I still run into far too many people who've never bothered to lock their phones or tablets with a PIN, even in an era of Touch IDs (for iOS) and traceable, easy-to-remember "pattern" locks (on the Android side).
Now, if your tablet never leaves your coffee table, that's one thing. (Although... burglars!) But when it comes to your phone — and the emails, numbers, passwords, online banking apps, and other private data sitting in its memory — well, you're nuts if you don't have a lock-screen PIN.
So please, do yourself a favor and set a passcode if you haven't already. For iOS, tap Settings > Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode, if your iPhone or iPad is Touch ID-ready). For Android, tap Settings > Security > Screen Lock.
And now, for the real tips...
1. Make sure Find my iPhone/iPad and Android Device Manager are up and running
Both Find My iPhone and Android Device Manager can pinpoint your missing devices, lock them remotely, set off their ringers, and even wipe all their data.
But neither of these apps will do you any good if they're not enabled before your gadgets disappear (and yes, they'll disappear, sooner or later).
And believe me, you don't want your first time using Find my iPhone or Android Device Manager to be right after you've lost your phone or tablet.
For Android: Go to your browser of choice, make sure you're signed into Google with the same login as you used to set up your phone or tablet, then visit the Android Device Manager page.
One of two things will happen: either your device's location will pop up onscreen, or you'll be prompted to send a notification to your phone or tablet. Tap the alert on your device to grant permission to Android Device Manager to track your handheld.
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