Password protect your phone
Password protecting your phone will prevent unwanted access in the event that your phone is lost or stolen. Look for a setting such as “passcode” or “pattern unlock” in your security settings.
If you’d like more information, and you have an Android phone, click here. If you have an iPhone, click here.
Disable the home screen preview of new text messages
Disabling the home screen preview of new text messages ensures your text messages are kept private.
Check the lock screen settings on your device. Also try the settings for your messaging application. If you have an Android or iPhone, the following guides may help:
Silence your alerts
Silencing your phone can prevent people from knowing that you’re getting a text. Turn off the text notification sound and use the vibrate setting instead. In some circumstances, someone might hear or feel the vibration, but in most cases only you will know.
Delete your web browser history and cache
Clearing your history and cache will prevent anyone from going back and seeing the sites you viewed, as well as potentially retrieving data you had entered.
To clear your history and cache, look for an option in your browser’s settings. It may be found under “Content settings” or similar. If you aren’t sure how to do this, see the following guides for assistance:
Or better yet, enable private web browsing
Using your browsers private browsing mode can keep others from seeing your browsing history by preventing information from being stored on your computer or phone.
Check for message tracking software
Tracking software is designed to spy on your activity and steam sensitive data, such as your email or bank account. This software can take many forms, there is no single way to identify whether it is present on your device.
Encountering the following may indicate that tracking software is present:
- Hearing weird background noises or clicks which do not fit your normal experience with the device
- Your device has a hard time maintaining battery life, or is warm even when not in use
- Your device turns on when you’re not using it for seemingly no purpose
- Your running apps list contains one or more suspicious applications
- You have trouble shutting off your device
- Your device becomes significantly slower when you attempt to use the Internet or text someone
- Your device indicates that there is free space available, but you are unable to access it
If you believe you have tracking software installed, you can attempt to remove it by keeping your device up to date, installing anti-malware and anti-virus software, as well as deleting suspicious apps.
If all else fails, backup any data you wish to keep and factory reset your phone. This wipes your phone clean and you can then restore your contacts, messages, etc.
For more information, see this article.