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Things you shouldn't do on your Android smartphone

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© nextpit

Your Android phone is many things: one of your most precious possessions, a statement of who you are, and maybe even the place where you keep your secrets. And yet, many of us don’t protect our phones properly, or we do careless things that could do serious damage to our data (or our reputations). What shouldn’t you do with your smartphone?

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

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.

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

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.”

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

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.

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. 

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.

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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.

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. 

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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Stay safe out there! / © NextPit

What do you think? Are there any smartphone no-nos we've missed?

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Gary Marshall

Gary Marshall
Freelance writer

Former lion tamer, Girls Aloud backing dancer and habitual liar Gary Marshall has been writing about technology since Google was two guys in a garage. He's written for many fine magazines, newspapers and websites, written a range of how-to-books and a novel, co-written a BBC documentary series and dishes out weekly tech advice on BBC Radio Scotland.

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  • Louisa Thompson 1
    Louisa Thompson Oct 23, 2018 Link to comment

    I have one question, which screen lock is more secure: fingerprint unlock or face detection unlock or password/pin unlock?

    • 49
      storm Dec 26, 2018 Link to comment

      Define secure. The password is hardest for law enforcement to pass.

      Deactivated Account

  • 49
    storm Oct 17, 2018 Link to comment

    ... there must be fifty ways to leave your lover ...

    Deactivated AccountDean L.

  • 20
    Reg Joo Jun 4, 2017 Link to comment

    Treat your $400~$800 phone as if you spent money on a antique vase. Disrespecting the fragility of it, is stupid, shelve your ego, and protect it. If you put it in your pocket, turn the glass side towards your body. If your using it, and it gets hot(most of the time around the camera, that's where the processor is on a lot of phones), turn it off, even in a call, you can call back later, unless it's 911. Water, nuff said. If you use a explorer type app ,that can open any type of file, watch out, by the time it opens to a readable screen, you can lose memory capacity, and bam, phone can freeze. If you go the unknown sources route, find as much info you can about the source, before you proceed(better safe than sorry, educate yourself). watch out for marketing hype, phones aren't tough, unless it's a tracphone flip phone. Of all the phones that I have had , I've never, ever, cracked, or scarred the screen to unreadability. It's not hard, just be careful.

    Dean L.

  • My1 37
    My1 Jun 1, 2017 Link to comment

    actually if you are chrging overnight, at work or other long time scenarios anyway, PC charging may even be a good thing because the slower this thing charges, the less heat builds up -> less strain on battery.

    Dean L.

  • 26
    Andrew Burgin Jun 1, 2017 Link to comment

    It's amazing the number of people I see using there phones even with the screen cracked,people do not seem to realise that the cost of repairing there phones is getting more expensive and harder to get repaired,ever since I had a early experience of getting one of my Samsung screen repaired and the cost,I always look for a tempered glass off Amazon or eBay, but with that many made,I end up buying a few to find the Best one,just got the Baseus one in Gold for my Samsung galaxy S8 plus and it's the Best up to know,with others in my drawer,just Inn case it does get broken

  • 20
    Reg Joo Jun 1, 2017 Link to comment

    If you put your phone in your pants pocket, make sure you put it in screen, to body.

  • 12
    Paco Inurreta Nov 15, 2014 Link to comment

    I've been thinking on uploading a Nandroid backup to Dropbox and to Google Drive but while Im not afraid of privacy and stuff, Im really afraid of having my backups all in the open. Somone messing with my sensitive "stored" info in the backup really botters me.

    Any idea?

    • 2
      jwagner354 Nov 16, 2014 Link to comment

      Open a new Gmail, use that drive account for 'sensitive' info.

      Karen L.

      • My1 37
        My1 Jun 1, 2017 Link to comment

        the data is still relatively open. better encrypt the stuff.

      • 4
        Doh Nuts Oct 17, 2018 Link to comment

        If anything is sensitive or personal you should let any Google/Alphabet product near it.

        Deactivated Account

    • Albin Foro 30
      Albin Foro Jun 1, 2017 Link to comment

      Don't rhyme Jose with expose, Mose

  • Leonardo 11
    Leonardo Nov 15, 2014 Link to comment

    Would be nice if you gave some example apps people can use to protect against some of the don't...example, gallery vault can protect your unfriendly

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