With massive data breaches happening at a daily rate, it’s no wonder that mobile users are growing more concerned that their personal information, photos, and communications might fall into the wrong hands. The rise of multi-step authentication and Apple’s recent launch of the 6-digit passcode for iPhone are signs that software developers are beginning to address consumer demand for a security system that sufficiently protects the data on their phones.
But even as passwords become more sophisticated, it may not be enough to guard all the information on your phone with a single string of numbers or letters. Extra protection is always a good idea, and one of the most effective ways you can implement it to your mobile device is with encryption.
Why encrypt your phone?
If the lock screen is the front door to your phone, then think of mobile encryption as the security system that makes it extremely difficult for someone to break in and steal your data by turning all your information into useless, unreadable content when accessed by anyone who isn’t you. For this reason, encryption is often recommended or even required for those who carry sensitive data on their mobile devices for work to protect company data. It also comes in handy for misplaced or stolen phones, which reached a total of 5.2 million in the United States alone in 2014, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center.
The whole process should take no longer than an hour, depending on your device. Please bear in mind that encryption is one-way only. This means that once your device has been encrypted, it can only be disabled by resetting your phone to its factory default settings and erase all the data stored on your phone.
How to set up encryption for iPhone:
Do you have your lock screen enabled for your device? If not, you can set it up by going to Settings > General > Passcode Lock. And there you have it: you have just encrypted your iPhone. Since iOS 8, Apple has designed the passcode to encrypt all your personal data on key apps such as Messages, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Photos, which automatically protects your texts, emails, and other personal data from anyone who isn’t authorized to access them.
How to set up encryption for Android:
Unless you have a post-Lollipop phone that comes with encryption enabled out of the box, Android generally devices do not offer users the option to be encrypted by default. However, it can set it up by selecting the Settings app > Security > Encrypt phone. You will be prompted to create a PIN, pattern, or password if you haven’t already, before the operating system reboots. It’s a good idea at this point to plug in your phone while you go along with your day, as the encryption can take up to an hour or more. Once the process is over, confirm that your phone was encrypted by going into Settings > Security. There should be a small “Encrypted” badge under “Encrypt Phone.”
Encryption is a great way to ensure that the contents of your phone remain private, even if it is stolen or misplaced. However, there are more ways to protect your mobile device from fraud and theft. Stay up to date on the latest safety issues by following Privatis on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribe to our email newsletter to have security tips delivered right to your inbox.