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20 Privacy and security settings you need to check on your Google Pixel «Android :: Gadget Hacks

The Android setup menu is actually quite scary. There are alternatives for almost everything, so in the sea in different menus and submenus it is easy to overlook important privacy and security settings. Especially on Google Pixel phones, there are 20 such settings that you should double check.

All these options are in the main settings app that you can access from your app boxes. I will provide instructions on where to find them in the dark gray code boxes below, but if you do not know the structure of these instructions, it simply represents what options you should tap, in order. For example, the first menu can be found by opening Settings, selecting "Apps & Notifications" and then "Advanced" and selecting "App Permissions".

Jump to a section: App access | Pixel Properties | Anti-theft options | Google Features

1. App Permission

Most apps will explicitly request your permission to access sensors and data from your phone, but older apps may still get the additional application when you install them. This all-or-nothing approach means you either have to grant each permission the app wants, or simply don't install it in the first place. Fortunately, there is a way to recall these permissions after that fact.

  Settings> Apps and Messages>
Advanced> App Permissions 

The above menu is organized with permission type, so you will see entries such as "Camera", "Location" and "Microphone". If you are worried about your apps have access to one of them, select the function from the list. Then you see all the apps that can access this information or the sensor. Turn off the changer next to any of these items to prevent future access.

Recall Gboard's microphone access through the App Permissions menu.

Please note that some apps in apps may be broken if you recall access to a particular sensor (for example, navigation would not work in a mapping app that could not access your site). If so, most apps will simply request access to the sensor again when needed. But older apps may not, in which case the feature seems to be broken. To fix such an app, reset access to the authorization from the same menu where you recalled it – but before doing so, consider finding an alternative app that uses Android's new authorization system correctly.

2nd Device Admin Devices

Device Admin Devices Access an Android API that can be used to do things that remotely drive the device or enforce exchange email policies. For best security, you should only allow e-mail programs, payment apps, remote security apps (eg, Cerberus or Google's find my device) or apps provided by your employer on a company-issued phone to access this.

  Settings> Apps & Notifications>
Advanced> Special app access>
Device Manager Devices 

Review this list and disable the switch next to any third party that may have it enabled. You should leave Google Apps enabled here (Search my device, Google Pay) to keep the feature, but if you really want to be careful you can also disable them – just know you will lose the ability to lock and dry your ring if it gets stolen and contactless payment can no longer work.

3. Review other apps

With this permission, apps can show elements over other apps (think of Facebook Chat Heads bubbles or the floating controls that appear when you tap your home button while you're in a phonecall). While this may seem innocent, malicious apps may be able to use this permission to trick you into pushing a button in another app you didn't intend to tap – for example, type a false "Cancel" button over one "Install" button. 19659007] Settings> Apps and Messages>
Advanced> Special app access>
Viewing Other Apps

Take a look at each app in this menu, but pay attention to all third party apps (ie apps you installed yourself). If you do not believe that an app should have this permission, or if you only have doubts, select it from the list and disable the switch next to "Allow other apps" on the following screen.

4th Changing System Settings

To host power users by providing apps like Capturing more features, there is a state called "Change system settings" that can be granted. If an app has this permission, it can change the Android options as your time interval for the screen's time limit. Understandably, this condition has the potential to be abused.

  Settings> Apps and Messages>
Advanced> Special app access>
Change system settings 

Open the menu above and go through the list. If any third-party applications appear and you are not completely sure if the app should have this permission, select it and disable the switch next to "Change system settings" on the following page.

5. Application Access

Another setting that favors certain, more powerful apps is the "Entry Access" state. This lets the app read all your messages, reject them, or trigger any action buttons they may contain. There are many legitimate uses for this state, but a malicious app can abuse it by reading the actual content of your messages.

  Settings> Apps and Messages>
Advanced> Special app access>
Application Access 

Again, it is best to take the prophylactic approach here. Open the menu above and look for other apps (not Google), then disable the switch next to them if you don't explicitly trust the app's developer. If you notice any issues with messages from this app ahead, consider enabling this permission for the specific app.

6. Install unknown programs

Android Oreo has changed how we upload programs. Instead of having a setting that allows or denied the ability to install apps from outside the Google Play Store, it is now a license granted to individual apps. For example, say you download an APK with Chrome. You must allow Chrome to "Install Unknown Applications" before opening APK. This is done to ensure that apps do not start and download malicious software to your device.

  Settings> Apps and Messages>
Advanced> Special app access>
Install unknown programs 

Evaluate all apps in the menu above. If you do not see yourself loading an APK that you downloaded with any of these apps, select it and then disable the switch next to "Allow from this source". If you are not certain in any way, disable this permission for each app that is displayed, because even if you disable it for an app you should not, you should simply be prompted to enable it the next time you go to page loading an app.

7. Usage Access

Usage Access allows an app to track which other apps you use and how often, as well as your operator, language settings and other details. While this may be useful for specialized apps, it may be harmful if the privilege falls into the wrong hands.

  Settings> Apps and Messages>
Advanced> Special app access>
Usage Access 

Browse through the list in the above menu. Things like Digital Wellbeing, Device Health Services, Google Play Services, and other stock apps should be left alone to ensure proper functionality, but most third-party applications can surely be shut down here. To do so, select the app from this list and then press the switch next to "Allow access to use."

8. Wi-Fi control

With Wi-Fi control privileges, you can allow apps that have caused it to "turn Wi-Fi on, off, and connect to Wi-Fi networks, add or remove networks or start only local hotspot ". Although useful in some niche cases, a malicious app can easily use Wi-Fi scanning to track your location, even without GPS access.

  Settings> Apps and Messages>
Advanced> Special app access>
Wi-Fi Control 

Scan the list of apps in the menu above. If someone is from a developer that you don't explicitly trust, select them and then disable the "Allow app to control Wi-Fi" button.

9. Now Playing

This falls under the category of privacy, but to be honest it is not a true privacy issue. Pixels have a function called Now Playing, which automatically recognizes the names of most songs played around you, then displays the title and artist name on the surrounding display and on the notification panel.

That means the phone always listens to the world around it, which is where the integrity comes into play. But Google was aware that this may be a concern, so they built Nu Playing to work completely on the device, which means that what is never heard is sent over the internet and no actual recordings are ever made.

  Settings> Audio> Now Playing 

From the above menu, simply deactivate the switch next to "Show songs on the lock screen" and now you will play play will be turned off. You can take it one step further by tapping "Now Playing History" and then selecting "Delete All" from the overflow menu in the upper right corner – this deletes the stored history of songs recognized by Now playing.

10. Google Play Protect

Your Pixel has a built-in virus scanner called Google Play Protect. It scans all apps on your phone for malicious code and warns you when an app you've installed is potentially harmful. All of this happens automatically, even if you can trigger a manual search from the "My Apps" section of the Play Store.

  Settings> Security and Location>
Google Play Protect 

From the above menu, make sure "Security Threat Scanner Device" is enabled to ensure you receive automatic antivirus scanning. The second setting on this page can be either: "Improve malicious app detection". If this is off, the Android built-in anti-virus software will be a little less effective for everyone, but if enabled, apps you install from outside the Play Store will be logged and analyzed and this analysis will be sent to Google.

11. Find My Device

If your phone is ever lost or stolen, Google's Find My Device will let you locate it, activate the full-volume caller, log off remotely from your accounts or wipe the internal saved to protect your data.

  Settings> Security and Location>
Find My Device 

From the above menu, make sure the switch at the top of the screen is turned on. With that done, you can access the Find My Device tools by installing the app on another device, visiting the site or simply typing "find my device" in Google search on any device or browser.

12. Screen Lock

If you do not have a screen lock set, you should definitely change it now. If your phone is ever lost or stolen, a screen release is the only thing that separates a thief from all your personal information. From the menu below, make sure you select either "Password", "Pattern" or "PIN", then follow the instructions to set the function.

  Settings> Security and Location> Screen Lock 

13. Location

Even the most seemingly innocent tasks are valuable for advertising companies. If they can compile it, they can choose a pattern that can be used to deliver better targeted ads. So even if you don't go anywhere, you should still be careful about which devices have access to your location data.

  Settings> Security & Location> Location 

Start by clicking "Advanced" in the above menu. From there, select "Scan" and then consider disabling both "Wi-Fi scanning" and "Bluetooth scanning". These features use geotagged location data for Bluetooth accessories or Wi-Fi routers around you to estimate your location, even if GPS is off. While this helps your device find its place without using as much power as GPS, if you don't want apps that know your location, turn off both of these except the main switch at the top of "Location" screen.

14. Google Location Services

You own a Google phone, so chances are you trust Google. At the same time, this does not mean that you have to put up with all the data collection they do. Depending on your settings, they can save your location history, share your current location with your friends or family, and use the device's sensors to improve Bluetooth and Wi-Fi based location scanning.

  Settings> Security & Location>
Location> Advanced 

Look for the section "Local Services" in the above menu. Select "Google's location accuracy" and if you don't want Google to use your phone sensors to improve its global site scan, disable the switch at the top of the screen (but note that the phone can use more battery in the future to get a site lock via GPS).

Next, go back to the same menu and select "Google Location History." If you do not want Google to save a copy of your position reports indefinitely, disable the "Location History" button on the next screen. Select the "Manage Activity" option here to delete stored site history.

Finally, check the same menu for the "Google Location Sharing" setting. Here are other people you have invited to see your place in Google Maps – like Apple's finding my friends. If you don't want someone to see your place anymore, just press "X" next to the name here.

15th Reset Advertising ID

The phone has a unique identifier that anonymously collects information about you. Google uses data associated with this ID to serve you with more relevant ads in apps and on the web. Although the data is not personally identifiable, you cannot do anything to prevent data collection. However, what you can do is periodically reset this ID to a new random number, which effectively deletes Google's ad tracking data for your device.

  Settings> Google> Ads 

Visit this menu regularly – if you can turn it, once a month. From there, select "Reset Advertising ID" and then press "OK" in the pop-up window.

16. Ad Advertising

In line with Tip 15 above, you can prevent apps on your phone from accessing your advertising ID by opting out of ad advertising. This does not prevent your ID from being used by Google to create a profile on you, so you should still periodically restore that identifier. What this does, however, prevents third parties from building their own ad profile on you by using your anonymous advertising ID.

  Settings> Google> Ads 

From the above menu, tap "Fix Ad Advertising" and make sure the AC power switch next to this entry is set to "On" mode. Then press "OK" on the popup button.

17. App Preview Messages

This is actually a really cool feature, but it has some minor privacy implications. Google created a system where, even if you don't have an app installed, you can still get messages from it. Called "App Preview Messages", the intended use is for things like Google Duo video calls or text messages. If someone using one of these services notifies your phone number, you will receive the message as a message and will be prompted to install the app.

  Settings> Google> App Preview Messages 

If you don't like the potential For random unwanted messages, however, visit the above menu and turn off the changer at the top of the screen, then press "OK" in the pop-up window.

18. Connected apps

If you ever used the "Sign in with Google" option when creating an account for a website or service, you have shared at least some basic information from your serious Google Account with one Third Party. In addition, some services also need access to your Google Account to give you extra functionality. Every time so often you should do some spring cleaning of these connected apps.

  Settings> Google> Connected Apps 

Visit the above menu and browse through the list. One-to-one, select all apps, services, and sites that you no longer use, then tap "Disconnect" on the following screen and confirm your selection on the pop-up button.

Repeat this process for other entries in the list if you even have minimum doubts as to whether it will be able to access information from your Google Account, such as your email address, name and other personal information . 19659085] 20 Privacy and security settings You need to check on your Google Pixel ” width=”532″ height=”532″ style=”max-width:532px;height:auto;”/>

  20 Privacy and security settings You must check on your Google Pixel

19. Nearby

The goal of Google's related function is to "make it easy to discover nearby entities and establish communication with them." Here's how Pixel Buds can be quickly connected to your Pixel without fumbling with Bluetooth settings, but it also has drawbacks.

Theory can be used nearby by stores, dispensers, and other physical locations around you to deliver what amounts to advertisements. While I haven't personally seen such a scenario, devices equipped with the right sensors can use this system to send messages directly to your phone. Think of a situation where a Coke machine pings your phone when you go to offer a discount – a little unpleasant, no?

  Settings> Google> Nearby 

If you want to be on the safe side, visit the above menu and disable the switch at the top of the screen, but note that this will break the quick parameter with some Bluetooth headphones. Alternatively, if you prefer to keep that feature free of ad advertising, you can press the gear icon at the top of the Nearby menu, then select both "Links" and "Popular Links" followed by disabling "Show Messages" for both.

20th Wi-Fi Assistant

Another to file under "cool but a little worried". Google's Wi-Fi Assistant automatically connects your phone to open, unprotected Wi-Fi access points. As most people know, open Wi-Fi networks are like those in your local cafe, prone to hacking, so Google enhanced this feature by routing all traffic through an encrypted VPN when you are automatically connected to one of those networks.

  Settings> Google> Network 

To avoid the risk, go to the above menu and disable the switch next to "Wi-Fi Assistant". Keep in mind that the phone can use more mobile data after disabling this feature, but it should only be noticed if it was previously connected to open networks on a regular basis. You know you were connected via Wi-Fi assistant if you ever saw a key icon with a "G" next to it in the status bar.

This article has been produced under the Gadget Hack's special coverage on smartphone privacy and security. Check out the entire privacy and security series.

Don't miss: More tips and tricks for your Google Pixel

Cover image and screenshots of Dallas Thomas / Gadget Hacks

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