Smartphones are like high-tech buckets that collect our personal information through constant use. This has some obvious benefits, such as getting a more personalized experience with our devices. On the other hand, these tasks are a tempting goal for bad players who want to make money at the expense of your privacy.
There are many threats to look out for in terms of your privacy and security. Hackers are constantly present and will use some holes in your armor to steal your private data. A coin's back, law enforcement can retaliate your phone call when it suits their needs. Even a friend who looks over your shoulder and sees private information can have serious consequences.
Thankfully, your Galaxy S9 has fortunately your back. It will be loaded with settings and features specially designed to keep your valuable personal data as private as possible. It may be that some of these settings have already been adjusted correctly, but they are still worth a good overview to be safe. Below are all the settings you need to check to protect your device from unwanted access.
Jump to a section: Antivirus | Location | Warnings | App Access | Anti-Theft | Google
. Malware Scanning
It is always a good idea to routinely scan your phone for malware and viruses. Fortunately, your S9 has a built-in virus scanner that helps you perform this important task relatively easily. Best of all, the feature has the ability to run scans in the background so that you can continue with what you did without missing a stroke.
Settings> Device Care> Security
Open the above menu and press "Scan Phone" to start malware scanning. The security scanner then proceeds through each third-party and system app to look for something unusual and either give you a "secure" signal if no virus is found or give you a report describing problems it looked, along with steps you can follow for to solve them.
If you breezed through your S9's original setting, you probably gave your phone permission to log into your location history. If you do not know if this feature constantly tracks your movements, you can reach it at any time by going to this link and logging in with the Google data you use on your phone. The information is only visible to you, but you will want to deactivate this feature carefully if you think it is a bit too uncomfortable for comfort.
Settings> Biometrics and Security> Location> Google Location History
Once you have opened this setting with the above menu, you can disable the feature by switching the switch in the center of the screen. A confirmation time is displayed when you turn off Google Location History, so press "Pause" to confirm, and you're fully set.
It is always a good idea to set the notification settings for some apps privately and keep curious eyes from your device. For this you must go to the Messages menu in Settings and disable the changer next to each app to prevent it from displaying messages altogether.
Some apps let you silently notify, so if you want an app to notify you, but in a more private way, this is the choice to choose. To do so, tap the app's name to go to the menu. From there, tap the specific application elements for the app under the "Categories" section and then tap "Message Style" on the following page and select "Quiet and Minimized" from the overflow menu.
Preview of messages displayed on the lock screen may also cause some concern. If they are not properly set, these lock screen previews can easily be seen by others if you do not pay attention, which can lead to personal problems.
Settings> Lock screen> Messages
You have several ways to proceed from the above menu. First, you can completely disable lock screen messages by switching the switch at the top of the screen. You can also hide the contents of messages (the actual message) by enabling the switch next to "Hide content" or you can take things one more step by activating the "Only message symbols" setting.
Some apps require legal reasons for accessing the device's messages. For example, WhatsRemoved registers WhatsApp messages when they enter so you can see them if they are deleted by the sender. While some access accessories are needed by some specialized apps, most do not need this access to the job properly.
Settings> Apps> Menu button> Special Access> Entry Access
Follow the above menu, and when you reach "Enrollment Access", turn off the feature for any app you think is suspicious.
Newly installed apps that you open for the era will often go through a couple of brief introduction pages to showcase their features and then issue instructions asking you to give them access to vital features like your S9 camera and microphone. However, if you rushed through the installation process, you may have allowed the app to access sensitive data that it doesn't need.
Settings> Apps> Menu button> App permissions
If you are unsure how much access you have given to an app, you can always see its settings through the above menu. From here you see a list of all data that third party apps can access, with the most sensitive ones being "Camera", "Location" and "Microphone". Then tap each one of these authorization categories one by one, and go through the list on the following screen.
Some Android apps may have some elevated privileges by requesting access to the "Device Administrator", which is good for some add-ons such as ad blocker, but may in some cases compromise your privacy. While you must explicitly grant the Device Administrator Permissions app, it is easy to overlook the permission and enable the feature. This can be potentially disastrous, because malware apps love use the Device Manager feature to prevent you from uninstalling them.
Settings> Apps> Menu button> Special Access> Device Administrator Devices
So if you want to double-check for apps, you can inadvertently grant administrator level access to, carefully sift through the list within the "Device Administrator Program" and uncheck the checkboxes next to any third-party app that may have it enabled, while leaving "Find My Device" and "Google Pay" alone to make sure they work properly.
Some apps have the ability to apply overlays on top of your S9 screen as recording buttons for screen recording apps, Facebook chat bubbles and things of this type. Malicious apps, however, can use this feature to trick you into installing malicious code through insidious means, such as typing "Cancel" over the "Install" button on an Android system prompt.
Settings> Apps> Menu button> Special Access> Apps that can be displayed at the top
Browse each app in this menu, especially third-party applications. If you think an app does not need this permission, you will get it, just click on the switch next to the app to disable it.
Productivity programs are typically granted certain Android permissions to access the system settings in the flight. For example, voice assistant programs like Bixby use this permission to turn off your GPS when you say "Turn off GPS." Of course, having this access level granted for a dubious app can negatively affect your privacy and security.
Settings> Apps> Menu button> Special Access> Modify System Settings
Look carefully at the list in the above menu, and pay attention to third party apps. From there, tap the switch next to each app you want to revoke the state to turn off the feature, and you're good to go.
In an effort to improve your overall experience, some apps will request permission to display data on how to interact with your phone. It can range from monitoring the types of apps you use and how often they are accessible, all the way to your mobile operator's name and language settings. This can be a bit unpleasant if you haven't already realized it.
Settings> Apps> Menu button> Special Access> Use of Data Access
Give the list in "Usage Data Access" a good look over and disable the function of any third party by pressing it and pressing the switch located on the following page. Be sure not to disable the built-in apps and services feature such as Game Launcher, Samsung Pay and Google Play Services to ensure that they work properly.
eleventh Installing Unknown Applications
Page download programs from outside Google Play or Galaxy Apps may reveal your S9 for potential Android malicious software. As such, you can be extremely careful when installing APK files, not stressed enough, especially now that the "Unknown Sources" feature is no longer on S9.
To keep your device safe from malware, we recommend that you download external apps through browsers such as Chrome, which require you to confirm your downloads through credentials. Samsung Internet is now also a feasible option, as it now asks your confirmation via an instant message on Pie-based One UI, a feature that is not available on its Oreo-based version.
In addition, it is also worth noting that some apps have the ability to install unknown apps that could potentially damage the device. If you download APKs via Chrome or Samsung Internet, it would make sense for these apps to have this permission – but other random apps on the phone probably shouldn't.
Settings> Apps> Menu button> Special Access> Installing Unknown Apps
Use the above menu to get started, then press the three-point menu in the upper right corner, select "Special access" from the Overflow menu and press "Install Unknown Apps." Review which apps have this permission and then select all apps that you want to deny access by turning off "Allow from this source."
Like Google's find my device, Samsung's My My Mobile feature gives you a range of options to protect your privacy if your S9 is lost or stolen. In addition to helping you find your phone, the security feature lets you lock your phone's screen, switch and Samsung Pay. In addition, you also let yourself log out of your accounts and wipe the entire storage if your phone cannot be restored.
Settings> Biometrics and Security> Find my mobile
From the above menu, make sure the switch at the top of the screen is turned on. When it is ready, you will be able to access Find My Mobile by visiting the site and entering the login for your Samsung account.
13. Intelligent Scan
Galaxy S9s Intelligent Scan function now combines face and iris scanning to create a safer way to unlock the device. However, as large as this combined biometric security feature, it is still in comparison with the advanced Face ID feature available on iPhone X S which means that you still have to stick to the tried and tested one. fingerprint sensor to keep your S9 as safe as possible.
Settings> Biometrics and Security> Intelligent Scan
So if you want to be extra secure, go to the above menu to access the Intelligent Scan settings and enter your PIN when prompted. From there, tap "Intelligent Scan Unlock" to disable it. When done, be sure to create a fingerprint lock screen that is supplemented with either a PIN or a password from the same "Lock screen and security" menu.
In addition to Intelligent Scan, S9 allows you to use face detection and iris scanner separately. Unfortunately, you use these features on your own because your device is more susceptible to unauthorized access because you spoof images with one of your face or eyes. You can disable these features in exactly the same way as turning off Intelligent Scan.
Settings> Biometrics and Security> Face Detection or Iris
S9 has a centrally located fingerprint sensor on the rear panel. However, reaching around the device to unlock it via fingerprints on the back is not always as comfortable as a front-mounted sensor, which has forced many to rely on faster access to our devices. "Smart Lock" is a popular option that keeps our phones unlocked when we are on a trusted site.
Unfortunately, you use this feature with some privacy and security risks. Since the phone is still unlocked when in a reliable position or a paired device, leave the device open for almost everyone to retrieve and access at any time when leaving it unattended.
Settings> Lock Screen> Smart Lock
Go to the menu above to access the Smart Lock settings. From there, turn off the "Trusted devices" settings by deleting some displayed devices. Also, disabling "On-body detection", "Trusted Places" and "Trusted Voice" may be helpful to maximize your security and privacy.
Android is a Google product, so the phone's operating system comes with Google-based features like Gmail and Google Maps that collect data from your device to further customize your experience. If you'd rather keep your data private, Google gives you the ability to limit its data collection for account-based services in a few easy steps.
Settings> Google> Google Account> Data & Personalization> Activity controls
Following the menu above, there are many settings that you can access within "Activity controls", such as "Web & App Activity" that you can turn off to keep Google from collecting information about sites you visit while using the search engine and apps you use on your device. Disable "Device Information" prevents Google from saving calendar and contacts on its cloud-based servers.
"Voice and audio activity" trains Google assistant to recognize your speech habits, which you can also disable here if you think the feature is frightening. In addition, you can also disable YouTube history and overall device location history to maximize your privacy. Keep in mind that the features of Google Apps can be reduced. Ad Advertising
Ads are Google's bread and butter, and the giant technology uses data collected from your S9 to give you targeted ads to better reflect your wishes and needs. While Google never shares your smart habits with third parties, the "Ad Advertising" feature allows third-party apps to access your advertising ID, which they can then use to create their own profile on you.
Settings> Google> Ads> Deselect Ad Advertising
After deleting the above menu to cancel ad advertising, external apps will stop tracking you to some extent, but Google can still build a personalized ad profile based on your data. While you can't stop this altogether (unless you have a custom ROM installed), you can regularly delete your ad profile from Google's servers by restoring your advertising ID. To do so, press "Reset Advertising ID" in the same menu and try to do it every month if you can.
18th Connected Apps
Many apps and services require you to enter your Google data, whether for verification purposes, instant access, or unlocking additional features. But the "Sign in with Google" option gives at least these third-party services access to basic personal information associated with your Google Account, so it's a good idea to get used to flushing out this data from time to time.
Settings> Google> Connected Apps
Then visit the menu above and carefully check the list. Select all apps, services, and websites that you no longer use individually, then tap "Disconnect" on the following screen and confirm your selection on the popup. Also, be sure to play it securely and repeat the process for any record you don't think should have access to your Google Account and any important data that comes with it.
To make device parameters more streamlined, Google came up with the feature nearby that allows you to quickly connect with smartwatches, earplugs and other gadgets without fine-tuning with your Bluetooth settings. That's not all because the feature also allows external services and sites like stores to communicate with your phone to offer you relevant ads and discounts.
Although this feature does not yet have traction, there may be a time when your S9 will be bombarded with advertisements and offers for goods and services such as Colgate toothpaste and movie tickets as you pass shops and theaters while walking around. Of course, the potential for more unwanted ads is likely to be more annoying than exciting, so you may want to disable this feature.
Settings> Google> Nearby
So, go to the menu above and press the switch at the top of the screen to disable the feature, remember that it will kill the Fast Pair feature available on some Bluetooth headsets. If you want to keep this functionality when you remove potential ad messages, click on the gear icon at the top of the Nearby menu, select both "Links" and "Popular Links" and then disable "Show Messages" switch for both.  20th App Preview Messages
App Preview Messages is a feature developed by Google that allows you to receive messages from apps that you have not installed on your S9. The Google Duo is a great example of this feature, where a person who sends a text message (or video call) uses the app, provides a message message at the end that invites you to install and use the app.
Settings> Google> App Preview Messages
Of course, the potential for receiving unwanted messages can increase drastically with this feature enabled. If you want to avert future headaches, follow the above menu and just press the switch at the top of the screen and then press "OK" on the pop-up button to turn off the function.
This article has been produced under the Gadget Hack's special coverage for smartphone privacy and security. Watch the entire privacy and security series.
Don't miss: The 4 best phones for privacy and security