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AP Photo/Wally Santana

How to keep your smartphone info safe and secure

Nobody wants their phone to be stolen, or lose it, but if it does happen, make sure all your info on it is backed up.

IT’S SOMETHING THAT we never think will happen to us, but the chances of your phone being robbed or getting lost is higher than you would expect.

With over 12,000 mobile phones stolen in the last year, you should take some measures in case it does happen to you further down the line.

Considering how much information we store on it, it can be very worrying when it happens, but there are a number of steps you should take first to ensure you’re not left in a panic.

Set a lock code

An obvious one, but at the very least, your phone should require a code to unlock it.

All phones set PINs as the default choice, but they’re not the most secure method. If you’re a iPhone and Windows Phone user, you can create a more complex password – similar to the passwords you use to log into your email or social media accounts – through settings.

Android users have that and more to choose from including a pattern password, and face unlocking, which while handy, isn’t as secure as you would expect.

iOS and Windows Phone users have the option of wiping the phone clean after a number of failed attempts.

imageAn example of some of the type of lock codes you can place on Android.

Limit access on the lock screen

iPhone and Android users can access the control center or widgets straight from the lock screen. While this is handy for you, it could also allow someone who stole your phone to access your phone. You can turn these features off in settings.

Activate Find My Phone

All smartphones have a find my phone feature that allows you to control your phone remotely as well as track its location. Through it, you can either get it to ring, lock your phone, or erase its data entirely, but you need to activate the feature first.

The option can be found in settings. For iPhone users, it’s under iCloud. Android users can find it under Security and Device Administrators, while Windows Phone users can find it under settings.

Once you’ve that done, you can activate it from your browser. Remember that the phone must be switched on for the feature to work. However, if the phone is turned off, you won’t be able to track it.

imageHow the find my phone feature works for iOS.

Backup all data

Something that you should do after you’ve updated your phone with your contacts, schedule, photos and any other necessary information is back it up as soon as you get the chance.

You can backup your data on your computer, on the cloud, or on both. iOS, Android and Windows Phone all have their own cloud versions and once you have it connected to the cloud, your phone will automatically backup your data when it’s connected to WiFi, locked and connected to a power source.

While these services are useful, it’s recommended that you connect up to Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft Skydrive as well so that all new photos, videos other documents are uploaded each time.

Which one you settle for is entirely down to preference, but it’s worth mentioning each service offers a different amount of data for free as well as paid services. Here’s what the three main cloud services offer:

Dropbox – 2GB (increase to 15GB when you complete tasks)
Google Drive – 15GB
Microsoft SkyDrive – 7GB (Currently offering an extra 20GB for the year if you sign up before the end of January)

Get your phone code

If you enter *#06# on your phone, it will bring up its International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. This is important as the code allows your service provider to deactivate your phone straight away.

Take a note of it and store it in a place where you can easily access it, in case your phone is stolen.

If you don’t have it, you can still get your provider to deactivate your phone once you give them the necessary details, but having your IMEI number will make things go faster.

Always be alert

When everything is said and done, it’s essentially down to you to ensure it’s safe. Apply common sense to the situation and keep your phone on you at all times.

If you keep it in your bag, you won’t know it’s been taken until it’s too late so have it in your pocket or in front of you so you always know where it is.

Read: Everything you should know before shopping online >

Read: EU passes deal on universal mobile phone charger >

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