Securing your device helps to prevent your evidence being tampered with, stolen, or deleted and also minimizes the risk of anyone seeing your personal information It’s best to secure your device as soon as possible and before starting to document the abuse. Someone could also gain access to your information if they get into your online accounts, even if they don’t have access to the device itself. This is why it’s also important to secure all accounts that have personal information.
Note: If you are concerned that you are being monitored, turning some features on or off may alert the abusive person of these changes. If securing your device feels unsafe, consider using another device for sensitive content that they don’t have access to.
Here are some strategies to secure your device and accounts:
Note: Clicking on links will open your browser and pages you visit may then be visible in your web history on your device. If this is a safety concern, you can visit www.TechSafety.org on a safer device to access this content.
This app requires you to set up a passcode. You can also add a lock to the screen of your device for additional security. Locking the device itself will make it harder for someone to look through your phone, access your accounts, or install something malicious. If your device gets stolen or you lose it, it makes it harder for someone to get into it. Most phones and tablets ask for a 4-digit passcode, but some offer other options for security. The more complex and unique, the harder it will be for someone to access your phone. Learn more about strong passwords for apps and accounts.
Check Your Privacy & Security Settings
Most phones have settings that will help you manage your privacy and safety. You can find these controls under the device settings. You can also adjust the privacy and security settings of other apps on your device, including access to your location, pictures, contacts, and more. Learn more about phone privacy and security.
Log Out of Apps and Accounts
This app will automatically log you out if it is idle or your phone is in sleep mode. Other apps may keep you logged in by default and require you to manually log out. For increased privacy, log out of accounts with sensitive information when not in use and don’t use the setting that saves your password and keeps you logged in.
Go Through Apps and Other Settings
There are many ways your personal information is tracked, logged, and shared on and through your device. Go through the device to make sure you know and use all the apps that are downloaded and that you’re ok with all the permissions the apps require (what they have access to). Check the settings on apps and turn off any that you’re not comfortable with. Google Maps, for example, may show your travel history – even at times when you weren’t actively using the app. You can also turn off features like Bluetooth and Location Sharing when not in use to maximize privacy and security.
Protect Your Number
To keep your number private, minimize how many people have it by using a virtual number, such as Google Voice, when you need to give a number out. This could be for a mechanic, a store discount card, or to someone you’re just unsure about giving your real number to. A virtual number allows you to make and receive calls and texts on your phone, but while using an alternative number and keeping your real number private. Google “virtual numbers” to see options.
Learn More About Technology Safety & Privacy
Technology can be misused as a tactic of abuse, but can also be strategically used to increase our privacy and safety. Learn more below.