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20 Privacy & Security Settings You Need to Check Your Google Pixels «Android :: Gadget Hacks

Android's settings menu is actually pretty daunting. There are options for almost everything, so in the sea of ​​various menus and submenus, it's easy to overlook privacy and security settings. On Google's Pixel phones in particular, there are 20 settings that you should double check.

All of these options can be found in the main Settings app. It simply represents what options you should tap, in order. Settings, selecting "Apps & Notifications," then tapping "Advanced" and choosing "App Permissions."

Jump to a section: App Access | Pixel Features | Anti-Theft Options | Google Features

1. App Permissions

Most apps will ask for your permission to access data from your phone, but older apps can still request access when you're installing them. This all-or-nothing approach means that you can not do it. Luckily, there's a way to revoke these permissions after the fact.

 Settings> Apps & Notifications>
Advanced> App Permissions 

The above menu is organized by permission type, so you'll see entries like "Camera," "Location," and "Microphone." If you're worried about any of yours having access to one of these, select the feature from the list.

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

Note that some features in apps may be broken if you revoke access to a certain sensor (19659011). eg, navigation would not work in a map. If this is the case, most apps will simply request access to the sensor again when it's needed. However, older apps may not, in which case the feature would appear to be broken. Android's newer permission system works properly.

2. To fix this app, restore access to the permission from the same menu. Device Admin Apps

Device Admin apps have access to Android API that can remotely wipe the device or enforce policies for exchange emails. For best security, you should only allow e-mail apps, payment apps, remote security apps (eg, Cerberus or Google's Find My Device), or apps provided by your employer on a phone.

 Settings> Apps & Notifications>
Advanced> Special App Access>
Device Admin Apps 

Go through this list and disable the toggle next to any third party app that may have it enabled. If you really want to be careful, you can disable these too – just know that you'll loose the ability to remotely lock and wipe your phone if it gets stolen, and contactless payment may no longer work.

3. Display Over Other Apps

This permission allows apps to show items on top of other apps (think Facebook Chat Heads bubbles or the floating controls that appear when you press your home button while you're in a phone call). While this may seem innocent, malicious apps could potentially use this permission to trick you into pressing a button in another app that you did not intend to tap – for instance, drawing a fake "Cancel" button over to "Install" button. [19659007] Settings> Apps & Notifications>
Advanced> Special App Access>
Display Over Other Apps

Take a look at each app in this menu, but pay close attention to any third-party apps (i.e., apps you installed yourself). On the following screen:

4. If you do not have an opinion, or even if you just have doubts, select it from the list, then disable the toggle next to "Allow display over other apps" on the following screen. Modify System Settings

To give users power Tasker more capabilities, there's a permission called "Modify System Settings" that can be granted. If an app has this permission, it can change Android options like your screen timeout duration. Understandably, this permission has been abused.

 Settings> Apps & Notifications>
Advanced> Special App Access>
Modify System Settings 

Open the above menu and go through the list. If any third-party apps are shown in the following page:

5. Notification Access

Another setting that benefits certain, more powerful apps is the "Notification Access" permission. This one allows you to read all of your notifications, dismiss them, or trigger them. There are plenty of legitimate uses for this permission, but it could be abuse by reading the actual contents of your notifications.

 Settings> Apps & Notifications>
Advanced> Special App Access>
Notification Access 

Again, it's best to take the prophylactic approach here. Open the above menu and look for any third-party (non-Google) apps, then disable the toggle next to them if you do not trust the app's developer. If you have any questions about this app, please read this permission for that specific app.

6. Install Unknown Apps

Android Oreo has changed the way we sideload apps. Instead of having a setting that's allowed to Google Play Store, it's now a permission that is granted to individual apps. For instance, you can download APK using Chrome – you'll have the ability to "Install Unknown Apps" before opening the APK.

 Settings> Apps & Notifications>
Advanced> Special App Access>
Install Unknown Apps 

Evaluate all apps in the above menu. If you're not yourself, sideloading on APK that you download with one of these apps, select it, then disable the toggle next to "Allow from this source." If you're unsure in any way, disable this permission for each app shown, because even if you disable it for an app you should not have, you'll just be prompted to re-enable it the next time you go to sideload to app.

7. Usage Access

Usage access allows you to app to track other apps using and often, as well as your carrier, language settings, and other details.

 Settings> Apps & Notifications>
Advanced> Special App Access>
Usage Access 

Scroll through the list in the above menu. Things like Digital Wellbeing, Device Health Services, Google Play Services, and other third-party apps can safely be disabled here. To do so, select the app from this list, then tap the toggle switch next to "Permit usage access."

8. Wi-Fi Control

The Wi-Fi Control permission allows Wi-Fi on or off, scan and connect to Wi-Fi networks, or start a local-only network hotspot. " While helpful in some niche cases, a malicious app could easily use the Wi-Fi scanning feature to track your location, even without GPS permission.

 Settings> Apps & Notifications>
Advanced> Special App Access>
Wi-Fi Control 

Scan the list of apps in the above menu. Trust, select them, then disable the "Allow app to control wi-fi" toggle.

9. Now Playing

This is a true privacy issue. Pixels have a feature called Now playing that automatically recognizes the names of most songs around you, then shows you the title and artist's name on the Ambient Display and in the notification panel.

This is your phone's always listening to the world around it, which is where privacy comes into play. But what are they ever doing, so they are now being made on the internet.

 Settings> Sound> Now Playing 

From the above menu, simply disable the toggle next to "Show songs on lock screen" and Now Playing wants Be turned off. "Now Playing History," then selecting "Remove all" from the overflow menu in the top-right corner. 19659013] 10th 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 alerts you when you have installed it. This happens automatically, although you can trigger a scan from the "My Apps" section in the Play Store.

 Settings> Security & Location>
Google Play Protect 

From the above menu, make sure "Scan device for security threats" is enabled to help you get the automatic antivirus scanning. The other setting on this page can be either way: "Improve harmful app detection." If this is turned off, Android's built-in antivirus wants to be a little less effective for everyone, but if it's turned on, apps you want to install from the Play Store wants to be analyzed and analyzed.

. 11 Find My Device

If your phone is ever lost or stolen, Google's Find My Device will let you locate it, trigger the ringer at full volume, remotely sign out of your account, or even wipe out the internal storage to protect your data.

 Settings> Security & Location>
Find My Device 

From the above menu, make sure the toggle at the top of the screen is turned on. With this done, you'll be able to find the device you're looking for on your device, or you can find it on your device.

12. Screen Lock

If you do not have a screen lock set up, you should absolutely change that now. If your phone is ever lost or stolen, a screen lock is the only thing separating it from your personal information. From the menu below, make sure to either "Password," "Pattern," or "PIN," then follow the prompts to set the feature up.

 Settings> Security & Location> Screen Lock 

13. Location

Even the most seemingly innocuous data is valuable to advertising companies. If they can compile it, they can pick out a pattern that can be used to deliver better-targeted ads.

 Settings> Security & Location> Location 

Start by tapping "Advanced" in the above menu , From there, choose "Scanning," then consider disabling both "Wi-Fi Scanning" and "Bluetooth Scanning." These features use the GPS location or Wi-Fi routers around you to estimate your location, even if GPS is turned off. While this GPS is being used, it does not need GPS any knowing the location, turn off both of these in addition to the main toggle at the top of the "Location" screen.

14. Google Location Services

Google, so chances are, you trust Google. At the same time, this does not mean you have to collect all the data. Bluetooth® and Wi-Fi-based location scanning.

 Settings> Security & Forums, you can store your location history, share your current location with your friends or family, and use Bluetooth® wireless technology. Location>
Location> Advanced 

Look for the "Location Services" section in the above menu. Select "Google Location Accuracy," and if you do not want to scan your mobile device, check it out at the top of the screen get a location lock via GPS).

Next, go back to the "Google Location History." Indefinitely, disable the "Location History" toggle on the next screen. Optionally, select "Manage Activity".

Finally, check the same menu for the "Google Location Sharing" setting. In here, you'll find yourself in Google Maps – similar to Apple's Find My Friends feature. If you do not want to see someone else, just tap the "X" next to their name here.

15. Reset Advertising ID

Your phone has a unique identifier that anonymously collects information about you. Google uses the data associated with this ID to serve you with more relevant ads in apps and on the web. While the data is not personally identifiable, you can not do anything to prevent the data gathering.

 Settings> Google> Ads 

Visit the above menu periodically – if you can swing it, once a month. From there, select "Reset Advertising ID," then tap "OK" on the popup.

16. Ads Personalization

In line with Tip 15 above, you can opt out of ads personalization. This does not prevent your ID from being used, so you should still periodically reset that identifier. ID:

 Settings> Google> Ads 

From the above menu, tap "Opt Out of Ads Personalization" and make sure the toggle switch next to this entry is set to the "on" position. After that, simply tap "OK" on the popup.

17. App Preview Messages

This one's actually a really cool feature, but it has some minor privacy implications. Google created a system where, even if you have not installed an app, you can still receive notifications from it. Called "App Preview Messages," Google Duo video calls or text messages.

 Settings> Google> App Preview Messages 

If you do not like the potential for random unwanted messages, however, go to the top of the screen and press the "OK" button on the popup.

18. Connected Apps

If you've ever used the "Sign in with Google" option, you'll be able to post an account. Additionally, some services may require access to your Google Account.

 Settings> Google> Connected Apps 

Visit the above menu and scroll through the list. One-by-one, select all the apps, services, and websites that you do not use anymore, then tap "Disconnect" on the following screen and confirm your choice on the popup.

Repeat this process for any other slightest bit of doubt as to whether or not to use your Google account, such as your email address, name, and other personal information. 19659085] 20 Privacy & Security Settings You Need to Check Your Google Pixel ” width=”532″ height=”532″ style=”max-width:532px;height:auto;”/>

 20 Privacy & Security Settings You Need to Check Your Google Pixel

19. Nearby

The goal of Google's Nearby feature is to make it "easy to discover nearby devices and establish communication with them." This is how Pixel Buds can be almost-paired with your Pixel without fumbling with Bluetooth settings, but it also has downsides.

In theory, Nearby can be used by stores, vending machines, and other things amounts to ads. While I have not heard of this a scenario, devices equipped with the right sensors could use this system to send notifications straight to your phone. Thinking of a situation where a Coke machine pings your phone as you walk by – a little creepy, no?

 Settings> Google> Nearby 

If you'd like to be on the safe side, visit The above menu and disable the toggle at the top of the screen, but note that this is a fast break functionality with some bluetooth headphones. Alternatively, if you'd rather retain the feature for the notifications, tap the gear icon at the top of the Nearby menu, then select both "Links" and "Popular Links," followed by disabling the "Show Notifications" toggle for both.

20. Wi-Fi Assistant

Another cool, but a little worrisome. " Google's Wi-Fi Assistant automatically connects your phone to open, unsecured Wi-Fi access points. Wi-Fi networks are looking for the best way to hack at your local coffee shop, so be sure to check this.

 Settings> Google> Networking 

If you'd like to avoid the risk, however, head to the above menu and disable the toggle next to "Wi-Fi Assistant." This feature is only available in German only. Wi-Fi Assistant If you ever saw a key icon with a "G" next to it in your status bar.

This article was produced during Gadget Hacks' special coverage on smartphone privacy and security.

Do not Miss: More Tips & Tricks for Your Google Pixel

Cover image and screenshots by Dallas Thomas / Gadget Hacks

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