1. Goal 3
  2. Step A

Clean Up Your Mobile Device

Time to take stock of your OS, apps, and settings


What do you mean by cleaning?

In this case, I'm talking about taking stock of what all is installed on your mobile device and removing or changing anything that isn't necessary. The fewer apps and major changes you have in place, the smaller your device's “attack surface” and the more secure your device.

Avoid jail-breaking or rooting your device

I believe that the single most important security decision you can make for your phone or tablet is to leave the OS and App Stores as they come.

Meaning, don't “jailbreak” or “root” the device. It's tempting because it can give you more customization and let you sideload apps outside the App Stores, but you lose a great deal of device security by doing so.

And while you can of course sideload apps on Android devices without rooting the device, I strongly recommend against that as well. I believe that a significant amount of mobile device security comes from sticking to the official App Stores.

If you have jailbroken your device, I recommend wiping and restoring your device to its original state and installing everything from the ground up. I know it's inconvenient, but it's an essential step to take for mobile security.

If you didn't jailbreak or root your device, there's nothing for you to do here. Let's move on to cleaning up your apps.

Remove any unused apps

Review all the apps installed on your device. Are there any that you no longer need or haven't used in a while? If so, it's a great idea to remove them until you need them again.

Here's how to easily do that:

Change permission settings

The app permissions or privacy settings on your device are a great place to check for potential security issues. Anything that doesn't need access to a part of your mobile device should be disabled.

For example, if an app doesn't need access to your documents, contacts, or camera, disabling that permission could help keep you and your device secure if that app were ever to have security issues. This is another great step in reducing your attack surface.

Here's how to review these settings:

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