How private do you keep your phone?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: December 27, 2012


Phones, to me, are very personal things. We make them easily recognizable to us by customizing the outside, the wallpaper, and the ringtones. We use them to talk to the people closest to us, and they hold a ton of personal information. For some, a lock is deemed necessary to keep unwanted persons out of our phones (like when we're at work, or in an unfamiliar public setting for example). For others, the phone could be as open as a book. How private are the contents of your phone?

There are pros and cons for me to keeping my phone unlocked, as I do. Although I would like to have the security of knowing my personal information is kept mostly safe in the case of a theft, I also have to consider the other elements in my life; my biggest obstacle keeping me from locking my phone is my toddler. I can’t count the number of times my phone has become disabled because my son tried ‘4444’ one too many times when the password was, in fact, not ‘4444’. Although I never set my lock to wipe my device when unsuccessfully attempted 10 times, being locked out sometimes became an inconvenience.

Of course, by keeping my phone unlocked, any information stored in the device is subject to theft. I’m fairly certain most people who would try to steal my phone don’t have a real need for the contacts in my phone or the grocery list I made earlier in the week on my Notes app, but I could be wrong. Honestly, all a person would have to do is wipe the device and hope I don’t report it as stolen. Or flash it to another carrier. There are ways around locks anyway. I don’t have important enough information in my phone to keep it locked.

Even if you don’t lock the phone in its entirety, though, there are other elements one is able to lock through the use of some apps. Some apps allow you to put passwords on other apps that you might not want somebody else getting in to. I actually think this should be a stock feature in all platforms, as not everybody wants to lock the entire phone (like me). Some apps come standard password-protected, such as Facebook or Netflix, so long as you remember to sign out after each session (I don’t) but at least the feature is there for those who need to use it.

One security feature I do prefer, although not part of most phones, is the use of tinted screen protectors. I’m not exactly pleased if I have to stop using my phone because of some nosey person in line next to me, but I did find that the use of tinted screen protectors made me feel better about people not being able to see what I’m using on my phone. It does give some peace of mind, even if it makes the screen a little bit harder to see in sunlight. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers I guess.

What are some ways that you keep the contents of your phone private? Do you keep the entire device on lockdown, or do you keep your phone open? Are there any accessories or apps that you use to keep activity on your phone out of reach of unwanted persons? Let me know in the comments!