Your smartphone is capable of gathering and collecting personal information. As such, malicious hackers are always looking for ways to break into your phone to gain that valuable information. Meanwhile, big tech companies and governments are actively developing discrete methods of tracking you through your smartphone.
Thus, it is important to protect your smartphone’s privacy and security. However, it can be daunting to do that if you don’t know where to begin. With many privacy and security guidelines out there, it can be confusing where to look for protection.
Luckily, it’s easy to make your phone more private and secure. These tips are easy to do, and can be accomplished in an hour. Remember though, that the level of protection varies for different people.
These tips aren’t intended for the privacy paranoid. Instead, they act as tips on ensuring that you have the baseline privacy and security protection for your smartphone.
1. Change your device’s privacy settings
“It starts with you,” so the saying goes. The same tip also applies to making your device more private and secure. You have to start by changing your device’s setting.
Unfortunately for you, some default settings actually harm your device’s privacy and security. For example, your device may have analytics turned on by default — this violates privacy by sending data to third-party companies without your consent.
Changing the default privacy settings in iOS is simple and intuitive. All you need to do is to head over to the Settings app and scroll to the Privacy menu down below. Here, you’ll see a lot of things that you can change.
On the Android side, you’ll usually find the privacy settings for your device on the list of menus under your phone’s settings app. Like in iOS, you’ll see a lot of things that you can change to make your device more private.
These include limiting or opting out of ad personalization, turning off analytics, and changing notifications to display only the app name.
2. Review individual app permissions
Most apps that you use every day ask for permissions. These act as barriers that stop apps from mindlessly retrieving sensitive data.
Treat permissions as a powerful tool for safeguarding your privacy and security. Likewise, most permissions are important enough that you need to be more mindful of what apps you’re allowing and not allowing.
Common permissions include access to the camera, microphone, contacts, SMS, and location. There’s no exact rule to determining what permission should be allowed for an app.
However, as a general rule of thumb, know first the advertised function of a certain app. A calculator app shouldn’t ask for your microphone if, in the first place, it doesn’t tout voice input as a function.
For messaging apps, you’ll obviously need to allow contacts and SMS access. These apps will also need the camera and microphone access for video calling purposes.
Social media apps commonly require access to contacts, camera, and location. Meanwhile, utility apps should have minimum permissions from the get-go.
3. Use a VPN
You may have heard about someone using a VPN to unblock shows from Netflix or view restricted websites. Basically, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) routes your connection to multiple servers around the world. As such, you also end up with an IP address that hides your real location.
This is a huge deal especially for some websites or services that hide content depending on a user’s location. It’s also a boon for your privacy and security.
VPNs also protect your privacy by feeding false location information to most advertisers on the web. Most websites today have ads that track users wherever they go. Companies have sophisticated methods of tracking and building user profiles. This violates users’ privacy and security.
There are a lot of VPN services to choose from in this day and age. However, some VPN services actually leak sensitive information. On top of that, some of them have monthly data allocation and speed caps.
Configuring VPNs is easy. You just have to follow the instructions given by your selected VPN provider.
4. Install messaging apps with encryption.
We use messaging apps to stay connected with our friends and families. However, not all messaging apps are built equally.
Some messaging apps don’t implement end-to-end encryption (E2E encryption), allowing malicious hackers and third-party companies to access your valuable information without your permission.
End-to-end encryption protects your valuable data by making your messages hard to read for hackers and companies. That means that even if a company that owns a messaging app gets hacked, they will only see random blobs of data instead of other people’s messages.
By now, most messaging apps in the market use end-to-end encryption. However, most apps only encrypt your data while in transit, which means that your message is safe while it travels across servers.
The messages that reside in your device aren’t encrypted at all, so hackers and companies can retrieve any information using sophisticated methods such as apps that harvest data in the background.
There are quite a good number of messaging apps that offer full E2E encryption. One of the most popular is Signal — a messaging app used by the famous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. You only use a mobile number to create a Signal account, mitigating the need for emails and passwords. It also has quite an extensive list of features that even rival Facebook Messenger.
5. Consider using a secure browser
Chances are, the browser that you’re using today is Google Chrome. Many people use Chrome since its fast, simple, and just works.
However, it’s also one of the worst browsers to use for safeguarding personal privacy and security. After all, it is owned by Google. It’s common knowledge by now that Google thrives on a business that doesn’t totally safeguard your privacy and security.
There are other browsers out there that offer a better private browsing mode. Among them is Mozilla Firefox, which offers tracking prevention by default. Firefox’s tracking prevention blocks ads and other web elements that try to gather personal information as you browse the web.
You may have also heard of Tor Browser. Using Tor Browser is recommended if you want your browsing activity to be more private and secure. Keep in mind though, that browsing is much slower since it routes your network connection to different servers all around the world.
6. Store passwords with a password manager.
In this day and age, you should be using a password manager to manage your website logins. After using one, you’ll wonder why you haven’t used one sooner.
Password managers are convenient. Most of them feature one-click autofill which automatically fills in your username and password in the corresponding field. You’ll no longer have to enter your information manually. On top of that, you protect your privacy against snoopers.
Most password managers can also generate strong passwords for you. You don’t have to think about what unique word you’ll use when asked for a password.
More importantly, you no longer have to reuse an old password which just increases the chances of a hacker gaining access to your accounts. Some even have a password monitor feature, which alerts you if the password you used was retrieved by hackers.
BONUS: Don’t give your personal info in an instant
This sounds simple but it’s something that we need to share with everyone. Especially our loved ones who don’t know better about giving out their personal information.
This not only applies in the digital world but also in the real world. After all, someone is bound to mishandle or abuse your personal data. The best course of action is to always ask if sensitive information is needed at all.
As a rule of thumb, always exercise caution when giving out personal information. If possible, limit any personal information to your name, email address, mobile number, and approximate location.
Making your device more secure and private doesn’t have to be tedious. These simple tips are easy enough to follow but will ensure a more private experience for you and your device.
These tips, however, only scratch the surface. Ensuring your device is private and secure is a proactive approach that requires one to be cautious of their data at all times.
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon 2022: Freelancer’s partner
A glimpse of freelancing life
Being a freelancer means you have to stay conveniently connected on-the-go. Some people think it’s all carefree days and not much work. While sometimes, that can be true, you don’t get to enjoy that flexibility without putting in hard work first.
To shed some light on this and clear up common misconceptions, I want to share a sneak peek of a day in my life as a freelancer. I will be taking along the latest Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon designed on the Intel® Evo™ platform. Hopefully, you’ll see why it’s the perfect laptop for those looking to elevate their freelancing career.
Power and portability made handy
Freelancing offers a very flexible lifestyle as long as you make sure all the work gets done. To get my creative juices flowing,I like exploring new places to get inspiration for fresh ideas. That means, portability is an important consideration for the gadgets I use for work.
The newest Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbonis ultra lightweight (968grams to be exact) and ultra-slim (14.mm thin), making it super handy. It also easily fits my 13-inch handbag along with my other things.
What’s most impressive is how much power it packs despite its petite frame. Like the earlier version of the device we reviewed nearly two years ago, this one’s also an Intel® Evo™ certified machine. The Intel® Evo™ badge signifies the perfect combination of features and technologies, tested under everyday conditions for an exceptional experience that lives up to its expectations. That means it’s been tuned to deliver the best of Intel.
The one I’m using is specifically powered by a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 2.1Ghz processor. It even has 16GB of RAM and 512GB of internal SSD storage. It literally has more power than I need in such an easy-to-carry body. Exactly how I like it.
Display that’s easy on the eyes
I find early mornings to be my least productive hours. So, to help me get through them, I check my email and phone messages while having a quick brunch. It helps that the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon’s PureSight Display makes skimming through my inbox easy on the eyes. The laptop has the usual TÜV Rheinland low-blue light certification which the brand achieved through the Eye Care Mode feature that reduces the blue light emitted by the screen. This goes a long way in protecting our eyes.
The display also has a silky smooth feel and flow to it. The 90Hz refresh rate on the 2.5K (2,560 x 1,600) screen is just lovely to interact with. It really helps make scrolling through web pages and documents feel smoother. The aspect ratio (16:10) is just about the sweet spot for working, helping boost my productivity even further.
Practicality and the ‘lifestyle’ aesthetic collide
My energy usually peaks mid-day so this is when I usually set online meetings and presentations. I enjoyed the Yoga Slim 7i Carbon’s anti-glare matte finish display because even in bright sunlight, I experienced no issues with my face reflecting back at me. It also helps that it has up to 400 nits of brightness making the screen visible even in brighter environments.
The matte moon-white color is stunning and complements all my other things. I feel a little extra presentable during meetings because of its minimalist design.
While I typically stop working at 4:30PM, I don’t shut down my laptop just yet. I often check back in, respond to emails, and sometimes get back on the laptop to do a little more work before calling it a day. I’m stunned at how quickly Yoga Slim 7i Carbon switches on the moment you flip the lid with no need to press any button.While the device doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner, it is equipped with Windows Hello face-recognition using the webcam.
Having to work at different locations, it also helps that Lenovo has thought about privacy and security. One of my favorite features on the Yoga Slim 7i Carbon is the Smart Presence Detection. Essentially, it knows whether I’m still looking at the laptop or not. When I need to step away to get my refreshment fix, the display automatically locks and it also unlocks just as easily when it knows I’m done going AFK.
Durability and flexibility assurance
The Yoga Slim 7i Carbon is a barely-there laptop, perfect for those who have to carry their laptop around all day. Lenovo says it offers military-grade toughness, too. This is based on the nine tests that the company has undertaken, including drops from a 76cm height, dust-resistance and the laptop’s ability to withstand extreme temperatures. Impressive stuff.
While bigger can be better for others, I prefer lighter. Even a well-designed smaller, lighter laptop has its struggles somewhat to shift heat over a well-designed larger one. So yes, there is at least a slight performance hit related to this laptop’s design.
With the 3-Year Lenovo Premium Care and 3-Year Accidental Damage Protection that also come with every purchase, you won’t have to worry about taking your device to service centers should you encounter problems since Lenovo offers 24/7 chat and on-site support.
Hassle-free, smooth workflow anywhere
The Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon seems like an ideal choice for those who want a reliable hybrid work computer. It’s small, lightweight and has plenty of power to let you complete most everyday work tasks.
On top of that, it’s also a stylish yet minimal device that fits nicely into most working (and non-working) environments. Based on my limited hands-on time with the device, it’s a solid machine for modern-day workers including myself.
It’s tiny but powerful and it’s perfect for my life as a freelancer. With its long battery life and innovative features, I’m not worried about my efficiency despite juggling multiple tasks.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Lenovo Philippines.
Samsung’s Flip Phone Innovation Over The Years
All before the Galaxy Z Flip craze took the world by storm
Admit it or not, most of us have become so used to smartphones looking a lot like one another. Some spec bumps, design refreshes, camera cutout changes, that’s about it. That’s all in a span of a year or as short as six months.
While smartphone designs won’t be as exciting as how it was before with feature phones, Samsung made jaws drop when their foldable prototype became a retail product as a result of years of R&D (research and development).
In a crowd full of slender glass and polycarbonate slabs, Samsung has created the Galaxy Z Flip not just to make a new breed of smartphone, but also to bring back what people miss — the excitement in phone design.
It started when people suddenly missed the weirdly-addictive feeling of clamshell phone clasps every time someone ends a call conversation. This 2022, it’s satisfying as it is on the new Galaxy Z Flip4.
It’s the nostalgia kicking
Back when I was in grade school, I’m quite different than kids of my age. While most 7-year-olds enjoy their time with crayons, coloring books, or games (either physically or digitally), my mind and eyes were focused on gadgets like phones. Whenever we go to malls, I collected a lot of phone brochures to the point where a salesman scolded me.
Also that specific period in time, most people prefer Nokia phones over anything else. Still, I dreamt of having at least one Samsung phone — a Samsung slider, not the flippy ones.
The phones above are just some of the Samsung phones I fantasized to have — i620, G800, E870, U700, S8300 UltraTouch, and most especially, the U900 Soul.
While I became more interested in tech due to Nokia and their XpressMusic plus N-series phones, Samsung’s slider phones were the game-changer for their classy and sleek designs that other manufacturers failed to bring to the table. It even came to a point when Samsung became obsessed with having the thinnest phone — the Samsung U100 Ultra Edition II at just 5.9mm.
But what about flip phones? If memory serves me right, the first Samsung phone I’ve ever seen in real life was my late aunt’s Samsung X640. It wasn’t as appealing to me but for a 2005 clamshell, it’s decently-looking compared to the Nokia 6101 with that bulging antenna that my third-grade professor in computer class flexed a lot. Albeit, that Nokia was a seller with its two displays.
TMI but I just thought that if my aunt is still alive, she would be rocking the latest Samsung phone — either the Galaxy Z Fold4 or the Z Flip4. Just putting this here since she contributed a lot to why I became a gadget nerd.
To All The Samsung Flip Phones I’ve Loved Before
Right before the foldable craze started, Samsung was already in the game for their fashion-forward feature flip phones. So why not take a trip down memory lane with me and mesmerize yourself with some collection of Samsung’s best-looking clamshell phones over the years.
For the classy
From 2008 all the way to 2019, flip phones with gold accents paired with faux leather or replicated diamonds are the classiest-looking phones ever — at least in Samsung’s phone-folio.
Samsung E500 (2006)
It may not be as popular as it looks in 2006, but it’s definitely one rare phone. It’s perfect for making a bold statement with gold and jewelries.
Samsung L310 (2008)
While it heavily reminds me of the Nokia 7390 from 2006, during this time, it’s already one of (if not the) Samsung’s classiest-looking phones ever.
Samsung i9230 Galaxy Golden (2013)
The first Android flip phone title probably goes to the Samsung W999 that came in 2011, but the Galaxy Golden still made huge waves overseas as an elegant-looking Android phone trapped in an old clamshell body. It may not be the best Android phone of its time but hey, at least you get twice the Super AMOLED display and a pseudo-premium leather feel and look.
Fun fact: Samsung is the only phone company that still manufactured more than five foldable phones past the “dumbphone” era. Thus, there were already Android-powered Samsung flip phones right before the debut of the Galaxy Z Flip line in 2020 — the W999, i9230, W2014, W2015, G9198, plus the W2016, W2017, W2018, and W2019 in the succeeding sections below.
Ditching the faux leather backs and trimmings, the W2016 and W2017 are the Flip phone versions of the ever-popular Galaxy S6 and S7. As evident as how the gold shines on their glass front and back up to the frame, these phones were popular in China that only a handful can afford — from CNY 9999 to a huge jump of CNY 20,000 (roughly US$ 1402~2804 / SG$ 2017~4034 / PhP 82,132~164,281).
Samsung brought back the black and gold combination with the W2018 and W2019 — which are also the Flip phone variants of the Galaxy S8 and S9 due to the similar hardware — such as the dual-variable aperture camera found both on the W2019 and Galaxy S9+.
The W2018 alone had a retail value of a jaw-dropping CNY 15,999 (US$ 2200 / SG$ 3227 / PhP 132,000 in today’s conversion rate). Fortunately, the first Flip (that made its debut a year after W2019 was launched) wasn’t as pricey and not limited to the Chinese market anymore.
For the quirky ones
Some may find them weird, others may think they are attractive. Either way, Samsung still sold these phones towards a niche market.
Samsung Nori F (2010)
The LG Lollipop (2009) took the interest of many young Asians because of how cute the phone is. Paired with the ever-eargasmic hit song ‘Lollipop’ is by 2NE1 and BIGBANG (which is also nostalgic to me as a veteran K-Pop fan), Samsung decided to create its direct rival with the Nori F.
Nori might mean “seaweed” in the Japanese context but 놀이 (nor-i) means “play” in Korean. Cool enough, Samsung made four playful colors, each highlighting one’s style while still showcasing the quirky three-array LED panel that can do sorts of pixelated, animated magic.
*It’s the loudest phone I have today as my alarm. The alarm works even if the phone’s off 🤯
Samsung P900/P910 (2006)
Feature phones during 2006 were either basic-looking or just plain “weird”. With swiveling phones becoming one of the go-to designs, Samsung has made a clever way to not just take and display landscape photos, but also to create a pocket-friendly product that can also broadcast TV shows directly.
Samsung Serene (2005)
One of Samsung’s most historic collaborations is making a phone with the popular audio company Bang & Olufsen (or commonly referred to B&O).
While Nokia continued to make waves with their XpressMusic phones and Sony Ericsson had Walkman phones, this particular venture resulted to the creation of Samsung Serene as a special-designed music device and flip phone in one. I’m just guessing the wordplay came from “Serenity” or the state of calmness and peace — which is also correlated to music.
Back then, it costed as much as US$ 1275 (roughly SG$ 1834 or PhP 74,692), a price tag no one would bat an eye due to the ever-growing list of affordable feature phones.
For the ultra-sleek and minimal
There are these clean-looking flip phones, too. You might have even seen them before but you just can’t tell because Samsung just had confusing phone names.
Samsung E870 (2006)
As said multiple times, 2006 phones are either basic-looking or just fascinatingly weird. But the Samsung E870 was compelling due to its cleaner, more minimal design with flat edges and larger, squarish keypad. Flip phones that time were nothing but bulging wedges with most having their thick antennas sticking out — Samsung neither an exception.
Samsung X520 (2006)
While the E870 is a clean slate, the X520 is more eccentric and irresistible due to its curves and a tempting color scheme that reminds you of wine and chocolate. Even the duotone keypad reminds you of a chocolate bar of some sort. I’m just guessing that their E-series stands for “Elegance” and X is for “Xtraordinary”.
Samsung U300 (2007)
And while already on the topic of Samsung’s past phone naming schemes, the U-series definitely stands for Samsung “Ultra Edition” series of phones — way before they used it on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
The U300 stood out to me mainly because Samsung highlighted its thin form factor at a measly — you’ve guessed it — 9.6mm. If you’ve paid attention earlier, this is the flip phone that joins the Ultra Edition II series of Samsung: the U100 (5.9mm candybar), U600 10.1, and the U700 12.1 (the sliding phone I wanted to have) altogether.
Samsung S3600 (2008)
A year after, Samsung has released a flip that’s as classy as the U300 with its chic, brushed metal cover. But instead of the thin form factor and a “better” 3.2MP camera, you instead get a 1.3MP camera, microSD card slot, and a bigger battery at a more enticing price range.
Samsung Master Dual (2014)
For the record, 2014 was when Samsung launched the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4 (also the year when the first GadgetMatch video on YouTube was released). But in South Korea, some people just can’t seem to adapt to the oddly-large smartphones — especially the elderly.
The Master Dual running Android was Samsung’s answer. It was then followed by the Galaxy Folder and Folder2, just without that nice external AMOLED display.
For the Fashion-Forward
F means a lot in Samsung’s vocabulary: Flip, Fashion-Forward, Female, or just those with utmost Fascination to anything Floral.
Samsung C3520 (2011)
This is the same year when the Galaxy S II and the first-ever Galaxy Note were released. Samsung launching this floral-studded flip phone is just a testament that large smartphones are really not for everyone — at least in 2011.
Samsung S5150 Diva Folder (2009)
Back in the time when companies wanted to catch the attention of female consumers, fashion-centric phones like the Diva folder would make the cut.
Love it or hate it, this clamshell phone is definitely made for the true diva. The ultra-reflective and glossy plastic material of this phone reminded me of the trending smartphone cases that looked puffed and inflated.
Samsung E420 (2006)
Another 2006-born phone that made it to this feature is none other than the Samsung E420.
During its launch, it’s one of the most affordable in the “La Fleur” line — which happened to be Samsung’s fashion-inclined line of phones. However, looks can really be deceiving as it only offered looks without support for Bluetooth and MP3 while its rivals considered them as necessities.
The new breed of Flip phones
Almost fifteen years apart, we are now in the time where smartphone technology is continuously evolving while the foldable technology is still in its young stage. Still, Samsung has truly paved the way in making the foldable dreams come to a reality.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip / Z Flip 5G (2020)
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and Z Flip 5G are one of the pioneers in the clamshell-type foldable category. While the first Samsung foldable title goes to the Galaxy Z Fold line that cater the business-minded and professionals, the Z Flip was made with the youth in mind. However, its steep launch price of US$ 1380 / SG$ 1998 / PhP 79,990 isn’t really meant for the Gen Zs and borderline millennials (like me).
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 / Z Flip3 (2022/2021)
Ah, finally! The Galaxy Z Flip4 (together with the similarly-looking Z Flip3) are Samsung’s latest line of foldables, or rather, folding flip phones. With a more cutting-edge design, tougher hinge and display, longer battery, and better cameras all in a compact foldable form factor, the Galaxy Z Flip4 can surely stand out from the crowd.
Best of all? It’s more within the reach at US$ 999.99 / SG$ 1398 / PhP 53,990 — a lot cheaper than the Samsung Serene, W2018, and most definitely, the overly-priced W2019.
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