Your mobile device can hold a lot of personal
information about you. So it’s important to know
how to prevent unwanted access to your mobile
device and associated accounts.
Quick tips for mobile safety
1. Know the basics
- Set your web browser to private or incognito mode so that pages you visit don’t appear in your history (note: if there is spyware on your phone, browsing is never secure).
- Create a strong, easy-to-remember passphrase for each of your accounts, containing three or four words, some capital letters and punctuation. Try not to use the same password/passphrase for all your accounts.
- Don’t allow your device to remember passwords/passphrases or sign-in to accounts automatically, and keep log-in details to all of your accounts private and safe.
- Auto-lock your mobile device with a passcode.
2. Minimise location sharing
Smartphones can track and may sometimes share your location without you even knowing it. To minimise location sharing we recommend that you:
- Check the location services in your mobile device’s settings and know which apps are accessing your location.
- Turn off geo-tagging for photos.
- Control which apps can access your location.
- Decline location access wherever possible when downloading new apps, unless you’re sure that the app needs to know your location for basic operation.
3. Keep social media private
Most sites and apps allow users to limit what others see. So regularly check the privacy settings on all your online accounts, especially social media.
And to stay safe, don’t share your location when posting, nor ‘over-share’ details about your identity, life or location.
4. Increase your phone's security
- If you have an Android, limit your phone’s ability to download apps or software outside of the Google Play store by turning off “Allow installation of apps from unknown sources” under Settings, Security.
- Use two-step log in for your accounts. Two-step log-in, or two-factor authentication, provides an extra security measure that asks for a security code, which is sent to you via email or mobile. This means that if an unauthorised user tries to access your account, they won’t be able to, even if they know your username and password.
5. Check for connected devices
Most smartphones have an email account associated with the phone. For iPhones, this is your Apple ID (iCloud). For Android phones, this can be your Google Account. These accounts can be linked to multiple devices that could access your personal information. Check to see if other devices are connected to your account and remove unknown or unwanted devices.
6. Turn off and log out
- Turn off Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth if you aren’t using it.
- Log out of accounts when you are not using them – whether you logged in using the web browser on your mobile or through an app.
- Close apps when you are not using them.
Other safety measures
Signs you are being monitored
- Does the person seem to know most of the things you do on your phone?
- Does the person seem to know your location whenever you have your mobile device with you?
- Does the person have access to your mobile device, social media accounts, bills or passwords?
- Remember that there are many ways someone can monitor your phone activity, such as accessing your accounts or tracking your location with a GPS tracker.
If you think someone may be monitoring your mobile device, and you need to block them immediately, put your device in ‘flight mode’.
Limit your usage
If you think it is not safe to make changes to your device, then limit the amount of information you are sharing using your device and consider using public telephone boxes, a friend’s phone or computers at your local library instead.
Safe Connections Program
We partner with the Women's Services Network (WESNET) to help women impacted by domestic violence stay safely connected.
Telstra Broadband Protect
An easy way to help you and your family stay safe online on any device connected to your Telstra home broadband service.
Help and resources
Call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) to speak to an experienced professional from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service – it’s confidential and available 24/7
Our Cyber Safety section has more tips on how to stay safe online and protect your privacy.
WESNET’s Safety Net Australia develops resources for victims of domestic violence on technology-facilitated abuse, covering a wide range of topics, from computer security to mobile safety to online privacy.
eSafetyWomen is a full service offering for all Australian women – from those who are at risk, to frontline professionals, to women looking to safeguard their use of technology.