Smartphones are so ubiquitous in our daily lives that it is easy to forget they only started to take off in 2007, with the launch of the first Apple iPhone.
And they are becoming even more useful with each successive generation, being used for an increasing range of purposes – the release of Apple Pay stands as testament to that, as smartphones may soon even replace our bank cards.
However, this means that they also store more of our personal information than ever before, so security is an increasingly important consideration.
This is nothing to worry about – but making a habit of a few simple security considerations is worthwhile.
Install antivirus and anti-malware software
Most computer users would not think of running their system without some form of antivirus and anti-malware installed.
While this may not have been necessary on old feature phones, it is certainly important on the more sophisticated smartphones of today, which are often always online.
With this in mind, installing such security software is essential. Most reputable antivirus software firms offer an app version of their desktop computer offerings.
Simply choosing the app from the brand you're most familiar with is straightforward, and can be a very worthwhile security consideration.
'Do Not Track' in browser
Information is collected from a user when they access websites. This is not normally anything sinister – just using browsing history data to display advertisements that are relevant to your interests.
Google's Chrome browser for Android devices, and Apple's Safari iOS app both allow you to set Do Not Track preferences, which will prevent a site from gathering data.
This is not a guarantee, but many sites adhere to the preferences, and it can function as an extra layer of security for your device.
Enable a Pin code – and keep it locked
With all of the personal information stored on a smartphone – from emails to texts, as well as pictures and potentially even financial details – it is a good idea to ensure it is locked, just in case you lose it or it gets stolen while out and about.
This is a basic point, but it is well worth remembering to keep the device locked, as it will keep theives out – whether this is with a Pin, a password with letters, or even the iPhone's Touch ID security.
Monitor app permissions
When installing an app on your phone, be sure to read what permissions you are granting it access to.
You may trust first-party providers such as Apple and Google, but it is worth taking the extra precaution when installing apps from small providers.
Stay physically secure
In addition to all of the software and online concerns, it is advisable to be aware that thieves can still target you out and about.
Simply keeping your phone in a hard-to-access place such as a deep front pocket of a bag, or a tight front jeans pocket is usually enough – but be careful not to leave your device on a table in a coffee shop, for instance.