Like any average individual, most of us heed literally zero importance to the way our hand-held devices (read mobile phones) behave even when not being used. With easily available low cost handsets & a growing internet penetration, the always online mode is a normal pattern. With android based mobile phones being majorly in use especially in the Indian geography, expect each to have a google account.

Android, being a Google product, all android based mobile phones, get a bundled Google console (proprietary software called Google Mobile Services). Quite interestingly, it is embedded into the system and uninstall is not an option. In such a scenario, the most viable settings (MVS) may be resorted to, for a less intrusive experience. The OS does offer the provision to control the settings to an extent, which is possible through a deep dive into the unexplored areas of the mobile phone through Google settings. 

The settings to look for:

  1. Within the Google console, one needs to click on Google icon (G), the Google Search screen appears.
  2. On the bottom right, click on the 3 bars Tab, then Settings -> Accounts & privacy -> My Activity
  3. At this screen, on the top left of My Activity, click on the 3 Bars, you will see Google My Activity pop out.
  4. Click Activity controls, now select what may or may not be required.
  5. At the very bottom of the same screen under Related settings, click on Ads.
  6. On the next screen, you can have it on or off. Having it selected as OFF is suggested as this is from where the user targeting is done.

Now going back to the previous screen (point 5), at the very bottom on the last fold, under Related settings, you have Search settings.

      7. When clicked, it takes you to a new screen where you have search history, recent locations etc which can be managed from over here.

Another very important setting worth checking is Google Account. To keep the same in control, go to home screen. From the home screen, continue the procedure till Step 3.

When you see Google My Activity pop out from left of your screen, click on Google Account. The next screen will show various Tabs like Home, Personal Info, Data & personalization, Security, People & sharing, Payments & subscriptions. The most important options to check are Data & personalization and People & sharing. The selections could be made as per the user preference.

Lastly from the home screen, look for the Settings icon. Within Settings, under the heading SYSTEM & DEVICE, look for Google. Under Google, click On-device sharing & preferably ensure that none is selected here.

By keeping these settings under check & allowing restricted access at being targeted, could allow for a less intrusive use of one’s device. The device can be made as secure as one wants it to, provided caution and more caution is exercised. This way vulnerabilities can be plugged.