Bergen County, NJ- Recent statistics show that our smartphones have become the most popular device we use for everyday photography. With over 300 million photos uploaded to Facebook EVERY DAY and another 40 million added to Instagram, we’re snapping at a rapid rate but with different gear than we used just five years ago. This trend in behavior makes sense, as smartphones are our constant companions, capable of handling so many daily tasks, and a built in camera that captures with impressive quality.
The downside to having this technology play such a central role in our daily lives is that, if our smartphone is stolen or lost, someone now has access to our most important data and hundreds if not thousands of photos that might be lost forever. Here are few tips to help you guard and protect your data now as well as what do if your find your smartphone has disappeared.
Backup & Sync Data Now: If you do one thing today, it should be to backup the data on your smartphone now – either to your main computer, online or, preferably, in both locations. For iPhone users, Apple offers iCloud storage, which is a fairly straightforward and seamless method of backup. Apple offers free 5GB of storage, but by today’s standards, you’ll likely need more. Fortunately, the annual price of storage isn’t pricey at $20 for 10GB and $40 per 20GB. You can enable the iCloud through your Settings>iCloud>Storage & Backup>iCloud Backup. If your phone is lost, stolen or damaged, the iCloud transfer to a new iPhone is simple and solid. Your new device will have all the data, apps, photos and messages restored at the last time of the backup.
For Android devices. DropBox and Google+ are both solid options to use to backup your digital photos. However, you may need to use another program such as SuperBackup or Google Restore to handle other items such as calendars, contacts and bookmarks. As Android phones continue to grow in popularity, we’re sure to see additional options available for comprehensive data backup. If you only follow one piece of advice in this article, let this be the one.
Enable Your Password: Yes, having to type in your password when you use your phone can be a bit of a hassle but not nearly as awful an inconvenience as having all your precious data and photos in the hands of a thief. While many thieves will wipe the phone clean of data, they sometimes first mine for information they can leverage to access your private accounts. A simple four-digit password can add another layer of protection and the thief may decide it’s just easier to wipe the data rather than access it. You don’t have your data but at least he doesn’t, either.
Know Your Serial Numbers: Having the serial number is no guarantee that you’ll get your phone back but having that information, called an IEMI or International Mobile Equipment Identifier, to file a police report and to report to your carrier might help identify it if it ends up being sold on the street.
Install a Tracker App: A tracking app is one of the best ways to identify the location of your cell phone and many phones have been recovered due to a tracking app. There are several popular choices such as FindMyiPhone, Lookout and Where’sMyDroid. These apps do require the phone to be turned on and some savvy thieves know to turn the phones off immediately; however, many do not and there’s a decent chance it can be recovered. There are countless stories of phones that have been lost or stolen being recovered through the use of a tracker app.
Ask Your Carrier to Brick It: If your smartphone is stolen, the next call you should make after calling the police is to your carrier. Explain what happened and give your permission to have them ‘brick’ your phone so that it can’t be activated by anyone else, even if they supply a new SIM card. If the phone somehow ends up in another country, your carrier can no longer intervene, but for those phones being used in the US, it’s an important safety step. They might have your phone but there’s not much they can do with it. A small consolation, but knowing the thief may no longer be able to use your phone will provide some piece of mind.
Your phone is a central part of your daily life, so take a few steps to protect it. The effort will be well worth it.