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Secure your mobile

Discover the main risks to mobile devices and how to protect your data.

Useful tips

  • Use a strong password or PIN and make sure your device locks automatically when not in use.
  • Only install apps from locations you trust and apply security updates.
  • Set up a 'remote wipe' feature if available, in case your device gets lost or stolen.

How to secure your mobile

Having a mini-computer you can use anytime anywhere is handy. But portability has its own security implications for your device and data:

  • The smaller and more portable your device, the more easily it can get lost, damaged or stolen.
  • Your data can be intercepted if you connect to insecure or rogue Wi-Fi networks.
  • Portable devices can get hacked and pick up viruses and other malware just like any other computer (even mobile phones).
  • You are more exposed to 'shoulder surfing' when using a portable device in a public place - always check no one is looking over your shoulder or listening in to any confidential conversations.

Securing your smart phone or tablet

Phones get dropped. Pockets get picked. Tablets get left on bus seats. Accidents and mishaps happen. But there are things you can do to protect your data even if your device gets broken, lost or stolen:

  • Always set a password/PIN-protected lock-screen to come on automatically when you are not using your device. Ideally, change the default settings so you can use a longer PIN or passphrase. And if your device has fingerprint ID or other advanced security, use that. On smartphones, encryption is often also enabled automatically when you set up a password/PIN (though do check the user guide for your model).
  • Make sure you have a master copy of any documents you carry or edit on your mobile device saved somewhere else.
  • Install security updates to your device and the apps you have on it. This helps protect the operating system from the latest malware.
  • Don't be tempted to 'jailbreak' your device. What your mobile device can access and download is deliberately limited to reduce your exposure to malware, so overriding these restrictions is not recommended.
  • Only install apps from trusted locations. In practice, this means only using the app store which came with your device - this will be Apple Store, Google Play or Microsoft Store. Never use any app store which offers free (pirated) copies of popular apps - they're frequently loaded with malware.

What to do if you lose your mobile device

Can you put a price on what you store on your mobile device? If you don't protect your mobile device before it gets lost or stolen, the cost of a replacement could be the least of your worries.

Our advice is:

  • Set your device to 'erase data' and/or lock if the wrong password is entered too many times.
  • Set up a 'remote wipe' feature if one is available for your device.
  • If you have lost University data, contact your local IT campus support team for further guidance.

Useful links

Advice and information

Tools to help locate and secure lost mobile devices

Need help?

Male postgraduate student studying in The Studio, Portland Building, University Park


University of Nottingham

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3666
email: Contact us