Smartphones are now an everyday part of our lives. Whether it’s storing contacts, photos, music or even your shopping list, our phones take care of a lot of the things we do - which is why it’s so important to keep them as secure as possible.

Sadly, not enough of us are taking the simplest precautions to protect our phones from attacks that can occur while we’re browsing, as well as from thieves out in public.

Unfortunately no solution will keep your devices completely out of the web villains’ sights, but it’ll certainly go a long way to preventing some issues. These tips are really easy to follow, so why don’t you help secure your phone now?

Tip 1: Make sure your phone is up to date

With any software, you should keep it up to date to prevent hackers from taking advantage of bugs in older versions. The same applies for smartphones, so ensure you’re running the most recent version possible of your operating system.

To check your operating system is up to date on Android, slide down and click the settings cog.

Secure your smartphone

Go to the bottom and tap About phone.

Secure your smartphone

Then choose System updates.

Secure your smartphone

The process may vary on some Android phones if your manufacturer has modified it with a ‘skin’, but it should be similar.

For details on how to check on an Apple iPhone, click here.

Tip 2: Don’t open links in texts from untrusted sources

There have been a growing number of malicious text messages circulating recently, including one known as ‘Mazar’ affecting Android users.

These are unwarranted, suspicious texts which contain link(s) to a website. If you open the link(s), you can open your phone up to all sorts of trouble.

If you get a text like this that you’ve never had before, it’s best to ignore the requests and delete it.

Tip 3: Don’t install apps from untrusted sources

When installing new apps it’s always best to get them from an official app store instead of a random link on a web page. In Android’s case this is Google Play, where apps are tested for any potential viruses.

However, some have got through the net. With this in mind, it’s still important to decide whether an app looks trust worthy. A good indicator can perhaps be looking at the reviews.

Read more about what to look for in our article: Malicious apps: What they are and how to protect your phone.

Tip 4: Use antivirus smartphone protection

Like a PC again, you’ll have greater chance of keeping your phone safe if it is using antivirus software. There are many out to there to choose from in the app stores.

Some notable antivirus apps include Norton Security AntivirusAVG’s Antivirus Security or Lookout Security & Antivirus.

These apps are free to download, but only for limited functions. For the full set of protection tools there are in-app purchases.

Read more in our article: Protect your smartphone and tablet from viruses and malware.

Tip 5: Set up a lock screen password

So we’ve heard about online threats, but what if you lose your smartphone or it’s stolen? The best way to keep petty thieves away from the contents of your phone is by having a lock screen.

Every time you stop using your phone, it’ll ask for a password.

On Android you can set it up by sliding down and selecting the settings cog.

Secure your smartphone

Go down to Security.

Secure your smartphone

Tap Screen lock.

Secure your smartphone

Here you’ll get a number of choices depending on your handset. This can include a regular password, a pin or even a pattern. We’d advise picking a fairly complicated password, 1234 or 1111 are very easy for thieves to guess.

The pattern is a password alternative in that you must draw a quick set pattern each time you want to access your phone.

Secure your smartphone

Tip 6: Turn on smartphone tracking

If the worst happens, smartphone tracking could be a last resort to get your phone back.

Luckily most smartphones let you track your phone, as long as your location is switched on, as well as the ‘remotely locate device’ option. This works by using the GPS built into your smartphone to track location.

With it you have a better chance of retrieving your phone – provided it hasn’t been switched off by someone and there’s still battery keeping the phone on.

On Android it allows you to ring the phone, lock it so no one can use it, or – in the worst case – erase it completely to stop anyone from getting hold of your personal photos and contacts.

 To set it up on an Android device, we’ve got the full instructions here.

Apple’s service is called Find my iPhone, find out more here.

Tip 7: Don’t take any risks – back up your photos

We’ve tried to offer some options to keep your phone more secure but unfortunately cunning hackers and thieves can still find new methods.

What can be really upsetting when this happens is losing photos. Prepare now by using back-up services like BT Cloud, which you can set to automatically back up photos, so that if the worst really does happen, you can at least recover the photos you’ve taken on your phone.

Read more about BT Cloud.

Do you know any other solutions to keep your smartphone secure? Let us know in the Comments section below.