Things to Never Store on Your Smartphone

Back in the day, leaving your house meant you needed to carry your wallet, which almost always contained cash and credit cards, a picture form of ID, your insurance card, photos of your kids, and maybe even a spare check. Today, all most people need is their phone. That’s because our smartphones have become a master archive of our personal information. The fact is, there are things you should never store in your cell phone, because that information could leave you vulnerable to an invasion of privacy, identity theft, and straight-up theft. Here’s what you need to think twice about storing on your smartphone: 


PASSWORDS: The irony of passwords is that they’re supposed to make our data secure, and because we’re cautioned to never use the same password more than once, we need some sort of cheat sheet to remember them all. However, if you were to lose possession of your phone, someone might easily see your cheat sheet. Instead of keeping a list of your passwords, consider downloading a well-rated password manager such as LastPass or Dashlane, so that all of your passwords can be accessed by you using one strong master password. 


YOUR FACE: Anyone who has struggled with getting their phone to recognize their face when they’re holding their phone at a weird angle might argue that storing your face in your phone as a password alternative is more secure than a fingerprint. While that may be true when it comes to unlocking your phone, the fact remains that facial recognition is still less secure than simply using a password. 


PHOTOS CONTAINING PRIVATE INFORMATION: Remember the days when losing your wallet meant reconstructing your whole life to figure out which credit cards and forms of ID you needed to cancel and replace? Now, all you have to do is take a photo of each item and store it on your phone, but that can leave your information vulnerable to hacking. Consider storing them on a personal computer only you have access to, and/or a password-protected album or app. 


YOUR ONLINE BANK ACCOUNT: The convenience online banking affords comes at a cost: your privacy. Carrying your bank account with you on your phone means that you’re risking losing control of it in the event you lose your phone. To manage the risk, you might consider avoiding doing your online banking on your phone. Instead, do it on a computer that never leaves your home. 


YOUR HOME ADDRESS: Storing your home address on the navigation apps you use most makes getting home from anywhere super-easy and convenient, but it can also leave you vulnerable. If a thief ends up with your phone in their physical possession, they can simply click on Waze or Google Maps and see what you’ve stored as “home,” or “work.”