Editor’s Note: Sandra Mills is freelance tech, online safety, and security writer. She enjoys downloading and testing out the latest apps.
If you’ve recently purchased a Windows smartphone, then you’re probably eager to begin downloading and using applications through the Microsoft store. After all, there are more than 250,000 free and paid apps ranging from games and planning tools to GPS software and everything in between, as referenced on WindowsPhone.com. Before you begin downloading apps onto your Windows phone, however, there are some important safety tips you’ll want to keep in mind.
Download Apps Only from Reputable Sources
In general, you’ll want to stick with downloading apps from The Windows Store, according to Microsoft.com. While there are plenty of third-party websites and platforms that offer application downloads, you can enjoy greater security and peace of mind downloading through an official and trusted source. This can help you to avoid malware on your Windows phone, which can compromise your personal data and other important information.
You can further ensure credibility of an app developer by reading the user ratings and reviews. It’s best to stick with apps that have plenty of positive ratings from real users. Try to avoid apps that are brand new and have not yet been tested by many users.
Know What Permissions Your Apps Have
Upon downloading an application onto your Windows phone, you’ll receive a notification that will alert you as to the permissions the app needs in order to operate on your phone. You’ll need to exercise caution with this, according to Fox Business. For example, an application that gives you driving directions from point A to point B may need access to your phone’s GPS signal. Other applications, such as social media apps, may ask for permission to access your phone’s contacts. Make sure you’re aware of the permissions any app is asking for before downloading and installing it. Don’t allow permissions to any applications you’re not comfortable with.
Keep Your Phone Updated
Sure, it can be annoying to have to wait a few minutes for your phone to update and restart. However, Windows frequently releases updates to help bolster security and app safety, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with these. You should receive a notification on your Windows phone when an update is ready for your device; Microsoft recommends that you don’t put off installing it. Otherwise, you could be compromising your security when downloading apps, visiting websites, and even opening e-mails. New updates are made to protect your phone against known scams and malware, many of which come directly from untrusted applications.
Exercise Caution with Social Media Apps
These days, social media applications are more popular than ever. For example, Facebook recently reported that more than 100 million people currently have its mobile app installed on their phones. These apps can be a great outlet for staying in touch with loved ones and even meeting new people. However, when communicating with others over the Internet, it’s important to keep some basic personal safety tips in mind.
This is especially true when it comes to dating apps, such as the popular Tinder app (not officially released on Windows yet). Many people use this dating app as a way of meeting potential new partners. However, according to Instant Checkmate you may be putting yourself at risk; meeting up with a person you don’t know can be dangerous, which is why it’s important to always meet in a public place, conduct a background check of anybody you’re unsure of, and keep an eye out for obviously fake profiles.
By keeping these recommendations in mind, you’ll be on your way to safe browsing and app usage on your new Windows Phone in no time.