Many people don’t consider that there might be sensitive data on their phones, tablets and other mobile devices until they’re lost or stolen, and by that time it could be too late. The average person might not think that there is information on their device to be worried about, but more often than not there is tons of sensitive data that they wouldn’t want to be accessed by strangers. Once someone has lost a device, the sudden realization that a stranger, possibly a criminal, now has access to their email, home address, phone numbers of all their friends and family, and copies of personal photos starts to sink in. The good news is that there is a very easy, generally free, solution to this concern – encrypt your personal devices.

There are a few important things to keep in mind prior to encrypting your device:

  1. You will be required to have a passcode to get into the device. If you lose that passcode, you will not be able to access the device and your only resort will be to factory reset your device (deleting everything on it in the process). With great power comes great responsibility.
  2. You will want to make sure your device is fully charged when you enable the encryption, and it is preferable to plug it in during the entire process to ensure it completes successfully.
  3. In many cases once you encrypt the device the only way to undo the process is to factory reset your mobile device.

The method to encrypt your mobile device depends on the platform (e.g. Android or Apple IOS) and on the version of the operating system they are running.

To encrypt most Android devices, you will go into the Settings menu and then to Security. Once there, you will be looking to enable something called Secure Startup or Device Encryption.

On most Apple devices, you will go into Settings and Touch ID and Passcode. Once there, set a passcode and your device will automatically be encrypted.

As you can see, the process to encrypt your device is usually quick and easy to accomplish and if you ever lose your device you will sleep a little better knowing your information is secure and safe from prying eyes.