Chrome privacy settings on Android: Tight level

Learn how to change your privacy settings on Chrome using Android. These steps adjust your privacy and security settings to Tight level protection.
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Check your Google account settings

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Protect your Google account

If you use Chrome with a Google account, the safety of your data in the browser depends directly on your account's security. Therefore, check your Google account settings in addition to your browser settings.


How to protect yourself from malicious websites and programs

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Enable automatic browser update

What for: To keep your protection up to date.

Chrome developers consistently add new features and fix vulnerabilities, so it is important to use the latest version of the app. Make sure you have automatic update installation enabled on your smartphone:

  1. Open Play Store;
  2. Tap your avatar in the right part of the search field;
  3. Go to the Settings section and select Network preferences;
  4. Tap Auto-update apps;
  5. Choose if updates should be downloaded: while connected to any network or over Wi-Fi only;
  6. Tap Done.

Downside: All apps, not just Chrome, will be updated automatically. This may use a lot of traffic.

Use incognito mode

What for: To leave no tracks.

The browser usually saves information about the pages you visit, the passwords you enter, the permissions you give, and some website data. If you want to hide these — for example, when using someone else's phone — browse in incognito mode. While in this mode, Chrome will delete all passwords, browser history, and site data immediately after you close all program windows launched in incognito mode.

To turn on incognito mode:

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select New Incognito tab.

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How to keep corporations out of your business

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Disable account syncing

What for: To stop Google from storing info about your Internet activity on its servers.

Chrome allows you to sync your browsing history, passwords, and other account data across all devices signed in to your Google account. For example, when you bookmark a website on your smartphone, you'll be able to find it in the bookmarks section on your PC. To enable this, Google saves your personal information on its servers, including the pages you visit, the tabs you have open, URLs, and other information. If you don't want to share your information, you can disable syncing.

To turn off syncing in your current browser:

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Sync section;
  4. Disable the Sync everything option.
  5. To delete all account data from a device (for example, if you signed in to your account on someone else's smartphone), select Sign out and turn off sync. In the window that opens, check the box next to Also clear your Chrome data from this device and tap Continue.

Sync may still continue to work on other devices — for instance, if you have it enabled in Chrome on your computer.

To completely disable this feature and delete all saved data:

  1. Open the Data from Chrome sync page;
  2. Sign in to your account;
  3. Scroll down, tap Clear Data, and confirm your choice.

Google will delete your account information from its servers and sync will be disabled on all devices.

Downside: You won't be able to access passwords, bookmarks, and other Google account data from other devices.

If you don't want to disable syncing entirely, choose which data to sync:

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Sync section;
  4. Disable Sync Everything and uncheck boxes near the data you don't want to sync.

Disable data collection for browser performance improvement

What for: To keep information about how you use the browser away from Google.

Users can automatically send Chrome developers the URLs they visit, search queries, browser error reports, and other data. Developers claim that this helps them improve app performance and fix bugs. However, it means that data about your browser activity will be stored on the company's servers. If you don't want to share this information, disable Google Services syncing.

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Google services section;
  4. Disable the following:
  5. Autocomplete searches and URLs;
  6. Help improve Chrome's features and performance;
  7. Make searches and browsing better.

Stop browser from tracking your location

What for: To prevent Google from knowing where you go.

The browser can access your phone's location services to use the information for more precise searches and add choices. For example, if you want to book a table at a restaurant, the top search results will be of places near you. To enable this, Chrome transmits your location to Google servers, which puts you at risk of a data breach. To stop the browser from accessing this information:

  1. Go to Settings on your smartphone;
  2. Go to the Apps & notifications section;
  3. Select App Permissions;
  4. Tap Location;
  5. Find Chrome in the application list;
  6. Select Deny and confirm your decision.

Downside: Search results may be less accurate.


How to protect your data

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Delete saved passwords and disable automatic login

What for: To prevent strangers from accessing your accounts.

When you sign in to a website, the browser prompts you to save your password. This allows it to fill in your login credentials for you next time. However, if someone gets their hands on your phone, they'll be able to sign in to any of your accounts that has a password saved in Chrome. To rule out this possibility, disable autofill and delete your passwords from the browser.

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Passwords section;
  4. Turn off Save passwords feature;
  5. In the Passwords list, tap the name of the site with the password you'd like to delete;
  6. Tap the trashcan icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

To delete all passwords:

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Privacy and security section;
  4. Tap Clear browsing data;
  5. Go to the Advanced tab;
  6. Select a time range — the period for which the data shall be erased;
  7. Select Saved passwords and tap Clear data at the bottom of the screen.

Downside: You will have to manually enter logins and passwords every time you sign in.

You can avoid the inconvenience and improve the security of your accounts using a password manager. Unlike a browser, it does not access third-party resources on the Web, which means it is protected from malicious websites. Moreover, it cannot be hacked through a vulnerable extension or plug-in, while browsers can.

Delete bank card details from Google Pay

What for: To prevent them from leaking.

When you enter your card details in order to buy something on the Internet, Chrome may offer to save them in your Google account. If you visit the same online retailer in the future, the browser will automatically fill in the payment form. This may be convenient, but it gives Google the right to store your payment information on its servers and pass it on to third parties along with your personal details — for example, inform a bank of your location. To delete your payment details: 

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen; 
  2. Select Settings
  3. Go to the Payment Methods section; 
  4. Select the card you'd like to delete and tap Edit; 
  5. In the window that opens, tap Delete under the card. 

Downside: You'll have to manually enter your card details every time you buy something.

To stop the browser from saving your card details automatically:

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Payment Methods section;
  4. Disable Save and fill payment methods.

If you don't want to disable payment form autofill completely, you can store card details on your device. Before adding your payment information, make sure your Google account syncing is turned off, or else this information will end up on Google servers.

To save payment details on your device:

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Payment Methods section;
  4. Tap Add card and enter your card details.

Delete your contact details from Chrome

What for: To avoid exposing your contact information in case of a leak.

The browser can remember your address, place of work, phone number, and other contact details. These are used for autofill on websites and in apps — for instance, when planning routes in Google Maps. If you turn on sync, Google servers will store your contact information, which increases the risk of data leak. You can delete this information from Chrome:

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Addresses and more section;
  4. Tap the address you want to delete;
  5. Tap the trashcan icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

Downside: You will have to enter your address and other contact details manually.

To disable automatic address saving:

  1. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen;
  2. Select Settings;
  3. Go to the Addresses and more section;
  4. Disable Save and fill addresses.


What would have happened if you had chosen another privacy level?

Privacy level
?

Relaxed

Basic privacy settings, maximum convenience.


Medium

A golden mean respecting privacy matters but preserving convenience.


Tight

A choice of security over convenience; instructions contain a lot of details.

Relaxed
Medium
Tight
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