Google privacy settings on Mac: Relaxed level

Learn how to change your privacy settings on Google using Mac. These steps adjust your privacy and security settings to Relaxed level protection.
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How to protect your account from getting hacked

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Set a strong password

What for: So that attackers cannot crack it.

A Google account lets you synchronize music, photos, contacts, and other data across devices. However, if it is hacked, criminals can gain access to all of the data. Another danger is that if someone has access to your Google account, they can remotely lock out any connected devices and erase all data from them.

Make sure that your account is protected by a strong password that complies with the following requirements:

  • Is at least 8 characters long,
  • Contains lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters ($, @, etc.),
  • Is not an actual word or easy-to-guess phrase,
  • Is not the same as your passwords for any other accounts,
  • Does not consist of information that strangers could easily find out (your name, date of birth, pet's name, and so forth — or those of your friends or relatives).

To change the password:

  1. Go to the Manage my Google Account page: https://myaccount.google.com;
  2. Select Personal info in the menu on the left;
  3. Click Password;
  4. Enter the current password for your Google account. If you have activated identity verification using a trusted device or two-step verification, you’ll have to pass the verification step instead of entering a password;
  5. Enter the new password (twice) and click Change password.

Configure two-step verification

What for: Stronger protection against hacking.

You can increase the security of your Google account by enabling two-step verification. Every time you try to log in from a new device, the system will ask for a one-time code. A notification will be sent to gadgets already logged in to the account. Thus, even if someone tries to hack your account, you will still be able to prevent them from logging in.

You can verify a login:

  • Using a smartphone. When you try to log in to an account from an unknown device, a message will appear on the phone with your Google account asking you to verify the login. This is the default method for owners of Android smartphones. You’ll find a list of devices that have attempted to log in but are awaiting verification on the Settings page;
  • Using a one-time code received by text or a phone call;
  • Using a security key, which is a specialized device with a built-in encryption key that connects to a computer for login verification.

To enable two-step verification using a trusted device:

  1. Go to the Manage my Google Account page: https://myaccount.google.com;
  2. Select Security in the menu on the left;
  3. Click Use your phone to sign in;
  4. If you are already using a phone number to log in to your account, select the 2-step verification option, enter the password for your account, and enable the Google Notifications feature;
  5. Click Set it up;
  6. Enter the password for your Google account;
  7. Enable screen lock on your mobile device if you have not done this already;
  8. Click Send Notification;
  9. When a request to log in to the account appears on the screen of the trusted device, click Yes;
  10. Google will suggest selecting a backup authentication method for in case your trusted device is unavailable. To choose to receive the code in a text or a phone call:
  11. Enter the phone number you want to use to receive the codes;
  12. Choose how you want to receive the code (SMS or Phone Call) and click Submit;
  13. Enter the code you receive and click Next;
  14. To select backup codes as an additional verification method:
  15. Click Use a different method.
  16. Print out or download the backup codes.
  17. Click Next.
  18. Click Enable.

If you do not want to use a trusted device, you can choose another method of receiving the code — by text or a phone call:

  1. Go to the Security section;
  2. Click 2-Step Verification;
  3. Click Get started;
  4. Enter your Google account password and click Next;
  5. Click More options;
  6. Enter the phone number that you want to use to receive the codes;
  7. Choose how you want to receive the code (SMS or Phone Call) and click Next.
  8. Enter the received code and click Next;
  9. Click Enable.

You can enable two-step verification using a security key in the same section:

  1. Click 2-Step Verification;
  2. Click Get started;
  3. Enter your Google account password and click Next;
  4. Click More options;
  5. Prepare the security key dongle and click Next;
  6. Connect the security key dongle to your computer. When it appears in the list of devices on your screen, click Next;
  7. Click Enable.

After you have enabled two-step verification, you can add several more login methods:

  • Using backup codes that can log you in even in if your phone is not available,
  • With the Google Authenticator app.

Use a trusted device, an incoming phone call, a special app, a security key, or backup codes for secure additional verification; an attacker can use malware or a communication protocol vulnerability to intercept a text message with a one-time code.


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How to prevent your personal data from being exposed

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Limit the visibility of your profile

What for: To keep strangers from learning too much about you.

Certain data from your account — such as your date of birth, gender, and phone number — is visible to other users by default. To prevent strangers from viewing this information, deny access to it:

  1. Go to the Manage my Google Account page: https://myaccount.google.com;
  2. Select People & sharing in the menu on the left;
  3. Click About me in the Choose what others see section;
  4. Select the fields containing information to which you want to deny access, and specify that only you can see it.

You cannot limit access to certain data, such as photos and names, for example.

Hide your location from others

What for: So that strangers do not know where you are.

Certain Google services can show your location to other users. By default, this feature is disabled. However, you can activate it inadvertently, for example by sending your current location to one of your contacts. Review who is allowed access to your location data and deny strangers access to it.

  1. Go to the Manage my Google Account page: https://myaccount.google.com;
  2. Select People & sharing in the menu on the left;
  3. Click Manage location sharing in the Location sharing section;
  4. In the What others can see section, remove any users who have access to your location data. To do that, click the “X” to the left of their name or pseudonym.


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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