- Although you may think of your Android as a phone, it's technically a very small computer. Like any computer, an Android is vulnerable to viruses and other malware that can damage the operating system and steal personal data. Install a reputable anti-virus app before downloading any other software to the phone. Anti-malware developers AVG and ESET both provide free Android versions of their anti-virus programs; Lookout Security also offers Android anti-virus software.
- The stock Android Internet browser works perfectly well for basic Web browsing; if you want to enhance your browsing experience, however, download and install a third-party Web browser. Browser apps like Dolphin HD and Opera Mini add tabbed browsing capabilities to your Android, while the Skyfire browser allows you to open the full-featured version of a website instead of being restricted to the mobile version. Use the Android version of Firefox if you want to stick with a familiar interface on your device.
- Your Android phone contains all of your phone contacts, as well as emails and other personal data. Losing your Android, or having it stolen, can be a disaster. Install a tracking app on your Android to increase the chances of recovering a missing device. Where's My Droid tells a misplaced Android phone to start ringing; if you send a text message to the app, it returns the device's location using the built-in GPS. AntiDroidTheft and WaveSecure show you the location of your Android on Google Maps, and alert you if someone changes the SIM card. WaveSecure also allows you to remotely erase all of the data on a lost phone.
- A file browser app allows you to navigate the Android's file system without connecting the device to a computer. The Astro File Manager, ES File Explorer and File Manager apps all use intuitive graphical interfaces to navigate the directories on your Android. Use a file manager to move, copy and delete files on your phone's hard drive and SD card.
- Using a Wi-Fi connection instead of the cellular data connection whenever possible helps keep your Android's data bill low. Use the WiFinder app to quickly get a list of all the Wi-Fi networks in range, then connect to an open network. Run the Wifi Analyzer Android app to see a graphical representation of all the networks in the area. To save battery power when you're not using Wi-Fi, add the Wifi Toggle Widget to your Android's home screen, then tap it to quickly turn the Wi-Fi radio off and on.