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Jo Middleton writer
Jo Middleton Writer, parent, blogger Bristol, GB
There’s a good chance one or two new devices joined your household at Christmas. Maybe someone got a new tablet or phone and, now the initial elation has worn off, you might be thinking about how to keep it protected. Luckily there are lots of things you can consider doing to protect your technology; both to keep your gear in tiptop condition and to keep it being yours.

Get it covered
The first, and most obvious step, it to invest in decent cases and covers. Obviously there are a multitude of choices out there, so try to consider ‘dropability’ as well as prettiness when you decide; in houses with kids, rubber cases may be a better choice than cool leather ones. They may be more expensive, but it’s worth looking at the branded covers and cases too; for example, the iPad Smart Case. This case offers all round protection and it also wakes and sleeps your iPad automatically. For smart phones, screen guards are nigh on essential, especially if you’re planning to downloads apps for your kids to use.

Make your mark
The next step is to think about marking your kit in some way. There are lots of invisible marking kits available, the best known probably being Smartwater. You can get a Smartwater marking kit for around £50 and it can be used to mark possessions in your home as well as your mobile devices. It’s really simple to do but makes it easy then for your technology to be identified should it ever be recovered as stolen or missing.

Back up
Another important step to think about is backing up your data as in many cases losing photos, videos and contacts is the most upsetting thing about losing a phone. The most common way to do this is through a web based back up programme such as Apple’s iCloud; in fact data back-up systems, such as iCloud and Dropbox have also caught out unwitting thieves who have accidently uploaded photos of themselves taken on stolen devices, which were then automatically shared on the victim’s other devices. Most phones these days are supplied with a cable that allows you to back up to your computer too and it’s also worth checking whether your network provides or offers a back-up service.

Gadget insurance
So, once you’ve got that bit covered, what next? Well, if backing up is protection for your data, insurance is protection for the device itself and is a good idea, especially if you’d struggle to find the money to replace your phone or tablet yourself. There’s a very handy guide here on MoneySavingExpert.com, which takes you through all the steps to consider if you’re thinking about insurance.

Tracking apps The final two tips come straight from Avon & Somerset Constabulary who, along with many other forces across the country, suggest that you take these anti-crime steps to protect your precious devices. In this handy video called ‘Has your gadget got APPeal?’, they explain how tracking apps can help to recover your device if it does get stolen; there are also step by step guides on how to install tracking apps on to whatever sort of phone or tablet you’ve got. Some of these apps also include other anti-theft precautions, such as GotYa! for Android, which silently photographs whoever is holding the phone after an incorrect pin entry.

Get registered
The other thing the police suggest is registering your device with Immobilise, the world’s largest free register of possessions. Not only can registering your possessions here increase your chances of getting them back if they are stolen, but it can also help to prevent crimes too. In fact they say that ‘as a direct result of Immobilise there are over 250 cases a week where property is returned or information collected that assists the police in investigating criminal activity involving stolen goods’. So, these steps, along with a bit of good, old fashioned common sense can go a long way to keep your kit safe and sound. Do remind younger users not to advertise their possessions when out and about and don’t leave them lying around yourself. As these devices become more and more common in our lives, it’s easy to laissez faire about them, but just think for a moment how lost you’d be without your smartphone and take a few extra steps to keep it safe. 
 
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