How to password protect your mobile Nextcloud app

If you use the Nextcloud mobile app, you’ll want to password protect it to ensure you don’t leave your sensitive data open for anyone to see.

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Image: iStockphoto/wutwhanfoto

I’ve grown to depend on Nextcloud for quite a lot these days. So much so, that I’ve even come to find myself using it for more important files and documentation. Given that I have the mobile app on my Google Pixel 4 linked to my on-site Nextcloud server, I thought it would behoove me to give that app an added layer of protection. 

Of course, my Android device already has facial recognition (which is hard to crack), so why would I need to add yet another step in between me and using the app?

Protection. 

That word alone speaks volumes. In this day and age, everything is vulnerable, so why not double down on security? Of course my mobile device is protected, but once that device is unlocked, all apps that don’t include password protection are there for all to see and use.

And so, I dove in to find out if the password protect option was available to the mobile app. Sure enough, it is.

Let me show you how to make this work.

SEE: Managing and troubleshooting Android devices checklist (TechRepublic Premium)

What you’ll need

I’ll be demonstrating on the Google Pixel 4, which uses facial recognition. You do, however, get the choice of how to protect the app.

Speaking of which…

How to protect the Nextcloud app

Open the Nextcloud app on your mobile device. From the main window tap the menu button (three horizontal lines) in the upper-left corner. From the sidebar, tap Settings (Figure A).

Figure A

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The Nextcloud app sidebar on the Google Pixel 4.

In the Settings window, tap App Passcode (Figure B).

Figure B

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The Nextcloud app Settings window.

When you tap App Passcode, a popup will appear (Figure C). 

Figure C

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The App Passcode popup.

There are three options to choose from:

Select either Passcode or Device Credentials. If you select Passcode, you’ll be asked to type and verify a new passcode for the Nextcloud app. If you opt to go with Device Credentials, you won’t have to verify that it’s you.

How to choose?

So here’s the thing: When you opt to use Device Credentials, if someone were to figure out a way to get around your device’s lock screen, they’ll easily get into Nextcloud. If you really want to keep Nextcloud protected, your best bet would be to select Passcode and set a different code than you use for the mobile lock screen. This is especially true if you’re saving sensitive data to your Nextcloud instance. 

Do not tempt fate with this. If you’re housing data on Nextcloud that should not be seen by prying eyes, you want to make sure to lock this down as tight as you can. So, while you’re at it, make sure to not use your birthday, your anniversary, 1234, or any four-digit code of significance to you. Make it random, make it challenging.

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