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10 best privacy apps for Android to keep your anonymity intact
Bitwarden Password Manager
Bitwarden Password Manager is a free password manager with a lot of great features. To start, it has AES-256 bit encryption, salted hashing, and PBKDF2-SHA-256 encryption and that’s a lot better than most. Additionally, your stuff is encrypted on your device before it ever syncs to your other devices so literally nobody (not even the developers) can see your information. The app also does quite well in terms of password management. You can store your various passwords and even create new ones that are a lot stronger than what you probably have now. Finally, the app is open source on Github in case you ever want to see how the app works yourself.
Bouncer is an outstanding privacy app. It even won our best app of the year for 2018. This app lets you automatically remove permissions from apps with very little effort. So, for instance, you want to check in to a place on Facebook. You can enable location permission and then set Bouncer to automatically remove that permission after 15 minutes. Thus, Facebook no longer has the permission ever. Permission management is a great way to protect your privacy from nosy apps. Bouncer makes that process infinitely easier. Android 11 and 12 both have improved the permission system quite a bit and it’s easier to control from the OS than ever before, but Bouncer still has a place for folks who want to micromanage their permissions.
DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser
DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser is one of the most popular privacy apps. The app uses DuckDuckGo as its search engine and it’s one of the friendliest search engines for private use. It does the usual stuff for a privacy browser like forcing HTTPS everywhere, email tracker protection, website and social media tracker protection, and you can close all of your tabs and delete your browsing data at the push of a single button. It even comes with GPC built-in and automatically tells sites you want to opt-out of tracking. It’s not quite as powerful as something like Firefox in terms of functionality, but it’s definitely the most trusted and private web browser on the list.
Firefox is an excellent browser for privacy. It’s mainstream enough to be usable on a variety of platforms and still has things like bookmark and password syncing. However, it also includes native tracker blocking, ad-block add-ons, and some other privacy-minded things. You can even change your search engine if you need to. We used to recommend Firefox Focus for this list, but most of the Firefox Focus features were integrated directly into Firefox. We like that since Firefox is the better of the two browsers in terms of functionality.
Price: Free / $4.99 per year
GlassWire is one of the better privacy apps. It does two things. The app monitors your data usage. That’s useful for those who have metered data on their phone plans. It also shows you the apps using your data in real-time. You can see whenever an app connects to its servers or uses your data. You can adjust your usage or app selection accordingly with that knowledge. It’s great for removing apps that use data a little too liberally for your tastes. The app also has some customization features for monitoring and other stuff. This is a good one folks, and $4.99 per year is basically pocket change.
Musicolet is an interesting music player app. It plays your stored music without any fuss. The app boasts a few decent features, like multiple queues, playlist support, album art, and tag editing. It also manages to do all of this without Internet permissions and that’s a rarity in this space. You don’t have to worry about it using any extraneous permissions or sending any info back to any servers. Music apps don’t typically mess with people’s privacy. Still, it’s nice that an option like this one exists. It’s also a totally free app with no advertising (obviously).
Price: Free trial / $4-$24 per month
VPNs are among the very best privacy apps. They let you connect to a virtual network that hides what you do from the actual network. This basically lets you browse without anyone knowing what you’re doing (or even where you are). We’ll start by recommending ProtonVPN. It’s a free VPN with a no logging policy. It also boasts encryption, full transparency, and more. You can get VPNs with more features and higher bandwidth, but they usually cost money. This one is great for people who just need something to pay a bill online while at the airport or other sensitive tasks that they don’t want their ISP (or anyone connected to public WiFi) to see. There is a premium option as well if you want faster speeds and P2P support. We have a whole list of other excellent VPNs here if you want to look at more.
Price: Free / $50-$75 once
Resilio Sync is an excellent cloud storage alternative for privacy-minded folks. You need a separate computer for this one, though. The app creates a server on your computer and lets you sync files wirelessly between your phone and your computer. You can sync things you’d normally sync to cloud storage like documents, photos, videos, music, and other files. It uses AES 128-bit encryption to prevent hijacking and it never stores any data on a cloud. The app is free for basic use but requires a rather hefty single payment if you want more powerful management tools. NextCloud is another popular option in this space.
Simple Mobile Tools
Price: $0.99-$1.99 each
Simple Mobile Tools is a developer on Google Play. It makes simple mobile tools, obviously. There are a variety of apps available, including a calendar, a gallery, a file manager, a contacts app, a note-taking app, and a few others. These apps use no unnecessary permissions. The gallery app doesn’t need your location, the note-taking app doesn’t need access to your device ID, etc. These are excellent privacy apps that are also functional every day. They don’t have the same level of features as the big names. However, not everyone needs a calendar as powerful as Google Calendar. These are great substitutes for a lot of stock apps that ask for way too many permissions.
Telegram is kind of the gold standard for privacy messenger apps on mobile. It’s so good that several governments have banned the app in a few different countries. That’s a decent advertisement for fans of privacy. The app does the basics rather well and includes 2048-bit RSA encryption along with 256-bit symmetric AES encryption. In short, nobody is reading anything you write here except its intended recipient. You can do individual chats or whole chat rooms if you want to. Additionally, it supports video, image, GIF, and document sharing along with some extra features. Those who want video and voice chat can try Signal Private Messenger as well.
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