Privacy is a big deal these days. Facebook is all over the place with Congress and the whole Cambridge Analytica thing. People are more aware of their privacy (or lack thereof) than ever before. So lets break it down. Privacy apps do one of two things. They keep others from seeing what you do and they let you see what companies are doing to you. We have a healthy mix of both in this list. Let’s check out the best privacy apps for Android!
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Applock by SpSoft
Price: Free / Up to $4.99
An Applock is an excellent privacy measure. There are a bunch of them. However, we’ll recommend SpSoft’s. It doesn’t matter really, though, as they all do the same thing. It prevents unauthorized people from entering apps on your device. It’s important to note that these apps aren’t flawless. You can bypass one with enough effort and time. They do a good enough job to keep out snooping friends or kids, though, so it’s good for that level of security. Many of them are free with an optional pro version as an in-app purchase. Some of them also include additional features like taking photos of people who enter your password wrong.
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 Q has some good permission features coming, but Bouncer is still the app to try for long term management.
Firefox Focus is another excellent web browser with privacy in mind. This one does a little more than most of its competitors. That includes blocking a wide range of common web trackers and advertisements. The developers say that this also improves browsing speeds as well. Its hallmark feature is a one-button wipe function. You simply press a button and your browsing history goes away. That’s a neat little trick. This one is entirely free to download and use.
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.
K-9 Mail is one of the few trustworthy email apps. It’s totally free and also open source. Thus, you can see what this app actually does. It includes most of the desirable features for an email app. That includes support for most email services, archiving, and even Exchange 2003/2007 support. It also works with the OpenKeychain: Easy PGP app. That adds encryption to the mix as well. That’s about as good as it gets in this space, even though it requires two different apps. ProtonMail is another excellent app in this space.
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 / $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.
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.
If we missed any great privacy apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments below! You can also check out our latest Android app and game lists by clicking here!