The 11 Best Privacy and Security Apps for Android

Secure your messages, phone calls, and personal data

Hackers and stalkers can intrude into your private business from your email account, text messages, files, browser history, photos, and other items on your smartphone. These Android apps keep your communications, browsing history, data, and additional private information safe and secure.

All of the apps below should be equally available no matter which company makes your Android phone, including Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, and others.

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Signal Private Messenger website

Signal Private Messenger uses end-to-end encryption to keep your messages and voice chats private. It doesn't require an account; you can activate it using a text message. After you have the app set up, you can import the messages stored on your phone.

You can also use Signal to exchange unencrypted messages or voice calls with non-Signal users, so you don't have to toggle between apps.

The Signal app is free with no ads.

Signal texts and calls use data. So, be mindful of your data limits and use Wi-Fi (with a VPN) when possible.

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Telegram Messenger

Telegram Messenger website

Telegram works similarly to Signal but offers some extra features, including stickers and GIFs. There are no ads in the app, and it's completely free. You can use Telegram on multiple devices, although only on one phone. Unlike Signal, Telegram doesn't allow you to send messages to non-users.

All messages on Telegram are encrypted. Plus, you can store chats in the cloud or make them accessible only on the device that sent or received them. The latter feature is called Secret Chats, which can be programmed to self-destruct.

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Wickr Me

Wickr Me website

Wickr Me offers end-to-end encrypted text, video, picture messaging, and voice chat. It includes fun stickers, graffiti, and photo filters. It also has a shredder feature that permanently removes all deleted messages, images, and videos from your device.

Like Signal and Telegram, Wickr Me is cost- and ad-free.

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ProtonMail website

ProtonMail is an email service based in Switzerland. It requires two passwords, one to log in to your account and the other to encrypt and decrypt your messages. Encrypted data is stored on the company's servers housed under 1,000 meters of granite rock in a bunker.

The free version of ProtonMail includes 500 MB of storage and 150 messages per day. The premium ProtonPlus plan bumps up the storage to 5 GB and the message allotment to 300 per hour or 1,000 per day. The ProtonMail Visionary plan offers 20 GB of storage and unlimited messages.

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Silent Phone - Private Calls

Silent Phone website

If you regularly use your phone as a phone, ensure your calls have the same level of protection as your texts and emails. Silent Phone encrypts your phone calls, offers secure file sharing, and has a self-destruct feature for text messages.

A paid subscription includes unlimited calls and messages.

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DuckDuckGo website

DuckDuckGo is a search engine with a duck for a mascot and a twist: it doesn't track your search activity or target ads to you based on your data. The downside to the search engine not collecting information about you is that search results aren't as tailored as Google's. It comes down to choosing between customization and privacy.

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Tor Browser

Tor Project website

The Tor browser protects your privacy by preventing websites from identifying your location and individuals from tracking the sites you visit. To use Tor, you need an accompanying app such as OrBot to encrypt your internet traffic.

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Ghostery Privacy Browser

Ghostery website

Say you checked out a pair of sneakers on Amazon but didn't buy them. Now you see ads for those same sneakers on every site you visit, as though they're a ghost following you around. Ghostery minimizes the access to your data used by the ad trackers that enable this process. You can view the trackers and block any you're not comfortable with.

The app also allows you to quickly clear your cookies and cache (which further helps minimize the ghost factor). Also, you can choose from eight search engines, including DuckDuckGo.

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Avira Phantom VPN

Avira website

Open Wi-Fi connections, such as those offered at coffee shops and public places, are vulnerable to hackers who can tunnel in and capture your private information. A VPN such as Avira Phantom VPN encrypts your connection and your location to keep snoops out.

Avira Phantom VPN offers up to 500 MB of data monthly and ups that to 1 GB if you register. Phantom VPN offers free and paid apps.

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Adblock Browser

Adblock Browser website

Ads help many websites and apps pay the bills. Some ads are often intrusive, obstructing something you're reading or getting in the way of a good user experience. This situation can be especially frustrating on a small screen. Worse, some ads contain tracking or malware.

As with its desktop counterpart, Adblock Browser for Android allows you to block all ads and safelist the sites you like to support.

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Passing your phone around to share pictures or handing it to your child to let them play a game may make you a little uncomfortable, and it's easy to understand why. Anyone with access to your phone has the potential to see something you don't want them to see.

AppLock enables you to keep apps you're not using locked with a password, PIN, pattern, or fingerprint. Locking your apps provides an added security layer if your phone is lost or stolen and someone manages to get past the lock screen. You can also use it to secure images and videos in your Gallery app.

AppLock uses a random keyboard and invisible pattern lock to avoid giving away your password or pattern. You can also prevent others from disabling or uninstalling the app.

Applock has a free, ad-supported option, or you can pay to get rid of the ads.

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