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11 Mobile Apps That Provide Privacy Protection

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The average smartphone user is on their mobile device approximately 3.07 hours a day. According to a study by Whistle Out, you’ll likely end up spending almost 9 whole years on your phone. Yikes!

Why does that matter for privacy? 

The more time you spend on your phone — checking your bank account, syncing social media profiles, sending emails, shopping online, etc. — the more likely you are to expose your private information.

But certain apps can protect your privacy on your smartphone, so you don’t accidentally share too much or let advertisers follow you around.

Below are 11 mobile apps that help you better control your privacy. All of them are available on both Android and iOS except one, and most of them are free.

1. DuckDuckGo

It’s no secret that Google tracks you and your search history like a hunting dog, so the developers of DuckDuckGo wanted a less invasive option for searching the web. This private search engine can replace Google or Bing and it doesn’t share your searches with other websites. It also doesn’t send timestamps of your searches or details about your device to anyone. And it’s ad-free.

Cost: Free

Available on: Android and iOS

2. Firefox Focus

For some, a privacy search engine isn’t enough. Those who want to go a step further need a mobile web browser designed for privacy. Firefox Focus is Mozilla’s web browser app and it works overtime on protecting your privacy. With this browser you can block ads, analytics, and social trackers. Firefox Focus also lets you wipe out cookies, browsing history, and stored passwords with a single tap.

Cost: Free

Available on: Android and iOS

3. Bitdefender Mobile Security

Security apps aren’t quite the same as privacy apps, but having an anti malware or antivirus app on your mobile device is still a must. One of the best you can get is Bitdefender Mobile Security, which offers rock-solid malware protection, a VPN, a malicious website blocker, and it doesn’t drain your battery. It also comes with an app lock and WiFi scanner. The only downside? It’s not free. But with this level of protection, the $15 yearly price tag might be worth it.

Cost: $15 per year

Available on: Android and iOS

4. VPN

There’s many reasons to use a VPN, including on your mobile device. Most major VPN services offer a mobile version that you can download on Android or iOS. Check out our VPN comparison and collection of VPN reviews to see which one is best for you.

5. Signal

Many popular messaging apps today use end-to-end encryption, but you can do better than that. Whatsapp uses encryption but it’s owned by Facebook, a company that loves sniffing out your data, so how much can you really trust Whatsapp? Instead, you can use Signal Private Messenger by Open Whisper Systems. It has end-to-end encryption of course, but it’s also open-source, so anyone can look at the code. And it doesn’t store any logs of metadata — at all. No lists of members, group icons, names… nothing.

Cost: Free

Available on: Android and iOS

6. Fing

Fing is a WiFi scanner. What does a WiFi scanner do? It reveals if other people are accessing your WiFi network. If you see a device that you don’t recognize connected to your network, it could be someone bumming free WiFi. Or it could be a hacker trying to steal your data. Fing may not be a privacy app you use as regularly as the others on this list, but it’s definitely useful.

Cost: Free

Available on: Android and iOS

7. Access Dots

On iOS 14, you get an alert when an app tries to access your camera or microphone. Access Dots is an app that does the same for Android. It’s extremely simple, but still a powerful privacy tool.

Cost: Free

Available on: Android

8. Jumbo

Getting tired of juggling privacy permissions on social media? It’s not easy, especially when platforms are constantly changing policies and settings. That’s where Jumbo comes in. With a single app, you can manage how much you’re sharing with social media platforms, including limiting ad personalization or deleting old posts.

Cost: Free and paid versions

Available on: Android and iOS

9. Norton App Lock

App locking is a feature that lets you block access to certain apps without a passcode. But your smartphone already has a lock screen with a passcode, right? Why would you need to further lock individual apps on your phone? How about for that time you gave your young niece your phone to play with while you were babysitting and she accidentally opened your Tinder account and started swiping? Norton App Lock is a useful tool to have if you ever have to share your phone with someone else, including coworkers.

Cost: Free

Available on: Android and iOS

10. Hushed

Sometimes, you need a temporary email address or phone number to create an account you’d rather not have associated with your real name. The mobile app Hushed is like a burner phone, letting you create a temporary phone number so you can hide your real one.

Cost: Free

Available on: Android and iOS

11. LastPass

The most secure passwords are long and random series of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks that are impossible to guess. But that also makes them impossible to remember without a password manager. LastPass lets you securely store passwords and other personal information. You can use it on mobile and desktop as well.

Cost: Free

Available on: Android and iOS

These days, there are a lot of ways your privacy can get compromised on your mobile device. You shouldn’t have to forfeit your privacy to use your smartphone. With these privacy apps, you won’t have to.

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