Our Top Apps for Privacy Conscious Users
Privacy is becoming more and more important to mobile users. With the amount of personal data we all keep on our phones, it shouldn’t be surprising that most of us would like that data to be as private as possible. However, data leaks and scams not only occur all the time, but also come from some of the most unexpected sources. But if privacy is a big deal to you, then there are apps out there that are more secure than others. So, if privacy is your biggest concern you might want to stop using some of those default apps and switch to some of our recommendations instead…
Replace Your Web Browser with DuckDuckGo
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Most of us use Chrome, a few use Firefox, some just use the average default browser built into their phone. But if you want privacy then there’s really only one choice: DuckDuckGo. Rather than using Google’s search functionality, this browser relies only on its own search engine. It doesn’t track cookies, it doesn’t keep a history of your searches, it hides your IP address, and it doesn’t collect any personal info at all, making it the ideal choice for the privacy conscious.
Okay, we’ll be honest and say that sometimes it’s nice to have your search history and bookmarks available to you, and if you’re searching for something a little less mainstream DuckDuckGo doesn’t always do the best job. On the whole for just regular browsing you might want to stick with Chrome, but for the more personal stuff (or accessing things like your online banking), then DuckDuckGo is a great option. Still, there’s nothing stopping you from having two browsers on your phone.
Replace Your Instant Messaging App with Telegram
WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, instant messaging apps are big business. But if you’re looking for something that actually keeps your messages safe and secure, then you’re looking for Telegram. The app uses three methods of encrypting your data (for the tecchies those are: a Diffie-Hellman key exchange, 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, and 2048-bit RSA encryption), making it extra safe. So even if message data does leak, no one is going to be able to read it. Telegram has over a 100 million active users, it’s free, and as a bonus, it’s also faster than WhatsApp. Why trust your messaging to big business social networks? Telegram keeps you secure.
Replace Your Keyboard with AnySoftKeyboard
If you’re not particularly observant you might not know that your keyboard app is probably tracking the data that you type in. But if you check your keyboard’s settings you’ll find that it requests WiFi and phone privileges from Android. Don’t fancy your keyboard logging everything you write? Then check out AnySoftKeyboard.
This is an open source, free app that doesn’t request an internet connection (meaning even if it did log your data that data couldn’t leave you phone). It’s got all the usual bells and whistles, including swipe typing, predictive text, loads of language options, and tons of themes. Your keyboard shouldn’t need to access the internet, and with AnySoftKeyboard you’ll know that you’re safe.
Replace Your File Manager with OI File Manager
Now that our phones contain so much data, having a file manager means that you can more easily organise that data. A file manager allows you to copy, move, rename and create files, meaning you can always find anything you need. However, nearly all file managers (including built in ones) require internet access. And any time an app wants internet access there’s a chance that your data can leak into cyber world.
The exception here is OI File Manager, which requires no internet permissions at all. What goes through OI File Manager stays on your phone. It’s free, has no ads, and lets you do anything any other file manager does. So this one’s a no brainer in our book.
Replace Your Calendar App with Simple Calendar
Calendar apps are a privacy nightmare. Sure, it might be convenient to have your calendar synch across devices, to have Amazon’s Echo know your meetings and appointments, but again, any time there’s an online connection, there’s a chance of a data link.
If you don’t fancy your info being leaked and you’re willing to do without the convenience of cross device synching and Echo knowing your data, then check out Simple Calendar. It’s free and has no ads and doesn’t use an online connection. By default the app is able to access your contacts and photos (this simply makes it easier to use), but you can disable both these permissions in the settings menu and the app still works just fine.
Replace Your Exercise App with Pedometer
Fitness apps nearly always share data across platforms, social media, and to their parent companies, data that could easily fall into the wrong hands. However, Pedometer won’t. Sure, it’s a simple app, it simply measures your steps and tells you how many calories you’ve burned, but that information stays with you. Pedometer won’t ask for an online connection at all. Plus, it presents all your data in nice little charts so it’s easy to see how much fitter you’re getting. Sadly, there’s no more comprehensive fitness app that’s totally private available at the moment, still, Pedometer is better than nothing.
Replace Your Weather App with Weather
You might not think of your weather app as a privacy concern, yet nearly all weather apps use your phone’s GPS and log your locations. If you don’t want people to know where you’ve been then check out Weather. The app doesn’t log your locations at all. Enter a location into the search bar to get a daily or five day forecast, and when asked if you want this to be a permanent location simply answer “no.” The location history will be deleted as soon as you back out of the forecast page, and no log will be kept of your search history, meaning no one will know where you’ve been.
Not everyone will be interested in all of these apps, and some are more important than others. But if you’re serious about keeping your life and you data private, then you might want to think twice about some of the apps you use.