When you Google Search the term security apps, you get a ton of antivirus and anti-malware app listings. Unfortunately, that’s a very narrow view of what’s out there. There are tons of apps that can boost your security. Most of them are fairly easy to use and don’t use a ton of resources. Here are the best security apps currently available on Android.
Android Device Manager is an anti-theft service. It should be on every Google Android device (as long as it has the Google Play Store). You can access yours anytime by going to the Google Settings in your device’s settings menu. Once activated (it should be by default), you can head to the ADM website and do all sorts of things. That includes locating and wiping your device. You can even have it set off an alarm so you can find it. The service is entirely free. There are better anti-theft options. One such example is Cerberus. However, you likely already have this one installed. It’s one of the must-have security apps.
Applock is one of the more useful security apps. It works by locking down various apps. Once activated, you’ll have to enter a PIN in order to keep going. This is good for families with kids. Alternatively, it’s a good way to keep a nosy friend from goofing around your phone. It’ll even keep thieves out if your phone goes missing for a little while. However, it’s not a great single solution for that. Enterprising individuals can get around it with enough time. Still, employing lock screen security with this is a really good one-two punch for phone security. It’s free with advertising. You can donate to remove ads if you want to. You can also turn the ads off and use the light version of this for free.
DuckDuckGo Search has made positive waves among the security and privacy crowd. It’s a search engine similar to Google, Bing, or Yahoo. However, its claim to fame is that it doesn’t track your search history. That means you don’t have to worry about a company looking at what you search for. The app works well enough. It has some ads, but they’re not bad. It’ll also compile some news for you if you’d like. It doesn’t get grouped in with security apps very often. However, it’s great for those who want to search in privacy.
Ghostery is one of the best browsers around. The app will show you trackers and ad networks that every website employs. You then have the option to turn them off. Think of it like DuckDuckGo above, but for every website and not just one. The browser itself works pretty well in most scenarios. It won’t beat any speed records, though. This is one of the great security apps for those who want to browse the Web in privacy. It’s about as good as it gets unless you go with Tor or a proper ad blocker.
GlassWire is one of the newer security apps. It lets you see what apps are consuming your data. You get a live graph that shows how much data your apps are consuming. Additionally, you’ll get alerts to let you know when a new app is sucking down some data. This is a great way to see how much data each of your apps is using. It’s also a great way to see any strange activity that may be happening in the background. Its main use is to make sure you don’t hit your data cap. Still, seeing a random app you don’t know about grabbing something from the web can be extremely telling.
LastPass is one of the best password manager apps out there. It lets you store site passwords, PINs, and other sensitive info for quick recall. It’s all hidden behind a master password of your choosing. It’s infinitely safer than just putting that info almost anywhere else. You can also pick up LastPass Authenticator for additional security. It’s powerful and it’s cross-platform. The free version should give you most features. The pro version adds some features, some syncing options, and more. It’s one of the must-try security apps out there. If LastPass isn’t doing it for you, we have our list of the best password manager apps list linked at the top of the page!
Resilio Sync lets you create your own cloud storage. The computer version turns your regular, everyday computer into a cloud storage server. You then use this app to access files. Think of it like Google Drive or Dropbox, except you know where the files are stored. This is great for more sensitive data. It’s also great for those who don’t trust online cloud storage, but still want the versatility of having it. The app is easy, even for beginners. It’s also entirely free. It’s one of the most underrated security apps.
Android has a surprisingly good number of options for private messaging. Signal Private Messenger, Telegram, and WhatsApp are all excellent choices. Each service has end-to-end encrypted messaging, video calls, group messaging, and file sharing. From there, they differ in their feature sets. It’s really just a matter of finding the one that works for you. The challenge will be to get all of your friends and family on to one of these services. However, they’re all free so at least you won’t have to worry about that. Encrypted messaging apps like these make for excellent security apps as well.
The Tor Project is probably one of the more obvious choices for security and privacy on almost any platform. Unfortunately, their Android apps aren’t as robust as their computer offerings, but they’re slowly getting there. For now, you have access to Orfox which is the Tor browser on Android (still in beta!) and Orbot which is a proxy app that helps other apps use Tor’s technology to remain anonymous. The browser is still under construction and anonymity can’t be guaranteed, but Orbot is definitely a solid app worth grabbing. The project also recently released Ooniprobe, an app that lets you see if your Internet is blocking your connection to some sites. These are all excellent security apps for those who are a little more advanced.
No security apps list would be complete without a VPN and we chose TunnelBear. Its ease of use and accessibility make it great for beginners and novices since we assume experts probably have a more elegant VPN solution anyway. TunnelBear lets you VPN into a variety of countries which effectively hides your IP address from the sites you’re using. VPNs also allow you to use public WiFi with more security and we like the little tunneling bear animations. The free version grants 500MB of browsing free each month. You can also get unlimited data for $6.99 per month or $49.99 per year if you pay up front. This is, of course, one of many VPNs and we have more linked up below!
If we missed any of the best security apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments!