The post-Snowden age has seen a growing awareness about online privacy, as well as an explosion of interest in mobile privacy and security apps for everything from communication to anonymized browsing, ad-blocking, anti-tracking, and anti-virus tools. Check out 15 of our favorite mobile privacy and security apps below.
Open Whisper Systems' Signal (Android, iOS) is a fantastic messaging solution for security-conscious mobile users. It is a free all-in-one messaging and voice-call solution that uses end-to-end encryption. You can send text messages, voice calls, group messages, media and attachments to your phone contacts, all without having to mess with PIN codes or special login credentials. Ease of use and strong, open-source, regularly audited encryption makes it a favorite of the security-conscious, with accolades from Edward Snowden and other privacy advocates. User-friendliness without compromising on security makes Signal a good option for users looking for an encrypted messaging and calling app.
Silent Circle is a trusted provider of secure-communications software and hardware, such as the Blackphone, and it has also developed its own secure mobile-messaging platform. Silent Phone (Android, iOS) provides encrypted video and voice calls, as well as encrypted, self-destructing messaging and file transfers. Encryption keys are held by subscribers themselves, not by Silent Circle, so while your encrypted messages may pass through Silent Circle's network, the company can't read your data.
Wickr Me (Android, iOS) is a free end-to-end encrypted-messaging app that allows users to send private, self-destructing messages (text, photo, video and voice) to other Wickr contacts. It takes user privacy seriously, using strong encryption and deleting metadata such as geotags and message times, and users can configure how long it takes for messages to self-destruct. A Secure Shredder included in the app even allows you to erase attached files, messages and other data to prevent recovery. There's also a $100,000 bug-bounty program for anyone who gets in touch with the company to point out a security flaw.
Telegram Messenger (Android, iOS) is another, free secure-messaging app that targets even less tech-savvy users. Once you've linked a Telegram account to your phone number, you can use the app to send fast, encrypted chat messaging over the cloud, with client-server encryption for standard chats. A Secure Chat mode provides end-to-end encryption so that only you and your intended recipient can read it. You can even set messages to self-destruct. You can share videos, documents and participate in group chats of up to 200 users.
A standout password manager on desktop, LastPass also features mobile support for subscribers to LastPass's premium service. The LastPass Premium app (Android, iOS, Windows) is a password vault, strong password generator and browser all rolled into a single mobile app. Users can sync their password vaults, and then have the LastPass browser automatically fill in forms and login details when surfing the Web and accessing sites, either through the in-app browser, Safari or Chrome. Users can also generate new passwords, as well as add or update their list of Form Fills, Sites and Secure Notes.
MORE: Best Password Managers
Intel Security's True Key (Android, iOS) has introduced some neat features to help it stand out from other password managers. True Key's got the usual password manager features, such as an encrypted password vault protected by a master password, as well as a password manager and encrypted notepad. Like other password managers, True Key can take advantage of a phone's fingerprint scanner, but in addition, it can also use turn your selfie camera into a biometric sensor so that you can log in with your face, which is a pretty neat feature. Free users have full feature access and can sync up to 15 different logins, with a premium subscription ($19.99) providing unlimited login synching.
SpiderOak's (Android, iOS) main selling point is "zero-knowledge" private cloud storage. SpiderOak gives users end-to-end encryption; data both in transit and stored in SpiderOak's servers is fully encrypted and can be unlocked only with your password, which is not stored by SpiderOak. If anyone wanted to see your folders and data, he'd see only numbered containers and encrypted data. The free plan offers 2GB of storage; $10 per month provides 100GB extra, with even more available at higher prices.