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Android phones come with many security settings, including passcodes, Google Play Protect, and app permissions. Yet this is usually not enough to fully protect yourself from malware, phishing, spyware, and other cybercrimes. You may want to consider using additional apps to provide extra security to your Android device and data.
Here are the types of security apps available on Android and the top recommendation for each category.
- Best free Android security app: AVG Antivirus & Security
- Best Android VPN app: NordVPN
- Best password apps for Android: Dashlane
- Best phone app for Android: Signal Private Messenger
- Best Android email app: ProtonMail
- Best private Android browser: Brave
Because you may have different needs, there are additional options listed below.
Secure messaging apps
Safe browsing tools
FAQs on Android security apps
10 best Android apps for digital privacy
When it comes to antivirus software, it's important to choose an application that can scan your Android device for potentially malicious apps, downloads, and links. There are several options to choose from — some are even free.
Here are a few of the best Android antivirus apps.
AVG AntiVirus & Security
AVG AntiVirus & Security comes in with a strong 4.8 rating on the Google Play Store. AVG has all of the basic antivirus security features, but it also comes with Malware Force Uninstaller. This makes it a top contender for the best antivirus app because it can remove malware from your Android. It also has security features such as anti-theft protection, password leak notifications, app lock, and a blocker against dangerous websites.
Although this is a free antivirus app, AVG does share device IDs or other IDs with third parties for advertising and marketing reasons. You can sign up for the premium version to remove the ads from the app.
Avast Antivirus & Security
With more than 100 million-plus downloads and a 4.7 rating, Avast is a popular antivirus mobile app. Not only is it free, but it also has robust real-time protection tools to scan for malware, analyze suspicious junk files or Wi-Fi networks, and it can quarantine potentially harmful threats before you even open the file. However, the free version contains ads and the app does share personal data with third parties for advertising and marketing purposes.
Beyond antivirus protection, Avast also has security features, such as hiding personal photos, tracking online app usage, locating a lost or stolen phone, avoiding online scams, and deleting junk files.
Setting up a virtual private network (VPN) on an Android is crucial for encrypting your traffic and data. This protects your information from hackers. When choosing the best VPN for you, you'll want to consider the number of servers available, speed, and ease of use. Below are some of the best VPNs for Android phones.
With 5,200-plus servers in 60 countries, NordVPN offers the most international server options. It's also fairly easy to use. With a tap of a button, you can connect to the fastest server near you or in a specific country. There are also options to automatically connect to a VPN or temporarily disconnect from the VPN.
NordVPN also has a few additional security features, such as malware protection to block access to malicious websites and to block you from accidentally joining a botnet. Each account can connect up to six devices, which can make it perfect for households with limited devices.
Not willing to splurge on a VPN? Atlas VPN may be the best option for you. Although it has a free plan, it doesn't share any of your data with third parties, so you don't have to sacrifice your privacy to get free VPN services.
As a bonus, there are no limits to how many devices you can connect to your account. This makes it ideal for large households or people with several devices to protect across various operating systems and even iOS.
The downside is that only three servers are available on the free plan. In comparison, the premium plan has 750-plus servers across 37 countries.
Password managers are useful for generating unique passwords for every account you create while keeping them safely secured. Although your browser may include a password manager, it may not always be the most secure option. Check out a couple of popular password managers and how they can help you keep your accounts safe.
Dashlane Password Manager
Dashlane has a 4.6 rating with more than 5 million downloads. It can store unlimited passwords and generate new passwords as you need them. If you want a free plan, Dashlane offers one but it's only available for one device. If you're looking to add more devices to your account, you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan, which starts at $2.75 per month.
Besides storing passwords, it can also store payment information and personal details for you to use when filling out online forms. It also comes with data breach alerts, dark web monitoring, a built-in VPN, and a dark theme.
Keeper Password Manager
If you're looking for a premium password manager, then you may want to consider Keeper Password Manager. It lets you connect an unlimited number of devices, provides the option to use biometrics to log in, and sets up emergency access for other people to open your account. At roughly $2.92 per month, it's fairly affordable.
You can get a 30-day trial before financially committing to the app. There is a free plan, but it's pretty limited because you can only link to one mobile device. It also won't come with other features outside of managing your passwords.
Secure messaging apps
When you send a message, you may only want you and the recipient to access it. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way though. You could opt to use secure messaging apps to ensure your messages are protected from outside parties. Here are a couple of choices you may want to consider.
Signal Private Messenger
Signal is run by an independent nonprofit organization and is funded purely by grants and donations from users. This means Signal doesn't need to use ads or trackers to fund it, and no data is shared with third parties. Signal can't even read or hear any messages sent on its app.
The messaging app has end-to-end encryption, disappearing messages, and free voice or video calls. It's one of the most secure messaging apps available on Android.
Email encryption isn't always guaranteed by your current email provider. That's why an app such as ProtonMail can be useful. It comes with end–to-end encryption and zero-access encryption. This means not even Proton can read your emails.
There's also no data shared with third parties, and it doesn't read your emails to create personalized ads. Another benefit of using ProtonMail is the company is based in Switzerland and follows Swiss privacy laws and neutrality. There are also free and paid plans, so you can choose if you need basic or advanced email features.
Safe browsing tools
Brave Private Fast Web Browser
Brave can block ads, trackers, and cookies. But what makes it unique is how it lets you control your advertising experience. Opting in to Brave Rewards lets you earn tokens for allowing first-party ads. Tokens can then be exchanged for cash-value gift cards.
Another unique feature of Brave is that it lets you tip websites and content creators. Many of these people rely on ad revenue for a living, so a tip feature lets you directly contribute to a creator's earnings without privacy risks.
DuckDuckGo Private Browser
DuckDuckGo ticks all of the boxes for a private browsing experience: no trackers, no data shared with third parties, and no data collected. It even blocks hidden trackers on sites. This means you can search the internet anonymously.
That's not to say you will have a completely ad-free experience. DuckDuckGo shows ads, but it's based on what you're currently browsing and not based on a curated profile of your search history. For example, if you are searching for camping gear, you may get ads in that category.
FAQs on Android security apps
What is the best private Android browser?
The best private Android browser is Brave. It enables you to have complete control of your advertising experience all while protecting your privacy. You can even earn tokens for allowing first-party ads and you can tip content creators who may rely on ad revenue.
Do you need antivirus on Android?
You don't need antivirus protection on your Android, but it can help protect you against threats such as phishing, malware, and accidentally joining a botnet. Antivirus software can help you create a multilayered mobile security protection plan for your Android device.
What are some password apps for Android?
Some password apps for Android include Dashlane, Keeper Password Manager, and LastPass. Alternatively, your preferred browser may also contain a password manager. But if someone hacks into your browser account, it could expose all of your login credentials.
What is the best Android VPN app?
The best Android VPN app will depend on your server preferences, budget, number of devices, and additional security features you may desire. As a starting point, you may want to look into NordVPN and Atlas VPN to see whether they are a good option for you.
Finding the right security and privacy apps for your Android phone can vary for each person. But having a strong defense system with VPNs, password managers, and more can make it easier to protect your device and data.
- High-quality VPN offering safety and speed
- Loads of servers for multiple connection options
- Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
- Too many confusing plans