Does your smartphone contain sensitive personal data? Then read on to find NextPit’s weekly list of five apps and games to try on your iPhone or Android device, this time with security and privacy in mind.
Please note that this article is separate from our bi-weekly Free Apps of the Week issue. We don’t just read about these apps and thoroughly test them by downloading and installing them one by one. We also scrutinize each app to ensure it doesn’t contain unwanted in-app purchases or sneaky data collection practices that compromise our privacy.
This article is published weekly, so you can always check our previous “Top 5 Apps” stories for a traditional list of suggestions. This week is all about protecting your device and your digital identity.
BitWarden (Android and iOS [and more])
The password management category has never been more important and threatened at the same time. Along with increasing ease of use and integration from both Apple and Google’s native apps, news of attacks and vulnerabilities in popular services like LastPass can discourage users from using a third-party service.
But listen to me, there are still arguments for using an independent tool like BitWarden, the app is not only free to use but also open source and multiplatform. Heck, if you’re more paranoid than usual – only the paranoid survive* – you can even self-host your own server.
There are other similar tools, with special mention of KeePass (which I’ve used with cloud sync plugins for a number of years), but BitWarden trumps them by offering a native web client, apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, and extensions for all today the main browsers.
Price: Free / Ads: None / In-App Purchases: No / Account: Required BitWarden offers a free multi-platform password manager. / © NextPit DuckDuckGo browser (Android and iOS)
As a long-time user of DuckDuckGo (DDG), the browser’s launch a few years ago was an inescapable excuse to install another browser on my phone. But DDB Browser showed real staying power with its features, especially those related only to privacy.
By default, DDG blocks the most popular online tracking servers and offers a handy “fire button” that clears your browsing data with a single tap. Of course, you can set websites to bypass these protections, making it easy to select DDG as your default browser and leave your most used logins enabled.
Additionally, DuckDuckGo is working to offer email protection (using the Duck.com domain) and a third-party app privacy feature that blocks app usage trackers with a VPN-like service.
Price: Free / Ads: None / In-App Purchases: No / Account: Not Required The fire icon next to the address bar clears your browsing data with a tap. / © NextPit Authy (Android and iOS)
Two-factor authentication is one of the best layers of protection available for your accounts, especially pseudo-random tokens or one-time passwords (OTP). But aside from not being convenient for the average user, what happens if your phone with Google or Microsoft authenticator is lost?
Instead of managing dozens of recovery codes in the event of a disaster, a practical alternative is to migrate to a multi-platform, multi-device app like Authy. The service synchronizes token generation with multiple phones, tablets and even PCs protected by your phone number and a PIN code.
OTP apps are definitely not the most exciting category, but if you don’t like Authy and are looking for alternatives, also check out the open-source alternatives Aegis (Android) and Raivo (iOS, macOS), the latter even syncs your OTPs to iCloud.
Price: Free / Ads: None / In-App Purchases: No / Account: Required Authy syncs your 2FA codes between mobile and PC. / © NextPit Simple Keyboard (Android)
What? Why should I care about my phone’s keypad? Well, unless you trust big tech companies like Google and Microsoft, your keyboard app might be feeding your profile with all sorts of data: what apps or websites you use, what kind of searches, most used words, etc.
Companies say these types of data are used to give us a better experience, including spell check, word prediction, and swipe typing, none of the features that Simple Keyboard offers, a basic keyboard app with no thrills, no tracking, with just the basics .
If you use the BitWarden password manager suggested above, you won’t miss any passwords stored in your Google account and populated with GBoard, and you’ll rest at night knowing that you don’t care about the big tech monster that much fed like the day before.
Price: Free / Ads: None / In-App Purchases: No / Account: Not required It’s almost like going back to Android Froyo. / © NextPit Interland (Android and iOS)
Interland is a relatively old web game developed by Google to teach children basic online safety concepts, including phishing, harassment, misinformation, online trust, and privacy.
The game is divided into five different worlds (if the game were new they would have called them “biomes”), each teaching one of the themes mentioned with simple trivia, platforming, and other types of gameplay.
Played on a browser tab, Interland features charming, minimal polygon graphics with flat shadows. The controls are touch-based and change according to the selected bio-world.
Price: Free / Ads: None / In-App Purchases: No / Account: Not required
That’s it for this week’s top 5 apps. We encourage you to share your own list of suggestions and tips for improving online safety on your connected devices. We’ll be back next week with another selection of must-have apps, so stay tuned!