Messengers, maps, music players and many other popular applications collect information about you in order to earn money by displaying ads. However, their counterparts are available on the market that will help protect your data and are focused solely on maintaining the privacy of their users.
Most people are so accustomed to using popular apps that they no longer even think about how they work and how much personal information they collect about their users. Free programs that have become widely known make money by displaying ads. This means that they collect data about your likes, online activity and use of third-party applications.
There are more privacy options available on the market: apps that will protect your data from prying eyes and eager advertisers. They can easily get your recognition if you just get to know them better.
Undoubtedly, Apple and Google take different approaches to the privacy of their users – Apple makes money by selling its technology, while Google gets richer by selling ads, which requires data collection and profiling. While Google promises to keep your personal information private, it does sell ads for the user profile it creates.
By comparison, many Apple apps are already pretty good in terms of privacy. These are the same Safari, Mail and Apple Maps. However, this article will present alternative programs for well-known applications available on both Apple and Android.
Signal for messaging
There are several popular text messaging apps, but few are as heavily privacy-focused as Signal (Android, iOS) and available immediately across multiple platforms. As you might expect, this program uses end-to-end encryption when sending and receiving messages. What’s more, there’s a disappearing message option so you won’t leave any trace of your online activity.
While Signal may not be feature-rich as some other messaging apps, it does support voice and video calls, as well as group chats, file transfers, listening to audio, and opening GIFs. Your biggest problem may just be convincing all your acquaintances and friends to switch to using it every day.
Firefox for web browsing
While some web browsers have long promised to put their users’ privacy at the top of their list of priorities, Firefox (Android, iOS) is already a great browser in terms of features, cross-platform compatibility, and speed. The impressive list of features starts with what Firefox calls Enhanced Security, where the most aggressive online trackers are automatically blocked while browsing the web.
Dive deeper into Firefox’s limitless settings, and you’ll be able to choose which plug-ins to block, as well as decide what data should be collected about you when you open new sites and pages on the Internet. Browsing history can be erased with a couple of keystrokes. And, of course, there’s incognito mode if you want to surf the web without leaving any trace of what you’ve done.
DuckDuckGo to find information on the web
The appeal of DuckDuckGo (Android, iOS) is that it’s really not interested in tracking what you search for online and serving ads based on your personal information. Open tabs and browsing history can be deleted with a single click, while trackers you encounter as you surf the web are automatically blocked so they can’t track you.
The DuckDuckGo app is actually a web browser and search engine in one. Individual sites are assigned a privacy rating as you visit them, and the app provides you with complete information about which companies are trying to track your movements on the Internet. A simple and effective way to stay private while you’re online.
OsmAnd for orienteering (mapping application)
OsmAnd (Android, iOS) is powered by data from OpenStreetMap, a kind of expert in mapping applications. This program has a full set of features, just like any other maps: turn-by-turn directions, offline viewing of maps, information about places of interest and public places near you. What’s more, the app doesn’t create your marketing profile to sell to advertisers.
There is support for building a route while cycling and walking, as well as while driving a vehicle. Users can choose the type of map themselves, and also have the ability to quickly bookmark or share certain points on the map. You can also buy certain areas on the map to view them, but at the very beginning you can download seven maps of a specific area of your choice for free.
ProtonMail for sending emails
If you want your email to be protected from prying eyes, and the analysis of sending messages does not promote ads and recommendations from other services, then ProtonMail (Android, iOS) is one of the best options available on the market. This is an open source program in which received and sent messages are fully encrypted. It also has such a cool feature as self-destructing messages.
All the necessary encryption happens in the program itself, so all you see is a convenient mail with the features you are used to, such as message filtering and a spam folder. ProtonMail gives you complete privacy because no one but the intended recipients can read your messages (including the development team itself). It is worth noting that most of the functions are available absolutely free of charge.
Jumbo (Android, iOS) is not a replacement for social networking applications per se, but it can help you protect data on social networks where you and your friends are already registered. This applies to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Most of the program’s features are paid, but many options are available without a proper subscription.
One of the best features that Jumbo has is that it automatically deletes your posts after a certain amount of time, so you never leave a digital footprint behind. The app will also tell you how to improve your privacy on your social networks (for example, by turning off facial recognition or tagging friends’ photos).
According to Wired.