11837930toIs it possible to be the least bit anonymous on your phone? Internet privacy has been front and center in the last year or so. And more specifically, privacy on your smartphone has been even more of a hot button issue. To address these justifiable concerns, there has been a spike in apps created to keep you and your information out of the hands of snoops (by the government or by companies).

Here’s our list of apps that are great for locking photos, hiding messages, and keeping your private things the way you want them to be, private.


(Android and iOS) Several apps offer theft protection, antivirus and location services, but Lookout puts them all in one product. Connect your device to an online account and you can locate it on a map, and choose to “Scream,” “Lock,” or “Wipe” the phone from afar. There’s something satisfying about your stolen phone taking a picture of its thief, but the protagonist in their video probably shouldn’t own a phone.


(Android) Know when a background-running app is sending personal information without your permission, and stop the data short. This is relevant especially when the NSA called targeting social media uploads from mobile devices a “perfect scenario,” and advertisers are constantly trying to finagle data out of consumers for ad-targeting. Even if you’re not on a target, disabling these background functions saves battery.

History Eraser

(Android) Another app that simplifies a feature that’s already spread across multiple settings, History Eraser is self-explanatory. Select which apps to clear (including call history, texts and searches) and the app frees up storage space and covers your tracks.

Private Files

(iOS) This one is useful even if you don’t have secrets to hide. There’s merit to protecting photos and files that you don’t want to accidentally erase or lose–or that you don’t want your kids stumbling into. Use this one for good, not evil.