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The best privacy and security apps for Android

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Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat: If you’re looking for recommendations about Android security suites or other malware-scanning software, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Why? Because, like most people who closely study Android, I don’t recommend using those types of apps at all. Android malware isn’t the massive real-world threat it’s frequently made out to be, and Google Play Protect and other native Android settings are more than enough to keep most devices safe.

There are, however, some areas where third-party apps can add valuable layers onto your Android security picture. They’re less about fighting off theoretical boogeymen and more about proactively protecting your accounts and data.

These are the apps that’ll actually bring a meaningful boost to your privacy and security on Android.

Enhance your Android privacy basics

Privacy Dashboard

Android 12 brings a new streamlined app-assessing Privacy Dashboard into the operating system, but if you’re still hanging onto a phone with an older Android version, you don’t have to miss out.

An app called Privacy Dashboard emulates the official Android 12 feature of the same name and gives you a helpful overview of exactly which apps have accessed which permissions on your phone and when. It also makes it as easy as can be to find and adjust any app’s permissions and scale back what sort of data it’s able to access — right from that single streamlined interface.

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