5 Free Apps For Protecting Your Privacy

If you hate losing your phone, have a reason to hide, or have a mobile search history you'd love to clear, this edition of Free App Friday is for you.

Lookout (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.

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 seems as shady as the history eraser, but 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.

Clueful (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 watch list, disabling these background functions saves battery.

Wickr (Android and iOS)

Somewhere between Bond-level privacy and wearing a tinfoil hat, Wickr self-destructs texts and multimedia. The catch: You have to communicate with other Wickr users. But the app is in beta, so perhaps that will change.

5 Free Apps For Protecting Your Privacy

Always feel like somebody's watching you? These apps will make your phone scream for help, stop prying eyes, and keep your darkest secrets.

If you hate losing your phone, have a reason to hide, or have a mobile search history you'd love to clear, this edition of Free App Friday is for you.

As always, while they're free now, we can't guarantee how long they'll last—so don't wait too long.

Lookout (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.

History Eraser (Android)

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

Private Files (iOS)

This one seems as shady as the history eraser, but 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.

Clueful (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 paranoid that you are on a watch list, disabling these background functions saves battery.

Wickr (Android and iOS)

Somewhere between Bond-level privacy and wearing a tinfoil hat, Wickr self-destructs texts and multimedia. The catch: You have to communicate with other Wickr users. But the app is in beta, so perhaps that will change.

[Image: Flickr user Greg Clarke]

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