Smartphones have become our lifelines, housing everything from our photos to our finances. But how do you keep all that data safe and secure? With these handy privacy apps of course…

We lock up our houses, we lock up our cars, but when it comes to digital data, we’re often a little less vigilant. Tomorrow (Saturday 28 Jan) is Data Privacy Day, which marks the signing of the Council of Europe’s Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (phew! quite a mouthful) 36 years ago. So it’s a great time check out some of the best apps on offer to protect your precious data…

LastPass | iOS, Android, Windows Phone, FREE


LastPass Password Manager simplifies your online life by storing all your passwords and logins, generating strong passwords and protecting personal information like your credit card details, photos and more. Your LastPass vault is secured with bank-level AES 256-bit encryption, and the people behind LastPass never have access to the key, so you can be sure your info’s safe. Upgrade to Premium for additional features including the ability to sync across unlimited devices, multifactor authentication, and a family sharing folder.

Signal Private Messenger | iOS, Android, FREE
Not convinced about the privacy of your instant messaging service? Signal by Open Whisper Systems is a favourite among the security conscious, using regularly audited, open-source encryption technology to keep your calls, images and messages safe. The best bit is that, because it uses your existing phone number and address book, there are no additional logins, usernames or passwords to worry about. Plus, the server never has access to any of your data, so you can rest assured your communication is only ever read or heard by the intended recipient.

Smart Hide Calculator | Android, FREE


On the surface, this looks like any other standard calculator app. And, as you’d expect, it is a fully functioning calculator. However, it’s also a super-secret storage spot for all your sensitive photos, videos, notes and more. Enter your password to access the hidden interface, and you’ll feel like a secret agent as you stash all your private files. No one ever suspects the calculator.

True Key | iOS, Android, FREE
Another popular password-storing app, True Key has all the standard encrypted password-memorising features you’d want. However, it also offers the option of doing away with passwords completely, in favour of biometrics. Instantly log into your favourite sites with your fingerprint, activate your camera and log in with your face, or stick with a master password for up to 15 different log-ins. Because there’s nothing more you than your smile.

Remote Phone Access | Android, FREE
Left your mobile at home or the office? Or maybe you’ve misplaced it completely? Worry no more; this handy app lets you manage your phone remotely. Features include the ability to redirect text and call alerts to your email address, obtain contact data, lock your phone to restrict unauthorised access, ring your phone, or turn Wi-Fi and mobile data on or off from wherever you happen to be.

Find my iPhone | iOS, FREE


This official Apple app is a real lifesaver. Have it installed on your iPhone and it’ll let you remotely lock it, track its location, play a sound or erase all data (should it be stolen) by visiting icloud.com. You can even display a custom message on the lock screen, and view driving directions to your device’s location. However, you must ensure Find my iPhone is enabled in your iCloud settings before you can use it.

NordVPN | iOS, Android, FREE
NordVPN is a VPN service, allowing you to browse the internet safely and anonymously by masking your IP address and encrypting traffic exchanged between the internet and your system. Using a VPN can be a good idea when accessing public Wi-Fi networks, as it creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and a remote server, ensuring others connected to the same network can’t see anything but meaningless gibberish should they try to track your traffic. Simple to set up and easy to use, it’s a good option for secure browsing.

Latch | Windows Phone, FREE
Latch provides you with the ability to turn your various online accounts off with a simple tap when you’re not using them. With features including the ability to schedule automatic disconnection at night or at custom times, and to ensure your bank accounts and credit cards are active only when you need them, it adds an extra layer of security to your digital life.

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