6 privacy-focused alternatives to maps, messaging, search, and more

Most of us They are so used to the applications we trust, it’s easy to stop thinking about how they work and what they do with our data. Most free services make money from ads, and that means collecting data about our tastes, our online activities, and the use of our apps.

There are better options – apps that will keep your data safe from unwanted visitors and eager advertisers. And they could fit into your daily routine more easily than you expect.

Of course, Apple and Google take different approaches to user privacy: Apple makes money selling hardware, while Google makes money selling ads, and that requires a lot of data collection and profiling. Although Google promises to keep your actual personal data private, it sells ads against the profile you create.

In comparison, many of Apple’s applications are already quite well blocked from a privacy point of view: Safari, Mail, Apple Maps, etc. However, we’ve avoided both Apple and Google in this roundup to give you options across multiple devices and platforms.

Signal for messaging

Screenshot: David Nield via Signal

You have several apps to choose from for text messaging, but few are as security-focused as Signal (Android, iOS) and at the same time work across multiple platforms with ease. Unsurprisingly, end-to-end encryption is built in as standard and there is also a disappearing message option so you don’t leave any traces.

While Signal may not have as many options and features as some of the other instant messengers in the app stores, it does support voice and video calls, as well as group chats, file transfers, audio clips, and the most important GIFs. . . Your biggest problem with the app might be convincing everyone on your contact list to switch to it, but here’s a comprehensive guide from Signal to help you make the case.

Firefox for web browsing

Screenshot: David Nield via Firefox