Preinstalled Android apps: The best alternatives for data sniffers

Android smartphones come with numerous pre-installed apps from Google or the manufacturers that collect a lot of data.

Preinstalled Android apps: The best alternatives for data sniffers

Android smartphones come with numerous pre-installed apps from Google or the manufacturers that collect a lot of data. If you want more privacy, you will find very good alternatives in the Play Store, which usually do not cost much or are even available for free.

If you buy an Android smartphone, you will find many pre-installed apps on the device. This includes a thick package with Google applications, numerous standards such as browsers, e-mail apps or photo galleries often come from the manufacturers. On the one hand, this is convenient for users, but on the other hand they have to accept that the pre-installed programs are often very curious and collect masses of data. Anyone who values ​​data protection should look around for alternatives, which fortunately are not lacking. presents its favourites.

Especially if you also use it professionally, you should attach great importance to a good e-mail app that is functionally extensive, but above all also treats data and content of messages and conversations confidentially. An old hand here is K9. The free app is open source. This means that your code can be viewed freely, which means that backdoors et cetera can be virtually ruled out. K9 is guaranteed not to tap data. The volunteer-developed app is quite simple and several users report problems in the Play Store.

This is not the case with FairEmail because the programmer earns money with the Pro version (6 euros) and maintains the app accordingly. The free version is not quite as comprehensive, but it also has a lot to offer. This includes unlimited accounts and no ads. Also, the app code is also open source and absolutely non-prying.

The most popular Chrome alternative is Mozilla Firefox, and rightly so. The browser offers many functions and can be greatly expanded with extensions. However, good privacy protection is also a large part of the setting for the open source project. The most important thing is the selection of the search engine, which is Google for the time being after installation.

Startpage, DuckDuck Go or Quant are recommended. To change the search engine, go to Settings and tap Search. There you can select Quant or DuckDuckGo directly, you have to add Startpage first. To do this, tap on the plus sign and then on Other. Then enter Startpage for "Name", for "Search string to be used" and finally tap the check mark. You can then select Startpage directly.

A slimmed down and therefore particularly uncomplicated variant is Firefox Klar. The browser blocks trackers and automatically clears history when closed.

Simple Photo Gallery Pro costs just under 90 cents, but you get an app that doesn't require any unnecessary permissions, is ad-free and open source. Since she doesn't have internet access herself, privacy is guaranteed as long as you don't share photos through other apps. In addition, the gallery has a nice and simple design, offers editing functions and is highly customizable.

If you don't regularly back up the images to external storage, you risk losing them if you lose your smartphone or have a breakdown. That is why a partially free cloud is useful for backing up the images. However, alternatives with a high level of privacy protection that are not based on your own hardware are rare and usually too expensive for private users.

But you don't necessarily have to do without Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, Dropbox or pCloud if you save your data there in an encrypted, password-protected vault. The Android app Cryptomator is very well suited for this, which is worth around 10 euros for it. Their code has been open source since January 2021 and their deployment is very straightforward. You select a cloud service, grant access to it and create a vault to which you can then upload pictures, for example from Simple Photo Gallery Pro. Practical: Cryptomator also allows a safe to be unlocked with a fingerprint.

Keyboards can also be very curious, for example when they send user input to their developers' servers to improve automatic word suggestions. Although funded solely by donations, the open source, multilingual AnySoftKeyboard is a great alternative with lots of settings. In the meantime, "Swypen" also works quite well, whereby instead of typing, you slide from letter to letter with your finger.

Synchronizing and saving contacts via Google servers is very practical, because you always have them ready on all the devices you use, no matter which one you updated the address book on. If you don't want to entrust this data to Google, "Mobilsicher" suggests stopping the synchronization or, even better, installing a privacy-friendly alternative right away.

From the same Slovak developer Tibor Kaputa, who is also responsible for Simple Photo Gallery Pro, comes Simple Contacts Pro for just under 70 cents. Accordingly, it has no unnecessary permissions, is open source and does not collect any data. The design is responsive and customizable. And while you're at it, you can also install the appropriate phone app, Schlichter Dialer, which is free but has the same advantages as Schlichtekontakte Pro.

The calendar looks similar to the contacts. If appointments or tasks are to be synchronized across devices, Google Calendar is an excellent tool. If you organize everything on one device anyway, you can do without it and save yourself the unwanted data donation - for example with Tibor Kaputa's Schlichter Kalender Pro (99 cents). The application is clear but extensive. It's also customizable and looks good.


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