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To help you find the most secure phones, we spent several hours picking through all of the different smartphones available on the market today and identifying which ones focused on creating an extra-secure experience. During our research, we found that the most important considerations to make lie in the features each phone offers to increase security and data protection. Look for things like disk encryption, “locker” apps for securing sensitive data, and biometric phone locking and unlocking capabilities. We also recommend purchasing a secure phone that meets your day-to-day needs as well, including camera, durability, and performance needs.
After our research and ranking, we chose the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max as the most secure phone. Read on to learn more about this top pick smartphone and more of the best smartphone options we feature.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: With a new secure OS, blazing-fast Bionic processor, and best-of-class user experience, this secure phone is the best Apple product to date. This phone also features a high-end triple camera array and excellent 5G network functionality.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is Apple’s latest and most premium offering in its ever-popular iPhone line of flagship smartphones. It’s done a lot to improve on previous generations of iPhones, but one of the best improvements is found in the phone’s mobile operating system, iOS 14. This new version of iOS is one of the most secure cell phone operating systems you can get today. With greater control over location settings, camera use, and access settings, you can rest assured that the iPhone will keep your data and privacy protected more than other phones can provide. Apple also includes protection built directly into the phone’s hardware and includes encryption for all your sensitive data.
Related: If you stay in regions that have poor network coverage, check the best cell phone signal boosters.
Security isn’t the only thing the iPhone 12 Pro Max does well. For starters, this secure smartphone offers an extra-powerful A14 Bionic processor, which is Apple’s fastest ever mobile chipset. This processor powers the entire phone to create a seamless, lag-free user experience. The 12 Pro Max also features a stunning 6.7-inch OLED display that’s bright and colorful, which we discuss in our iPhone 12 Pro Max review. The display is also tough with its included Ceramic Shield glass. We were also really impressed with the iPhone’s premium triple-lens camera array. It’s able to take high-quality photos and even record 4K videos. Other unique features here include magnetic MagSafe accessories, 5G network compatibility, and IP68 water resistance. All of these features combined make this the best of the best when it comes to ultra-secure phones. It’s a great choice if you want the best 5G phones with great security.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: With a heavy-duty, integrated security platform and plenty of premium features for the average user, this secure smartphone is an excellent choice for anyone in the market for added protection. This premium flagship phone also gives you a ton of power and high-end features like a 108MP camera, extra-long battery life, and S Pen stylus.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is one of the best smartphones you can buy today, on top of being an extra-secure device that will keep your sensitive data and identity protected from hackers. The Note 20 Ultra is built with a defense-grade security platform called Knox. This security platform creates multi-layered protection built directly into your Note 20 Ultra. You’ll get security enhancements specifically for the Android OS, encryption, and TrustZone architecture to protect sensitive data.
Related: Take a look at the best-unlocked smartphones.
When it comes to performance and usability, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offers one of the most premium experiences your money can buy. It’s designed incredibly well, with a high-quality form factor and ultra-fast processor. The Note 20 Ultra features a durable metal frame and a large 6.9-inch AMOLED display with 120Hz of motion handling and a high resolution. The phone’s display is also compatible with the included S Pen stylus, which is the perfect feature for power and business users, making it one of the best phones for business on our list. We were also really impressed by the Note 20 Ultra’s camera array, which features 108 megapixels of resolution for still images and up to 8K video recording capabilities.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: For our Google Pixel 5 review, we found that this secure phone features a powerful, dedicated security chip and streamlined operating system for greater protection. The phone also features reverse wireless charging, 5G connectivity, and solid camera quality.
The Pixel 5 is the latest flagship from the tech powerhouse known as Google. It provides a ton of improvements over the last generations of the Pixel line, creating a more secure, streamlined, and user-friendly experience. For starters, the Google Pixel 5 features an internal chip dedicated specifically to security. This Titan M chip works hard to secure the Pixel’s operating system and other personally sensitive data like financial transactions and passwords. On top of that, the Pixel 5 gives you automatic security patches so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to update the phone and then ending up with a hole in your protection.
The Google Pixel 5 also features a streamlined design intended to increase user-friendliness. It’s not as flashy as other flagship smartphones with its unassuming form factor, but this doesn’t mean it lacks in quality. It features IP68 water and dust resistance, along with a bright display and 90Hz refresh rate. The phone also gives you a powerful camera so you can always capture the best shot. One of the more advanced features you get here, though, is the reverse wireless charging functionality. This feature allows you to convert your Google Pixel 5 into a wireless charging pad for other portable devices. It’s a nice choice if you’re interested in the best phones for vlogging.
Award: BEST CAMERA
WHY WE LIKE IT: This flagship device features a premium design quality with an ultra-fast processor, beautiful display, and built-in Knox security platform. Plus, it features a best-of-class camera capable of capturing detailed and sharp pictures and video.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is one of the many devices in Samsung’s lineup to feature integration with the powerful Knox security platform, which is why it makes it into our buying guide for the most secure phones available today. The Knox security platform features a comprehensive, multi-layered approach to security. You’ll get automatic encryption and additional protection for all of the sensitive data you store on your phone. Its built-in Samsung Exynos 990 octa-core processor is also built with security in mind, and it protects you from hardware-based hacking.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra also excels when it comes to performance and design. There is no question that this is a premium flagship phone. It features a durable metal frame and a large display with high resolution. The phone is IP68 water and dust resistant, and the glass on the screen is made from shatter-resistant Gorilla Glass. We were most impressed by the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s camera, though. It features an incredible 108-megapixel main sensor for snapping super crisp photos and the ability to capture up to 8K video resolution. The S20 Ultra also gives you a large 5000 mAh battery for all-day battery life. No need for the best portable chargers with this one!
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Award: BEST FOR KIDS AND SENIORS
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for a secure phone that your kids can use without you worrying about their safety, then this is the best option for you. This smartphone is inherently secure due to its operating system and included parental controls.
The iPhone SE is Apple’s attempt at creating affordable power and security in a flagship phone. Fortunately, they do it well in this product, which is apparent to see. This iPhone’s affordability makes it an appealing option for parents who want a secure and safe phone for their kids. The iPhone SE includes a Screen Time functionality, which is a comprehensive approach to parental controls that allows you to set time limits on apps and restrictions on downloads. This way, you can prevent your kids from getting on apps that aim to steal their information. On top of this, the Apple iPhone SE features all of the built-in protection and security features that Apple integrates into all of its phones. Check out our iPhone SE review to learn more in-depth detail on this smartphone.
This affordable iPhone is also incredibly user-friendly and easy to learn, making it even better for kids and seniors. Overall performance is also something to be applauded here. The iPhone SE features the A13 Bionic processor, which is fast even despite not being the latest technology. We were also impressed by the iPhone’s overall build quality. It features a bright display with vivid colors and sharp resolution. Plus, with IP68 water and dust resistance and tough display glass, you won’t have to worry about this phone breaking too easily, making it one of the best phones for kids on the list.
Award: BEST FOR PRIVACY
WHY WE LIKE IT: For our Blackphone review, we found that this smartphone is designed specifically with security and privacy in mind, with its comprehensive app permissions, built-in encryption, and remote data wipe if you lose the device. This secure phone also offers decent performance with a good display.
The Silent Circle Blackphone 2 is one of the most secure phones available on the market today, and that’s because it was one that was designed specifically for security and data protection. While other phones have security integrated into their hardware and software as an afterthought, this smartphone is dedicated to providing the best protection. It’s designed specifically for security down into its chipset and gives you the ability to create different “Spaces.” These act essentially as different user-profiles and allow you to separate business from personal use. You’ll even get much more in-depth controls for app permissions than a standard Android phone allows. On top of that, the Blackphone 2 also provides encryption for voice, text messages, and video chats.
While the Silent Circle Blackphone 2 provides extensive security functionality, it does struggle a little bit when it comes to performance and overall build quality, especially when compared to newer flagship smartphones. The processor dedicates most of its power to security functionality and doesn’t do incredibly well with things like video games. You’ll want one of the best gaming phones for that. The Blackphone’s design quality isn’t unique by any means, but it is durable to handle most bumps and bruises. The design feature we were most impressed by here is the phone’s display. It’s bright and colorful, and it looks good when watching videos or looking at pictures.
Award: BEST FOR CRYPTOCURRENCY
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re a blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiast who needs an ultra-secure solution for storing your Bitcoin, then this is the smartphone for you. With an integrated cold-storage crypto wallet and security-focused operating system, this smartphone will keep your investments safe.
The Siring Labs Finney U1 secure smartphone is certainly one of the most unique options your money can buy today. It holds the honor of being one of the world’s first blockchain smartphones available today. This means that the phone comes with an integrated cold-storage wallet for your Bitcoin and Ethereum. The wallet itself is based on hardware and lives technically separate from the actual phone’s hardware. When you’re ready to transact using your cryptocurrency, simply slide up the second screen and open the transfer app on the larger smartphone screen. The Finney U1 is secure enough to handle cryptocurrency transactions with ease, mostly due to its Sirin OS operating system. This OS has been modified to a greater extent to allow for more security features like real-time monitoring and extensive permissions controls.
The Sirin Labs Finney U1 smartphone is also a decent smartphone for most casual users. However, it won’t hold a candle to the faster, more well-designed flagship phones available today. It features a last-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, which will perform well in most circumstances. The display features an HD, 2160 x 1080 pixel resolution, but it isn’t as sharp as other options available today. The best part about the Finney U1’s display is its fingerprint-resistant, oleophobic coating. You’ll also get 128GB of onboard storage, with the option of including more with a microSD card slot. For the security-conscious, you might want to check out our best tactical wallets buying guide to further protect your money.
Award: BEST FOR BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you need a smartphone for business use that features quality built-in security features, you can’t go wrong with this option. It features full-disk encryption, a productivity-focused keyboard, and a powerful battery for all-day use.
The BlackBerry Key2 is the culmination of all of the best features from the BlackBerry lineup. Of course, this phone gives you the dedicated approach to security that BlackBerry is so well known for. With full-disk encryption and notifications for when apps try to access more hardware than they should, this phone keeps you on your toes when it comes to protection for sensitive data. You’ll also get a comprehensive Locker app, which allows you to keep the files on your device secure and protected from prying eyes or unauthorized users.
Perhaps the best feature of the BlackBerry Key2 is its built-in keyboard. If you’re a fan of physical keyboards on your smartphone, you absolutely cannot pass this option up. The keyboard works well with larger keys and programmable shortcuts. You’ll also get good performance with this BlackBerry phone. You’ll hardly experience any lagging or stuttering while you work and browse on your phone. Unfortunately, the biggest downside here is the camera array, which is disappointing at best. We wouldn’t recommend the BlackBerry Key2 for mobile photography. Check out our best low light camera phones buying guide for those features.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: This secure smartphone offers the best security features and overall performance for anyone on a tight budget. The phone is compact, lightweight, and powerful, offering plenty of functionality to keep you connected without paying an arm and a leg.
The BlackBerry DTEK50 secure phone excels when it comes to security, mostly because of its helpful DETK app. BlackBerry’s DTEK app is focused on giving you more insight into the way the other applications are accessing your phone. As such, the DTEK security app will monitor when apps access your camera, calendar, and contact list. It will also let you know when an app accesses your device’s location or sends text messages. Even better, though, you’ll be able to use the DTEK app to stop any app your phone runs or uninstall problematic apps.
The BlackBerry DTEK50 is also a reliable option when it comes to overall performance. While it’s true that the DTEK50 won’t be able to keep up with the faster and sleeker flagship phones of today, it still offers a surprisingly reliable level of performance for such a budget smartphone. The processor keeps things running well on average, but may struggle when it comes to video games or other processor-heavy applications. It features a large and bright display, as well as a compact and lightweight design for easier one-handed use. It’s a nice choice if you’re looking for the best cell phones for seniors with great security.
Award: BEST FOR TYPING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Typing up an email or text document is made incredibly easy with the physical keyboard on this secure phone. Plus, it features excellent security software, a large display, and impressive all-day battery performance.
When the BlackBerry KeyOne was first released, it reminded the world that it was possible to create a smartphone that still utilized the versatility of a physical keyboard. If you’re a power user who absolutely needs a keyboard for typing on your smartphone, you can’t go wrong with the KeyOne. It features a large and bright display that shows you everything you need to see during daily use. And while its internal chipset isn’t the fastest or most impressive around, you’ll still be able to get through most of your application usage with minimal lagging or stuttering.
When it comes to security, BlackBerry is hard to beat. Like other BlackBerry smartphones, the KeyOne gives you free access to the DTEK app and software, which allows you to gain greater control over app permissions. The DTEK app will notify you if an app is trying to access your camera or data without your permission. This way, you can quickly fix the problem and uninstall the offending app so you don’t lose sensitive data to hackers. You might also be interested in our best tablets with keyboards buying guide.
Finding the most secure phones was a matter of which option included the best and most comprehensive security features. So that’s where we started our ranking process. We only included phones in our buying guide if they dedicated some effort to create a secure environment for users. However, we ranked phones higher if they took additional steps to create a product that kept your information safe. Security features like disk encryption, biometric lock/unlock, and password managers were big pluses in our book. The more secure a phone was, the higher it was ranked above.
Next, we looked at each phone’s performance and form factor. Just because you want a secure phone does not mean you want to skip out on all the features that make a smartphone such a wonderful product. As such, we preferred mobile devices with fast processors, beautiful displays, and durable designs. We ranked phones higher if they featured user-friendly interfaces that required minimal learning curves.
Finally, we looked at all of the additional features a modern-day smartphone can provide. We awarded bonus points to phones that had high-quality cameras. We also ranked options higher if they provided extras like IP certifications for water resistance. In the end, you’ll want a phone that can do nearly everything, and we ranked each product accordingly.
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