More and more often, smartphones are becoming the "safe place" for many users to store private data — photos, conversations, passwords, bank account information…you name it, it's probably on the phone. The problem is that oftentimes this data isn't necessarily secured by said users. Things like private photos are easy to find by jumping into the gallery app. Conversations aren't hidden anywhere in the system — the SMS app reveals all without any sort of barrier. And that all goes without mentioning the private things that could be held within social networks, email, or other apps that may not necessarily be protected behind a password.

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That's where third party apps like LEO Privacy Guard come into play. LEO offers several privacy controls that aren't already available in stock Android, like the ability to protect photographs and conversations, as well as lock apps, all behind a PIN code or pattern lock. Essentially, it's an additional layer of security between prying eyes and sensitive data — pair it with Android's stock lock screen security and you've got two layers of protection. Just make sure not to use the same PIN or pattern as the app, of course.

There are three primary sections in LEO Privacy Guard's interface: lock, protection, and my apps. As the name suggests, Lock is where you can control which apps are password protected; Protection gives the device a "privacy rating" — the more things that are protected by LEO, the better this rating gets; and My Apps is where unwanted applications can be easily uninstalled, RAM can be cleared, data limits can be set, and more. It's one app that easily and readily covers many bases, from protection to system tuning.

Under the Lock setting, there are four options: App Lock, Themes, Modes, and App Cover. While fairly self-explanatory, here's a quick breakdown of what each feature does:

  • App Lock: This is where individual apps are locked, either individually or within certain Modes.
  • Themes: Different themes make the app look different — choose one that suits your style.
  • Modes: This section essentially categorizes locked apps according to given situations. For example, Guest Mode locks apps that may contain sensitive data (like Facebook and SMS) so others can use your phone. Modes can automatically be set according to location or time.
  • App Cover: This is basically another level of protection that hides locked content behind "secret" screens that are designed to look like something else, be it a fake dialer or error message. There is only one way to bypass this screen, and if the command is inputted incorrectly, it just disappears.

Protection is where other content (aside from apps) can be hidden — images, videos, call logs, and SMS. It's worth noting that limitations introduced in Android 4.4, hiding SMS messages may not work correctly. Once other content is hidden, however (like images and videos), it can only be accessed from within LEO. Other apps on the phone won't even know it exists.

Lastly, there's My Apps. As mentioned earlier, this is essentially a system optimization panel, where RAM can be cleared, apps can be backed up or uninstalled, and data can be managed with set limits. There's also an option here to install another one of Leomaster's apps — called Swifty — which is essentially a quick launcher for oft-used applications.

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LEO is a free download in the Play Store and is supported by ads. You can try it for yourself at the link below.

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For more information on Leomaster, the creator of LEO Privacy Guard, check out the company's website or Facebook.