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Tech Review: Maintain your privacy, avoid remorse

Apps that help users stay connected.

Apps that help users stay connected. Credit: AFP / Getty Images

In an interconnected world where messages, photos and videos can be transmitted with the press of a touch screen, "send in haste, regret in leisure" has become a new adage. These apps may help you avoid remorse while securing your privacy.


(iOS, Android; free)

This go-to messaging app for teens and young adults allows users to send a video or photo that disappears from a recipients' device after a selected amount of time. But there are several workarounds a recipient can use to save a photo, including taking a screenshot. The founders of the wildly popular app turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook because they thought the price was too low.


(iOS, Android; free)

While Snapchat has become a must-have for millennials, Wickr is aimed at older users. The app's subtitle is "Top Secret Messenger," and it follows through on the claim by not only deleting photos, videos and messages on the recipient's device but encrypting them as they are sent. Wickr includes a "shredder" function that deletes all remnants of messages left on your device.


(iOS, Android; free)

For those with photos, videos and messages they would like to keep hidden on their device, Vault conceals them where they are accessible only by using a password. You can also choose to hide selected contacts and call logs. Even if you secure your phone or tablet with a passcode, you can add another degree of protection by locking individual apps in case someone gets entry to your device. A premium version ($19.99 per year) adds several more security features.

Call Control Pro

(Android, $7.99)

This app blocks phone calls and text messages from numbers you put on a blacklist. Call Control Pro also can block callers listed on a "community blacklist" that contains hundreds of numbers of known telemarketers and suspected scammers. You can have the offending call go straight to voice mail or choose a "pickup and hang-up" feature that leaves the caller hearing just a dial tone. There's a free version, but you can put only three numbers on your blacklist. iOS users can check out the similar Call Bliss ($9.99).


Tech bytes


'Warcraft' to honor Williams

Robin Williams will be memorialized in the online fantasy game, "World of Warcraft." In response to a petition from thousands of players of the role-playing game, developer Blizzard Entertainment tweeted that a character based on Williams will appear "in-game." The late actor and comedian was an avid gamer who spoke about his fondness for playing "World of Warcraft."-- PETER KING

Starbucks tests ordering app

Building on the success of its popular mobile payment app, Starbucks is planning to add the ability to order your lattes and frappuccinos from your phone. A Starbucks executive told tech website Re/code the Seattle-based chain is testing a mobile ordering app in "one undisclosed" area. Starbucks hopes to roll out the app by the end of the year. -- PETER KING

Kuddle up

Kuddle, a new picture-sharing app for children that bills itself as a rival to Instagram, plans an aggressive push in the U.S. market and could have 1 million users by the end of the year. Kuddle (iOS, Android; free) lets parents monitor what their children publish and blocks strangers from seeing and sharing pictures. To prevent online bullying, there are no hashtags or comments.

-- Reuters

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