The modern smartphone app has existed for almost a dozen years now—ever since Apple launched the App Store back in 2008. In that time, apps have become a part of our daily

Thankfully, there are many app alternatives that do protect your privacy, so don’t continue to use ones that do not.

Apps that are “free” but really aren’t

Look, we all love free apps, right? Free is great. But just keep in mind that “free” is a bit of a misnomer when talking about any no-cost app. No app is truly free—we all pay for it in some way. If we don’t pay for the app with, you know, cash, we pay for it with our data.

Matter of fact, our data is so valuable to some app makers that there’s no way they would consider charging money for their app instead. Our data is just worth more to them than cold hard cash is. That value derives from their ability to monetize our data—whether that means using it to directly target us with ads, or selling it to data brokerage houses, which then do whatever they want with our personal information. Others, like face-morphing apps, also derive value from our data by using it to train their AI systems.

At the end of the day, just understand that “free” apps aren’t really free. Apps to stay away from include any “free”VPN apps, menstruation apps, Bible apps, flashlight apps, and face-morphing apps like FaceApp and Ever.

Apps that compel you to spend money

Apps are really good at separating us from our cash. So, if you want to be more fiscally responsible in 2020, it’s time to ditch apps that make it easy to spend. Yes, store apps like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart are obvious examples of apps that drive us to spend money, but there are many more serious offenders—and these usually come in the form of “Free-to-Play” games.

The games themselves might be free to download and play, but they are laden with costly in-app purchases that range from $0.99 to $99.99 or more (per purchase!). The gameplay in these apps is designed to nudge you (or your child) into making multiple in-app purchases to advance more quickly through the game you’ve become addicted to. Some examples (but by no means all) are games like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Fortnight, Candy Crush Jelly Saga, Pokémon Go, Marvel Contest of Champions, and many, many, many more.