Most Secure Android Phone 2021

by Jeremy


Pixel 5 in Sorta SageSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

The Google Pixel 5 is the best Android phone when it comes to security. Google builds its phones to be secure from the start, and its monthly security patches guarantee you won’t be left behind on future exploits. Some of the most secure Android phones available to date are on this list to keep your mind at ease while staying safely connected.

Best Overall: Google Pixel 5

The Pixel 5 is updated directly from Google with the latest version of Android. Outside of any new features that may come with, the device security model has been updated and strengthened by a dedicated team that regularly audits and enhances the code used to build Android. On top of this, Google releases updates to the security model at the beginning of every month for the people who build Android phones to apply to its software. These are important, more important than any other update.

Equally important, but often overlooked, is transparency. You shouldn’t have to trust a company when it says something is secure or updated, and the Android code for both the platform version and all updates is available for anyone to take a look at. Plenty of people do, and despite any opinions to the contrary, Android, as written, has proven to be a very secure platform. A phone like a Pixel 5 is the embodiment of this.

Pros:

  • Monthly (or more) security updates
  • Guaranteed updates for three years
  • Excellent software experience
  • Improved battery life
  • Great cameras

Cons:

  • No headphone jack
  • No “XL” model this time
  • No Wi-Fi 6 support

Best Overall


Pixel 5 Sorta Sage Render

Google Pixel 5

At the forefront of Android security

With its default protections, the Pixel 5 will keep you protected from security threats and gets updated to keep it that way.

Best Alternative: Samsung Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

Samsung used to have a poor reputation when it came to Android security, but the company has done a complete turn-around and is now regularly updating and patching its phones. The Galaxy S21 ships with Android 11 and will get regular monthly security patches in a timely manner. It also has Samsung Knox, which adds an extra layer of security that can separate business and personal data and allow you to hide certain information behind a password. This can mean the difference between personal and corporate security.

Outside of the security features, the rest of the Galaxy S21 experience is rock solid. It features a gorgeous 120Hz AMOLED display, flagship speed thanks to the Snapdragon 888 processor, and a very respectable 4,000 mAh battery.

You don’t get the official guarantee of updates that you do with Google’s Pixel 5, but Samsung’s recent performance in these regards has made us confident in the S21’s overall security. Factor that together with the improved processing speed and display over the Pixel 5, and it stands out as an excellent alternative.

Pros:

  • Top-notch hardware
  • Samsung Knox
  • 120Hz AMOLED display
  • Great cameras
  • Android 11 out of the box

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Updates aren’t guaranteed like the Pixel
  • Not a big leap forward from the S20

Best Alternative


Galaxy S21 Leaked Render

Samsung Galaxy S21

Timely updates

Samsung is now one of the best phone makers when it comes to keeping your phone updated with the latest security patches.

Best Cheap Flagship: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Galaxy S20 FE in Cloud Red

Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

Samsung followed up the Galaxy S20 lineup with the Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) and it continued its dedication to security, and if you’re interested in a flagship that’s a little cheaper, this one fits the bill. The Galaxy S20 FE has since been upgraded to Android 11 and keeps getting monthly security patches in a timely manner. Just like the newer Galaxy S21, Samsung Knox is on board if you need an extra layer of protection.

There isn’t a huge gap in age between this phone and the Galaxy S21, so the update cycle should apply to both, and it’s yet another reason why it’s a great choice. You get a good mix of design, features, and performance, along with a flagship Android experience that saves you some cash.

Outside of the security perspective, everything else about the Galaxy S20 FE also holds up incredibly well. Samsung made it by mixing together elements of the previous S20 lineup, including that beautiful AMOLED screen and solid camera output.

Pros:

  • Top-notch hardware
  • Samsung Knox
  • Still getting regular security patches
  • Awesome display
  • Reliable cameras

Cons:

  • Not the newest phone in Samsung’s lineup
  • Not every color is available everywhere

Best Cheap Flagship


Galaxy S20 Plus Aura Blue

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Still great

Samsung will keep your Galaxy S20 FE updated with critical security patches so you can stay secure while online or off.

Best Value: Google Pixel 4a

Pixel 4a Alex Google Launcher Assistant

Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central

The Pixel 4a is a scaled-back version of 2019’s Pixel 4, but it’s clearly one of the best value phones you can buy. The internal hardware isn’t over the top, though extremely capable for pretty much all day-to-day tasks. And you still get the great Pixel camera system on top of that.

You’ll also find the exact same focus on security and security-related software features. The Pixel 4a receives the same updates that the more expensive Pixel 5 does, and gets them at the same time. The result is a super secure phone at a low price, making the Pixel 4a one of the best values out there if you don’t want to compromise your security just because you have a lower spending budget.

Pros:

  • Monthly (or more) security updates
  • Low price
  • Excellent software experience
  • Great cameras

Cons:

  • Not the most powerful
  • No wireless charging

Best Value


Pixel 4a Barely Blue Render

Google Pixel 4a

Inexpensive, secure, and capable

The Pixel 4a is the best mid-range Android phone you can buy, and one of the most secure.

Best Low Cost: Nokia 5.3

Nokia 5.3

Source: HMD Global

We wouldn’t consider the Pixel 4a to be an expensive phone, but if you’re shopping with an especially tight budget, you may need a phone that costs even less. For you, we’d recommend the Nokia 5.3.

The Nokia 5.3 is part of Google’s Android One program, meaning it’s guaranteed to get two years of Android updates and three years of monthly security patches. That means platform updates till 2022 and security updates to 2023. You don’t always see that level of update commitment with some flagship devices, so getting it at this price is outstanding. The Nokia 5.3 also has a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, giving you a level of on-device security that’s not always expected for phones this cheap.

Outside of those perks, the Nokia 5.3 also delivers a great design, an HD+ display with minimal bezels, expandable storage, and more.

Pros:

  • Monthly security patches are guaranteed
  • Running Android 11
  • Has a fingerprint sensor
  • Clean, uncluttered software
  • Great hardware

Best Low Cost


Nokia 5.3

Nokia 5.3

Keep your spending to a minimum

Trying to spend as little as possible while still getting great security features? The Nokia 5.3 is for you.





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