3 GNU/Linux apps to boost your digital privacy

These deserve to be some of your new go-to free software privacy tools.

3 GNU/Linux apps to boost your digital privacy

If you want the most private and secure operating system for your desktop or laptop, GNU/Linux is likely the route to go. Mainstream proprietary offerings like macOS or ChromeOS may have some security benefits over the many Linux distros available, but Linux's strengths far outweigh these potential shortcomings.

That being said, the applications you put on your machine can make or break your privacy and/or security as well, regardless of what operating system you run. That's why I have three Linux desktop apps that you should give a try today that can help improve your digital privacy in one way or another.

Metadata Cleaner

A screenshot of Metadata Cleaner ready to wipe the data from a PDF and a JPG.

Many people don't know how much information a picture can actually store, apart from the obvious "a thousand words" and all. Whether it's information regarding the time the photo was taken, where it was taken, or even which device took it, a photo can carry a lot of metadata that can accidentally dox you if you aren't careful.

And it's not just photos either. Many files and documents can contain metadata about to whom they belong, who made them, their origins, etc. That's where Metadata Cleaner comes in. Metadata Cleaner does exactly what the title says--it cleans all that metadata from your files and photos, so you can safely share them with other people or online.

Just open the app, add the files you want to be scrubbed, and let it do its thing. It even has light mode if your needs are minor and you want a quicker output. The app is easy to use, it does a quality job from what I can tell, and thanks to Flathub, it's easy to install.


A screen shot of Obfuscate being used to hide the license plate of a car with a black box.

Maybe it's not metadata you are worried about. Perhaps there is something or someone in your photos you want omitted for one reason or another. Obfuscate is here to save the day.

Obfuscate lets you quickly and easily redact private information from your photos. You can simply blur out any portion of the photo you want or need, or you can even draw a solid black box over it. The latter is significantly more private and secure, so I recommend using that option most of the time.

Read also: 3 quick tips to get the most out of Tailscale

This is particularly handy when sharing sensitive files online for whatever reason. Let's say you need to email a copy of your driver's license to someone, but you don't want them to know your home address. Perhaps you've taken a photo you wish to share on social media but need to hide a license plate as illustrated in the photo above.

No matter the reason, it's nice to have a straight forward way to redact information from photos, and Obfuscate is that exact tool. Maybe you'll never need it, but the one time you do, you'll be glad you have it.

You can download Obfuscate from Flathub in the link below.

File Shredder

A screenshot of File Shredder ready to shred a TXT file and a JPG.

Losing or accidentally deleting a file can be a real headache. Sometimes, trying to get back the photo or file you accidentally trashed can be quite difficult, though not impossible. Other times that's exactly what you need.

File Shredder is here to make any deleted file stay that way. Deleting a file with File Shredder instead of manually in your file manager is a more secure and permanent way to do so.

Digital file shredding is a process of obfuscation that writes random data over the content of your previous files. This makes those files irrecoverable.

File Shredder implements this using its own internal shredding code rather than an external option. Just open the app, point it at the files you want to delete, and click the shred button. It's that simple.

Like the programs listed before it, File Shredder is dumb simple to use, and it's available to download from Flathub.


There you have it, three desktop GNU/Linux applications to help boost your digital privacy. I've needed all three in the past, and I hope you find them half as useful as I do.

Now, these apps aren't going to inherently make you more private on their own or anything, but they can certainly become useful free software tools on your privacy journey.

What do you think? Don't like my picks? Think I left something out? Let me know in the comments below or on one of Zero Click's social accounts. I'd love to hear your feedback.