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Sponsored App Review: PGPTools

June 12, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

PGPTools is an Android app that exists to do pretty much what you think. It handles both the encryption and decryption of messages using PGP keys. It can generate PGP keys as well as keep a list of public and private keys protected by a password of your choice. You can also import and export keys whenever you want, too. The main idea behind PGPTools is convenience and ease of use, having this installed keeps all the PGP features that you’d need right there on your phone or tablet, and there’s no need to head to the Internet for a potentially unsafe tool, as all of this is done right on your device, rather than being sent elsewhere.

Downloading PGPTools is nice and simple. It is a paid app, but that does mean that there are no ads in your face, and considering it’s such an essential tool for some people, it’s worth the small asking price. For those interested, there’s a detailed FAQ available here.

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What’s nice about PGPTools is that it goes through all of the features that it has and how you can use them with little fanfare, and getting the app to actually work is pretty simple, too.

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Generating a key, which is something those active in the Bitcoin or open source development community might want to do, is really simple.

key generation

Importing a key is, predictably, just as simple.

import key

Managing your key list is nice and easy, and throughout the app everything is designed to be as simple as possible, like the Paste keys throughout the app.

PGP key list

Choosing a password for this use is down to you, so you can make it as simple or as complicated as you’d like, really.

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For me, it was hard to sort of see why I would need an app like PGPTools, but then it isn’t built for users like me. It’s built for developers, members of the Bitcoin community or generally anyone that wants to transfer bits of information or sign things with an encrypted message. The app itself is far from the most exciting thing available on Android, but it does exactly what it says it does, and it doesn’t ask a high price for that utility. Plus, there’s no pesky ads or anything like that to deal with either. All-in-all, a fairly simple, yet refreshing app that will solve a pretty necessary problem for a lot of people.

Ratings

  • Speed (4/5) – As everything is done on your device, how quickly keys are encrypted or decrypted depends on your smartphone, but it is a quick app in my experience.
  • Features (4/5) – It doesn’t do much, there’s no getting around that, but for a lot of users, it’ll be just what they were looking for.
  • Theme (4/5) – It’s not the best-looking app out there, but it has some good cues here and there, and the interface is clean, and easy to understand and work with.
  • Overall (4/5) – PGPTools is an app that encrypts, decrypts and manages PGP messages and keys. That’s it. If that’s what you need in an app, then there’s no reason not to try this out, as it gets the job done fairly well.

Pros

  • Manages keys with ease, behind a password of your choosing.
  • No ads or anything like that, or even a need to be connected to the Web if you’re that paranoid.
  • Works great on either tablets or smartphones.
  • Paste button along with other UI hooks make it nice and easy.

Cons

  • Appears to be a sort of niche product, and can be a little convoluted.
  • Links to online services known for their use of PGP might be a good idea.

PGPTools doesn’t have much to offer, but if that’s all you need from the app, then there’s no reason to complain, is there? Refreshingly, PGPTools is an app that actually does what it promises to do, and it doesn’t have pesky in-app purchases or ads to deal with, so if you’re in need of a PGP app on your Android device, then this is a great option.

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