Pixel 4 XL sitting on a treeSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

The Google Pixel 4 (and 4 XL) is the best Android phone when it comes to security. Google builds its phones to be secure from the start, and you get monthly security patches to guarantee that you won't be left behind on future exploits. Three years of guaranteed updates will let you use your phone knowing you'll be up to date for what is likely the life of the phone.

Best Overall: Google Pixel 4

Pixel 4 phones are 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 4 is the embodiment of this.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • No headphone jack
  • Pixel 4 has weak battery life
  • Bleeding edge software can be buggy

Best Overall

Google Pixel 4

At the forefront of Android security

With its default protections, the Pixel 4 will keep you protected from security threats and gets updated to keep it that way.

Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy S20

Samsung Galaxy S20 Series All ThreeSource: Android Central

Samsung used to have a poor reputation when it comes to Android security, but the company has done a complete turn-around and is now regularly updating and patching its phones. The Galaxy S20 ships with Android 10 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.

Pros:

  • Top-notch hardware
  • Samsung Knox
  • Great cameras
  • Android 10 out of the box

Cons:

  • Expensive

Runner Up

Samsung Galaxy S20

Timely updates

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

Cheaper Flagship: Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S10 5GSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

The Galaxy S20 isn't the first Samsung phone that shows a new dedication to security, and if you're interested in a flagship that's a little cheaper, the Galaxy S10 fits the bill. The Galaxy S10 was upgraded to Android 10 and will get regular monthly security patches in a timely manner, and like the newer Galaxy S20, Samsung Knox is on board if you need an extra layer.

Pros:

  • Top-notch hardware
  • Samsung Knox
  • Awesome display

Cons:

  • One year older
  • 5G model is still pricey

Cheaper Flagship

Samsung Galaxy S10

Still great

Samsung will keep your Galaxy S10 updated with critical security patches so you can stay secure while online or off.

Best Value: Pixel 3a

Google Pixel 3aSource: Android Central

The Pixel 3a is a scaled-back version of the Pixel 3, but it's clearly one of the best value phones you can buy. The internal hardware isn't over the top but it's very capable, and you'll still get the great Pixel camera system.

You'll also find the exact same focus on security and security-related software features. The Pixel 3a receives the same updates that the more expensive Pixel 4 does, and it gets them at the same time. The result is a great secure phone at a low price.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Not as powerful
  • No wireless charging

Best Value

Google Pixel 3a

Inexpensive, secure, and capable

The Pixel 3a is the best mid-range Android phone you can buy and one of the most secure.

Bottom line

Media outlets like to give Android a bad reputation when it comes to security, and it's difficult to blame them. Old, outdated software from manufacturers with no real concern for your security or privacy is the norm when it comes to phones running Android. But it doesn't have to be this way.

The Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL deliver a great smartphone experience that ticks all the boxes for reviewers and average buyers alike, and with no modifications, your personal data is very safe. A team of security professionals and engineers are dedicated to keeping it that way. Any of the phones on our list will do a great job when it comes to security, but the overall experience of using the phone over and above the security aspect makes the Google Pixel 4 the best choice.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Jerry Hildenbrand is Mobile Nation's Senior Editor and works from a Chromebook full time. Currently, he is using Google's Pixelbook but is always looking at new products and may have any Chromebook in his hands at any time. You'll find him across the Mobile Nations network and you can hit him up on Twitter if you want to say hey.

Andrew Martonik is the Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central. He has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at AC since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

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