If you frequently suffer from the fit of a panic attack when you give your phone to someone and find that you have sensitive emails / documents / pictures or other files on your device then you need to hide these files from prying eyes. Or maybe you’ve installed apps that you prefer to keep with your own eyes. Nobody needs to know the Candy Crush app you are playing. Either way, we’ve put together a list of different ways to secure your personal files and apps.
If you really want to have the most granular control possible over what shows up on your phone, you may need to root it, but if you’d rather not, we’ve included some non-root options as well. Additionally, Android has some built-in features that you can use to keep your secrets.
How to safely hide your files and apps on Android
The basics of hiding your files and apps
While some manufacturers have added ‘safe’ functions to provide secure space on the handsets (Samsung’s secure folder, or private space, for example), Android was not very efficient at processing files and folders selectively. default.
What users with any version of Android can do for a really basic privacy fix is change the names of the folders that contain the content you want to hide. So if you want to hide your images, open a file explorer (there is a basic one built in Android Marshmallow and newer), select the folder with the images you want to hide and change its name. Now it won’t show your images in your gallery or files in folders.
Of course, it’s not really hidden away though – Android no longer automatically pulls information onto your screen but if you lose your phone the files are still fully accessible.
Likewise, you can hide those annoying pre-installed apps that arrive with your phone but don’t allow uninstallation without using a third-party app. To do this, you need to access Settings> Applications , then choose the app you want to hide. If you can’t uninstall them, you can usually turn them off. If you have to learn prevent apps from running in the background , you can do it first.
Also read: How to hide a WhatsApp chat?
Unless you want the most basic protection and protection from prying eyes, you’ll likely want to enlist the help of a third party to gain greater control over your data, files, and applications. Luckily, there are a whole bunch of apps to help you achieve your goal.
Hide your apps
If you just want to hide your apps, rather than securing them, one of the easiest ways is to install a non-stock launcher (assuming your manufacturer hasn’t provided a native option to hide apps). There are a lot of things to choose from that let you hide apps, but one of the most popular on the Play Store is the ever-present Nova Launcher.
Although there is a free version of Nova Launcher, you will need the update Premium to unlock the option to hide applications. If you buy it, you need to navigate to Nova Launcher> Nova Settings> App & Widget Drawers , then scroll to the option Drawer groups> Hide applications .
Apex Launcher is another popular option that includes the ability to hide apps, except it doesn’t require a paid upgrade to access the feature. Just open Settings> Drawer settings> Hidden apps to control which are visible in your app drawer.
Lock your apps
OK, so maybe you have hidden your apps using the options above, but know deep down that what you want is security, not obfuscation. To prevent users from opening your apps, hidden or not, you have several third-party options. You’ll probably want to try and pair up to find one you like the most.
One of the most popular free options on the Play Store for adding a lock to your apps is AppLock; it also works for videos and images, but we have more suggestions for locking these down later.
Besides letting you lock apps and other items, it also has a useful feature that allows you to prevent the app from being uninstalled. Once this advanced protection enabled, you will need to use the password you set to uninstall the app. You can also turn off the advanced protection when you don’t need to use it.
One thing to keep in mind is that there is another version called “AppLock Fingerprint”, although both apps now support fingerprint unlocking. It also brings other options like a selfie snapshot of anyone who tries to access your phone without permission and the ability to lock your phone remotely. Both offer paid in-app upgrades as well.
Once installed, you just need to scroll through the list of your installed apps and select the ones you want to protect. Then every time you open any of these apps, you will be asked for a password or fingerprint to unlock them.
Oh, and if the ads are too annoying, you can pay for a premium version that removes them.
Go incognito with Hide It Pro
So far, all of the apps on this list do exactly what you expect them to do, but there are other secret options that put a little more effort into hiding the fact that you are preventing files and apps from being released. ‘be displayed.
For example, Hide It Pro uses an icon that describes it as an “audio manager” and when you open the app for the first time you see some audio settings. Press and hold the logo and you can go to the secure section of your phone where all your hidden files, apps and other content can be found.
There are other features built into Hide It Pro as well, like encryption of files on a case-by-case basis, but for some aspects (like secure messaging or browsing) you will need to install the add-ons separately.
Which app you use to hide or protect your files and other folders will depend on what you want to achieve. If you just want to hide the files, you can do that without installing anything, but that won’t offer much protection if you have data where someone wants (and has the opportunity) to access it. .
With so many apps to choose from on the Play Store, you might have a favorite that’s not on this list! Let us know which app you like best in the comments below!