How to hide files, photos and apps on Android phones

How easy would it be for someone to assume your identity if they had control of your smartphone? Depending on how complex your internal defenses are, they would be able to text people as you, post to your Facebook account or even access your bank accounts and make purchases in your name.

Technology has made these strange devices a part of our identity. Just as you disclose parts of yourself to some people yet hide them from others, the desire to hide files, photos or applications on your smartphone is a popular one.

You might not want your mother to stumble across your photos if she needs to borrow your phone. You might have some private documents that contain sensitive personal information stored. You likewise might have apps that aren’t child friendly for you to feel safe handing over your phone to your nephew so he can play CSR Racing.

Whatever the reason be, there are plenty of options when it comes to hiding content on your phone. Lets take a look at a few of them here and discuss the benefits and risks of each one.

How to Hide Files

Most Android devices don’t actually have a stock ability to hide stuff, so no matter what you’re looking to do, you’re probably going to have to go for third-party apps. Let’s start with the basics and learn to hide some files in general.

A great app for this task is File Hide Expert. It’s a free app and lets you hide any file on your phone with ease. To get this up and running, first download the app from the Google Play Store. When you open the app, you’ll receive a message indicating that the hidden file list is empty. Tap the folder icon in the top-right of the screen to begin hiding files.

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The app works like a basic file management app. As long as you know where the file is located, you can hide it regardless of it’s type. Check off any files you want to hide, and then head back to your main screen.

file-hide-expert-list

From here, hitting “Hide All” will spirit away all of your files making them inaccessible to snooping phone borrowers. They’ll no longer appear in other file managers or galleries. To bring them back simply open File Hide Expert again and tap “Restore All.”

file-hide-expert-hide

Of course, this hardly keeps your content safe. After all, anyone can just open up File Hide Expert and see all the files you don’t want them to see in one easy-to-access list. A smart idea will be to use File Hide Expert’s password capabilities.

file-hide-expert-password

Tap the Menu button and then Settings. The very first option will be to enable a password. Check that box and you’ll be prompted to enter a password to use. Be careful not to forget this because you’ll need to use it every time you boot up File Hide Expert.

How to Hide Photos

Now, although File Hide Expert technically works for any kind of file you can imagine, it’s not really the most efficient way to hide photos. If you’re the kind of person who likes snapping pics every now and then, you might have a better experience with KeepSafe.

KeepSafe basically creates a digital vault on your phone where you can toss anything that you don’t want showing up anywhere else. You have to create a PIN to use every time you want to access your app and it keeps all of your sensitive files in one location. There is also an option to backup your private files on the cloud. That way you can recover your lost pics if your phone gets lost or broken.

KeepSafe is rapidly becoming one of the most widely used privacy apps and the current version is free to use with premium features available for unlocking at $4.99 a month. The cloud backup service is free but the premium version gives you additional features like snazzy PIN theme, a fake PIN that lets users think they’ve gained access to your hidden files if they use it and a “secret door” that disguises KeepSafe as a utility app unless you long-press on the icon. Premium members also get a “Break-in Alert” system that logs failed access attempts so that you can see if someone else has been trying to get at your private files. In addition to hiding pictures, KeepSafe can also be used as a repository for sensitive data such as passwords and ID cards.

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Simply download the app from the Google Play Store and the setup guide will walk you through setting up a PIN.

keepsafe-password

With that accomplished, you can add any photos to KeepSafe by opening a folder and tapping the ‘add picture’ icon at the bottom right. Use the browser to select the photos you want to hide.

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Alternatively, you can add files to the vault by accessing your phone’s normal gallery, tapping the “Share” button on the desired picture and selecting KeepSafe from the list of options. This will move the photo to your private collection and remove it from the gallery.

How to Hide Apps

Hiding apps is a good way to clean up your app tray and keep guest users from stumbling across any apps you’d rather keep your own business.

Some stock launchers offer this functionality right out of the box. Most Samsung users, for instance, have the ability to hide apps without leaning on third party apps. If your launcher doesn’t support app hiding, give Nova Launcher a spin. It’s an excellent launcher all around and it gives you the ability to hide apps with a simple and intuitive option.

Install Nova Launcher and open the app drawer. Navigate to Nova Settings > App & widget drawers > Hide Apps. Select the apps you want to hide and they won’t show up on your app tray anymore.

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To reveal an app again, simply return to the same menu and uncheck the desired app.

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