If you often experience something like panic when you give your phone to someone, and your device has some special emails/documents/images or other files, you need a way to hide these files from prying eyes.
Perhaps you have installed applications that you really can’t be proud of – no one should know about the Farming Sim game that you are playing. In any case, we have compiled a list of different ways to ensure the security of your personal files and applications.
If you really want to have the most complete control over what is stored on your phone, you may need to root it. If you do not want to do this, we have also included some options that do not include root rights. In addition, Android has several built-in functions that you can use to maintain privacy.
How to hide applications in stock Android
The easiest way to hide your applications, files, and personal data when transferring a regular Android smartphone to anyone else is to use a guest account. You can configure the guest user on your device from the settings menu. Follow the scheme “System> Advanced> User Group” to access the menu. After all the necessary settings are made, you can quickly switch between the main and guest accounts from the drop-down menu. Guests gain experience as if the phone had just been removed from the box and loaded for the first time. There are no credentials, and only preinstalled applications are displayed in the application panel. You can also choose whether you want guests to be able to make calls or not.
Having a second account on your phone is also ideal if you often give your smartphone to the same person. A good example of this is a parent who passes his phone to his child to watch videos or games. You can create a separate account that shows only those applications that your child should see, and quickly and easily switch between them.
How to hide your files and applications: the basics
Although some manufacturers added “storage” functions to provide a safe space on phones (for example, “Secure Folder” from Samsung or “Personal Space” from Honor), stock Android did not do very well with the need to selectively display default files and folders.
Users with any version of Android, for a basic change in privacy, can rename folders containing content that needs to be hidden. Therefore, if you want to hide your images, open the file explorer (there is the main one available in the Android version of Marshmallow and newer), select the folder with the images you want to hide, and change its name. Now the system will not display your images in your gallery or files in folders.
Admittedly, this is not the most reliable option in terms of secrecy – Android no longer displays information on the phone’s display, it’s true, but if you lose your phone, the files will still be fully accessible to other people.
Similarly, you can hide those annoying pre-installed applications that come with your phone without using third-party applications. To do this, you need to go to “Settings> Applications” and then select the application that you want to hide. If you cannot remove such an application, you can simply disable it. If you need to learn how to stop applications in the background, you can find out the necessary information first.
If you don’t need the simplest means of hiding and “protecting” from prying eyes, you will probably want to seek outside help to get better control over your data, files, and applications. Fortunately, there are many applications that can help you achieve your goal.
Hide your apps
If you just want to hide and not protect your applications, one of the easiest ways to do this is to install a custom launcher (provided that your manufacturer has not provided a built-in option to hide applications). There are really many options for third-party launchers, but one of the most popular on the Play Store is the ubiquitous Nova Launcher.
Although there is a free version of Nova Launcher, you’ll need a paid Prime upgrade to unlock the ability to hide apps. If you purchased it, you need to go to the scheme> “ Nova Settings> Application and Widget Panels ”, and then scroll down to “ Panel Groups> Hide Applications ”.
Apex Launcher is another popular option that has the ability to hide applications, except that a paid update is not required to access this feature. Follow the steps: “Settings> Panel settings> Hidden applications” to control the applications that appear in the application panel.
So, perhaps you hid your applications using the above options, but deep down you know that you need security, not confusion. To prevent users from opening your applications at all (hidden or not), you have several third-party options. You probably want to try a few to find the one that you like the most.
AppLock is one of the most popular free apps on the Play Store to add locks to your apps. This application is suitable for videos and images, but we have more suggestions to block such items later.
In addition to being able to block applications and other elements, AppLock also has a useful feature that helps prevent application uninstallation. After activating this advanced protection, you will need to use the password that you set to remove the application. You can also disable advanced protection when you do not need to use it.
It is worth remembering that there is another version called AppLock Fingerprint, although both applications now support fingerprint unlocking. This application also has additional options, such as a selfie photo of anyone trying to access your phone without authorization, and the ability to remotely lock the phone. Both offers paid in-app updates.
After installation, you just need to scroll through the list of installed applications and select which ones you want to protect. Then, each time you open one of these applications, you will be asked to enter a password or fingerprint to unlock them.
A small caveat: if the advertisement is too annoying, you can pay for the premium version, where there are no advertising messages.
Be incognito with Hide It Pro
So far, all the applications on our list have done exactly what you expect from them, but there are other hidden options that have made a little more effort to hide the fact that you do not allow files and applications to be displayed.
For example, Hide It Pro uses an icon called the “sound manager,” and when you first open the application, you see some sound settings. Press and hold the logo, after which you will get access to the protected section of your phone, where you can find all hidden files, applications and other content.
There are other features built into Hide It Pro, such as encrypting files on a case by case basis, but for some aspects (for example, for secure messaging or browsing the web) you need to install add-ons separately.
Which application you use to hide or protect your files will depend on what you want to achieve. If you just want the files to not be displayed at all, you can do so without installing anything, but this will not provide much protection if you have data that someone wants (and is able to) access.
With so many apps to choose from on the Play Store, you might have a favorite that isn’t on our list. Let us know which application you prefer in the comments below!