The vast majority of us have a smartphone, which is pretty darn handy. However, chances are that your smartphone contains an awful lot of data. From pictures to apps, tunes to folders, there are all kinds of things on most mobiles. But what happens if you want to hide that data? We’re taking a look at why you might want to hide your data, and how to do so if you choose to, so keep reading for all you need to know.
Why Hide Your Data?
Alrighty, there are tons of reasons that you might want to hide your data. Maybe you’ve got an Amazon app that contains your credit card number and you’d rather that no one bought stuff on your account if they got hold of your phone. Or maybe you hand your mobile over to your kid to play Candy Crush and don’t want them to see your Tinder profile. Maybe you’ve got a few naughty pictures and don’t want your mum to find them. Whatever. Or maybe you simply want your phone to look clear and minimalist, without all those icons and folders floating around.
Hiding things on an Android phone is relatively simple. There are various methods (most of which will involve you downloading an app to do the job for you), some more secure than others. Which method you choose will really depend on why you’re hiding stuff and on what you want to hide.
The Easy Way
We’ll start out with a relatively simple way of hiding things like audio tracks, photos and folders. This way isn’t especially secure (as we’ll discuss below), nor is it appropriate for hiding apps, but it does the job quickly and doesn’t particularly require you to download anything. Let’s say you’ve got some, ahem, adult pictures that you’d rather no one saw. The first thing you do is put all those pictures into a folder inside your camera or gallery app, hypothetically we’ll say you call this folder “pics.”
Now you can do the next step through your phone’s file manager, but we recommend downloading the free ES File Explorer app (it’s just easier to use and it’s free, so why not?). Go into your file manager, find the folder called pics and rename it .pics. Conveniently Android hides any file that has a name that begins with a dot. To be even sneakier you can rename it something like .siminfo so it sounds boring. This file will no longer show up in your gallery or anywhere else except through your file manager. Not especially secure (anyone nosey enough to go through all your files will find it eventually), but good enough for most purposes.
If you want a little more security and you’re trying to hide photos then we recommend using an app called KeepSafe. This app basically creates a digital safe on your phone, you’ll set up a password, put your pics into the safe, and then you’ll need the password to access them. The pictures will not appear anywhere else once you’ve put them in the safe. Pretty simple, right?
The main reason we recommend KeepSafe for this job is that it makes it easy to move a lot of data around at once (handy if you’ve got tens or hundreds of pics to move). It’s also free, though there’s a premium version with more features (like an alert if someone tries to log into your safe), and there’s the option to send your pics to the cloud too (just in case your phone gets stolen).
For file hiding we recommend a different app, though still free, called File Hide Expert. This one is easy to use.
- Grab the free download and open up the app and you’ll be presented with an empty list.
- Hit the file icon in the top right corner to get a list of all the files on your device.
- Now, simply tap the files that you want to hide.
- When you’ve populated your list, hit the “hide all” button and that’s it, they’re hidden.
However, you might also want to head into the settings menu and set up a password to protect those hidden files (otherwise what’s the point of hiding them?). Do that and you’re good to go. Hidden files can be restored by simply opening the app and hitting the “restore all” button at the bottom of the hidden files list. Done. If you want to take it a step further – then you might want to fully encrypt some of your files, especially those in Cloud Storage – you can do this with apps like Boxcryptor and Cryptomator.
Hiding apps gets a little more complicated. If you just want to clean up your home page then the easiest option is just to delete the app icons from that home page. Though apps themselves will stay in your app drawer (but the casual observer won’t see them). If you really want to hide though, then depending on the make of your phone you’re going to have to go to more trouble.
All phones have something called a launcher, which is basically the software that allows your phone to run Android. Launchers are built in and are default. Some launchers allow you to go into the settings menu and hide apps from view. Samsung phones generally allow you to do this, for example. If your phone’s launcher doesn’t let you do this, then you’re going to need to replace your default launcher with another. For this we recommend Nova Launcher, the most popular choice and free to boot. Installing a launcher isn’t always easy, but Google the make of your phone and “install Nova Launcher” and you should get easy to follow instructions.
Once you have Nova Launcher installed:
- Reboot your phone
- Then go into your app drawer
- Find “Nova Settings”
- tap it, then choose “App & Widget Drawer” from the list of options
- Choose “Hide Apps.”
- Then simply check the apps that you want to hide.
There are all kinds of reasons why you might want to hide stuff on android including files, photos, and even apps on your smartphone. Fortunately, there are also some easy enough solutions. So hide away, and never be worried about handing your phone to somebody again!