Does your kid or teen have a phone, and you are worried about the apps they use? Are you suspicious of your spouse and the apps they are using (and hiding from you)? In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about hiding applications, and finding hidden apps, on Android.
Note: This article is for educational purposes only and we don’t encourage you to invade the privacy of others.
How Can You Hide Apps on Android?
There are many ways you can hide apps on Android.
Native Hiding Method
Only Samsung, Redmi, and One Plus’s launchers have native app hiding features available. Here is how you can use them:
How to Hide Apps on a Samsung Phone?
There are two native ways for hiding applications on a Samsung Device:
Using the UI
To hide an application on a Samsung phone, open your App Drawer (Menu), and then tap on the three dots on the top right-hand side of the screen. Open the Home Screen Settings. Scroll to the bottom, and you will see Hide Apps. Tap on it, and you can select the Apps you want to hide. Finally, touch on Apply.
To open the Home Screen Settings, you can also touch continuously on the home screen for three seconds, and an icon will appear on the bottom right.
You can open hidden applications by using the search menu. They will not appear on the App drawer, and you can see them only after running a search.
By Keeping Applications in a Secure Folder
Samsung has a privacy feature known as the Secure Folder. With it, you can create a folder that will show up on the App Drawer but will only be accessible with a passcode.
To create one, you need to go to Settings > Lock Screen and Security (or Biometrics and Security) > Secure Folder. Then, you will need to log in with a Samsung Account – set a passcode, which can be a Pattern, PIN, or a Password.
As you do this, the secure folder will appear on your phone. To add an app, just open the folder with the passcode, and tap on Add Files or Add Apps on the bottom of the screen.
You can also hide the Secure Folder from your App drawer. For this, again, go to Settings > Lock Screen and Security (or Biometrics and Security) > Secure Folder, and uncheck Show Secure Folder. To display it, go to the same settings and check the option.
How to Hide Applications on Xiaomi Redmi Phones?
You can easily hide apps on your Xiaomi phone if it is running MIUI. For this, go to Settings > App Lock > Hidden Apps. For MIUI 11, the path is Settings > App > App Lock > Hidden Apps. There, you can select the applications that you want to hide.
To access them, pinch and expand your fingers on the phone’s home screen, and there you can see the hidden apps folder. You will need to enter the apps lock password to view its content.
How to Hide Apps in One Plus?
Hiding Apps in One Plus is more straightforward than other OS. Open your App Drawer and swipe right from the left edge of the screen. Your device will then display a hidden space, and you can tap on the Add Icon to add applications there.
Hiding apps in One Plus is not as secure as the other two because all it does is hide the app listing from the App Drawer. Anyone with the knowledge of the Hidden Space can do the same and access the applications that you hid.
Disable an App
When you disable an App, it will stop showing on the home screen. To disable an app on Android, go to Settings > Apps(or Apps and Notifications) > All Apps> Name of the App > Disable.
To view and enable a disabled app, simply go to Settings > Apps > Disabled. You can simply tap on the disabled app name, and select the Enable option to make it appear and usable on the App drawer again.
Using Third-Party Solutions
If you don’t want to disable apps every time or don’t have a native ad hide feature, you can use a third Party Solution. You can hide apps in these ways:
App Hide Applications
These applications help you put your apps in a vault and password protect it. The good thing about these applications is that most of them let you hide other files apart from applications, and they will not be accessible even when someone tries to access them from a PC with a data cable.
Camouflage App Hiders
They are similar to general app hiders but have another functionality. They can camouflage themselves, tricking people into believing that the app is just a regular app, but doing more than that.
For example, the Calculator Vault behaves like a calculator. It does everything that the normal calculator does. But you can access your hidden apps with a secret combination of buttons. Other popular applications are the Notepad Vault and the Dialer Vault.
You can download various third-party Launchers on your phone. If you are not familiar with the concept, think about it as downloading and installing a “theme”, which allows more features than your native menu screen. The most popular one is the Nova Launcher, which lets you hide applications easily as you could do on a Samsung phone.
To hide an app with the launcher, first, download and install it. Then, open Nova Launcher Settings > App & Widget Drawers > Hide Apps. Simply select the apps you don’t want to show on the home screen. To access them, type their name in the search box.
How to See Hidden Apps on Android?
Go Through Every Listing on the App Drawer
This will help you find any app locks, secure, and normal folders. In some cases, the “spy” only happens to check the apps and not the folders, so check thoroughly. If you find an app lock, it is best to talk to the person directly and ask them to open it with their password.
If you see secure folders or such, refer to the information above for Samsung or Nova Launcher.
See the Nature of Apps
How many of us actually download third-party applications for services that are already available on the device, like camera and calculator apps?
Open Google Playstore on the phone. Tap on the Menu button (three horizontal lines on the top left) and select My Apps. See the installed apps and check the description for every suspicious one. You will know exactly what they do.
Check Disabled Apps
Just like we said before, go to Settings > Apps (Apps & Notifications) > Disabled Apps. There, you can see a list of the applications that are on the phone but won’t show on the Application Drawer. Enable and open them to discover potential suspicious activities.
Sometimes Malware Can Hide Themselves
Malware is a program designed to infiltrate devices to cause problems. Android malware can do various things like make the phone slow, and in some extreme cases, steal information, or even block access to the device and ask for ransom.
Refer to one of our previous articles, How to Remove Malware from Android to find out more.
Conclusion: Finding hidden apps on Android is knowing how to hide applications on the device. You will know every trick the device owner has up their sleeves, and you can monitor them to know if they really are hiding things. Hiding apps on Android is straightforward with native features on some device models, but most people will use third-party solutions.