How to hide apps on your Android phone

Hiding apps from plain sight on your Samsung or LG phone is easy

Hiding apps from plain sight on your Samsung or LG phone is easy


Every now and then, a man needs to hide their apps from the home screen or app drawer so as not to allow prying eyes or toddler's hands to hit on a Facebook or WhatsApp icon inadvertently to take a deep dive into your secret chats, or rack up a bill with in-game purchases in no time. That's where a few solutions to take your sensitive apps away from the home screen or app drawer come in handy.

Samsung


If you own a Samsung, you are in luck, as its Secure Folder solution not only hides apps apps from plain sight, but actually creates separate versions, so Notes, for instance, can have one collection of lists visible when you open it outside Secure Folder, and a totally different one when you access it via Secure Folder. The folder, in its turn, can be locked with a PIN, pattern, password or biometrics, so that only you can access and view the separate app versions there. Moreover, you can lock files and media there, too. 

Alternatively, you can go to Settings>Display>Home screen>Hide apps, and pick the icons to stash from there, though that would only hide them from plain view, they'll still be in search results, or in the app list.

Content of one and the same app can be completely different in Secure Folder (right) and outside of it

Content of one and the same app can be completely different in Secure Folder (right) and outside of it


LG


How to hide apps on your Android phone
Go to Settings>Display>Home screen>Hide apps, and you will see the list of apps shown on the right, ready to be hidden. Some Android brands, LG included, have the hiding option built into the interface, so you can simply tap on the "Hide apps" option in the home screen or app drawer settings menu, and choose which apps shouldn't appear in plain sight, as you can see in the screenshots above, coming from the S8+ and the V30.

HTC


The newest HTC U11 and other HTC phones come with a near-stock Sense interface overlay, yet they let you hide apps as an option accessible via the application drawer settings (the three-dot menu at the top):
 
  1. On the Apps screen, tap  > Show/hide apps.
  2. Select the apps you want to hide, or clear their check boxes to unhide them.
  3. Tap Done.

Android launcher


Those interfaces that don't give you the ability to hide apps like MIUI can simply be repainted with a third-party launcher like Nova or Apex. That's a universal solution that might not be to everyone's taste, but the ability to hide apps has to be embedded in the overlay by the manufacturer otherwise, and not everybody has gone through the trouble.

Hide apps with Nova

Hide apps with Nova


Hide apps with Apex

Hide apps with Apex



Many other brands enter agreements with third-party app developers, and their Android overlays come with alternatives to Samsung's Secret Folder already preinstalled. Huawei and honor have Gallery Vault, for instance, which de facto is an app you can download off Google Play, but it doesn't let you hide apps. 

As for third-party apps, we tried most of the top ones listed for the purpose of hiding or locking in Google Play, and none worked sufficiently well - we were able to trick them with various simple steps like killing all recent apps, restarting the phone, tweaking their permissions, or simply doing a simple search for the app, and launching it from there. Hey, if you are bent on snooping on someone's privacy, you will already know a hiding app is there, masked as a calculator, that's the oldest trick in the book!

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3 Comments

1. Be_Mine

Posts: 196; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

Android user who has never owned an iPhone here... Can you do this in iOS? (Asking out of curiosity)

2. nepalisherpa

Posts: 334; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

Except for a couple of built-in apps, you cannot.

3. deftozzz

Posts: 14; Member since: Jul 16, 2015

The only reason I changed oxygen os Launcher for nova Launcher is the app drawer hide apps function, or the lack of it

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