If you want to find the best app hider for iPhone & Android, just ask teenagers. Seriously, they know all the best ones because they love to hide apps from the prying eyes of parents.
Haven’t got a teenager handy? That’s okay. I’ve got the answer too: there are apps to hide your apps and hacks to use when there aren’t.
How To Hide Apps On iPhone?
This guide is based on the firmware of iOS 12 beta. If you are using iOS 10 or less, steps for hiding the apps might be slightly different but not much that will make you feel you uncomfortable.
- Open the “Settings” app from your iPhone.
- Tap on “Screen Time” followed by a tap on “Content & Privacy Restrictions.“
- On the next screen, create a passcode and enable the “Content and Privacy” option.
- For hiding preloaded apps from your homescreen, tap on the “Allowed Apps.” On the next screen, toggle off all the apps which you do not desire to be visible on your homescreen.”
- For hiding third-party apps from your homescreen, tap on the “Content Restriction” and then tap on “Apps.“
- To hide all third-party apps, tap on the “Don’t Allow Apps” option or if you desire to hide apps on the basis of age, tap on the desired age so that for the app to be visible in the homescreen the user needs to more than or equal to the selected age.
Reasons To Hide Phone Applications
What is your teenager up to on their smartphone?
- You’re Secretly Tracking Your Kid’s Phone
If you’re a parent, you understand the need to make sure your child is safe. Parents today often use parental control and spy apps to track their child’s phone activity. Not only do they want to know what their child is up to, but they want to make sure their kid isn’t being targeted by online sexual predators and cyberbullies. For example, a father found out his 9-year-old daughter was messaging a man who had a history of child pornography.
- You Want To Hide Things From Your Parents
Most teenagers want their privacy and don’t want their parents to know everything they’re up to. This includes having a new boyfriend or girlfriend, sexting, going to parties, and more. Often, they’ll hide private messaging apps on their phone to keep their parents from seeing them.
- You Want To Hide Your Love Affair
If someone in a relationship is cheating, they’ll likely hide phone applications to cover their tracks. There are iPhone and Android apps cheaters commonly use such as Vaulty Stocks and Ashley Madison. However, hiding these applications may not be enough to keep their affair secret since there are tools and apps to catch a cheater.
The Most Used Hidden Phone Applications
What hidden apps do you use?
Vault is a hidden app that keeps your photos and videos private and away from prying eyes. This application has a number of security features including:
- Creating a fake vault and password to trick someone.
- Encryption for your private photo albums.
- The ability to log in using Touch ID.
- Anyone trying to get into your Vault app will have their photo taken.
- Your photos and videos are stored in a private cloud.
If someone is trying to secretly communicate with someone, CoverMe is the app they’ll likely use. A user can privately text and call anyone within the application.
With CoverMe, users can also:
- Send disappearing text messages.
- Shake their phone to hide and lock texts.
- Secure texts, calls, contacts, photos, videos, and other files in a vault.
- Create a private number.
For parents or spouses, they may install a spy app on their child’s or partner’s cell phone to track their activities. These applications are designed to be undetectable and hidden from the phone owner. The installer of the app could monitor your texts, emails, web browsing history, and even listen to phone calls. If you believe someone has installed spyware on your smartphone, you’ll need to know how to find hidden apps.
How To Find Hidden Apps On Your Device
For Android Devices:
Screenshots of how to find hidden apps on Android devices.
- Step 1: Go to the Android phone’s settings.
- Step 2: Click on Apps.
- Step 3: Click on the three vertical dots on the top right.
- Step 4: Choose “Show system apps” to view all of the phone’s applications.
Screenshots of steps for finding hidden iPhone apps.
- Step 1: Open the App Store.
- Step 2: Click on your profile icon on the top right.
- Step 3: Go to “Purchased”.
- Step 4: Click on “Not On This iPhone” to view hidden cloud apps.
Also on an iPhone, you could find hidden apps in homepage folders.
All of this information should help you understand why people would hide phone applications and how to find them on Android and iPhone devices.
Want to learn about other technology how-to’s? Check out our articles on Safeguarde!
How To Find Hidden Apps
There are a couple of ways to identify if your child is hiding their social media apps from you — several of them are apps themselves!
Poof is an app that you definitely need to be familiar with, because it allows teens to make other apps they don’t want you see disappear. Although this particular app is no longer available, your child may still have it and use it. Also, similar apps are created regularly, so it’s a good idea to search online periodically for newer apps with these capabilities and see if your child has downloaded any of them.
Vaulty is an app for Android phones that allows you to create a password-protected ‘Vault” in which media such as photos and videos can be hidden away from the main image gallery. Vaulty will also take a picture of any person who tries to access the Vault with the wrong password.
Hide It Pro is similar to Vaulty, but is available for both Android and iPhone smartphones. It allows you to hide media, and the app itself is disguised as an “Audio Manager” that seemingly controls the volume of the smartphone. However, pressing and holding the app reveals a lock screen behind which users can hide messages, photos, videos, and apps.
This is definitely not a complete list of apps your child may not want you to know about, but it’s a start. If you see an app on your child’s phone that is new to you, google to find out what it does, and if it is safe for your teen to be using.
Other ways to find hidden activity is through unexplained blanks or missing data from their smartphones. According to a recent McAfee study, over 70% of teens have hidden online activity from their parents. 53% achieve this by clearing their browser history, while 34% hide or delete messages, photos, or videos.
If you check your child’s phone and see that they suddenly have no browser history, or there is obviously chunks missing from various text conversations, it’s safe to assume they’re taken steps to hide that from you.
Other red-flag behaviors include…
- Hiding their screen or turning off their device when you enter the room.
- Refusing to hand over their passwords. If they have nothing to hide, there should be no issue.
- A sudden increase in media usage. New apps can be “addictive” and take up a lot of time.
Of course, the best method on how to find hidden apps and determine if your teen is in trouble or using these apps inappropriately is to check their phones regularly. Monitoring their activity with an app like TeenSafe allows you to see deleted messages and social media activity that you might not otherwise know about.
Social media specialist Kristin Peaks recommends, “Look through their apps, texts and pictures. They may feel that you’re invading their privacy, but let’s be honest… You’re paying the phone bill, so you can do whatever you want!”
While monitoring can help you discover if your teen is hiding information from you, the next step is just as important: talking to them. If you discover any of these apps on your child’s phone, don’t overreact. Discuss with them how these apps are being used inappropriately and the consequences. Continue to calmly talk to them about your concerns, and by doing so, your child will feel more comfortable opening up to you when they need to.
How to hide app purchases from Family Sharing
- Go to the App Store app
- At the very top you’ll see “Purchases.” Click the > icon to the right
- Click on “My Purchases” at the top, which reveals a list of all your apps, including those not currently on your device
- Swipe left next to any app you want to hide to reveal the HIDE button. Click..and done.
And smart to consider for those apps you may have tried at some point then deleted, but still exist in your account — like say a video messaging app, or a social network that you gave up on.
Just note that to “unhide” an app, you can’t do it quite so easily. You’ll have to log into iTunes on a desktop, and not through your iOS device.
Related: 10 questions parents should ask when writing a cell phone contract for your kids
Of course, my standard disclaimer applies here: no parental restrictions are ever a substitute for having the tech talk with your kids early and often, keeping an eye on their social media use, and giving them the chance to slowly gain your trust so they can make their own good decisions and earn more responsibility and freedom with technology.
And hey, thanks for my daughter for this one. Extra dessert for her tonight. Maybe through Seamless. Which no, is not on her phone. Yet.