How to Hide Files and Folders on Android

Hide Android Featured

If you want to hide files and folders away on your Android phone, there are many things you can try. For instance, locking your phone will stop people from peeking, and password-protecting your folders prevents unauthorized entry. However, what if you could go one step further and hide a folder or file?

Let’s explore how to do this using a trick in the Android OS as well as an app that can help.

How to Hide a File or Folder in Android

First of all, to do this trick, we need a file explorer app. Your favorite app should do the job, but before we get started, prod around the settings of the app and double-check if you have an option to “show hidden files” or “show system files.”

While not essential, it makes it easier to modify and access these hidden files and folders. For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll be using FileExplorer. Not only can it show hidden files, but it’s generally a good tool all around!

Hide Android Examples

Now, go to the file or folder you want to hide. Rename this file or folder. Some file manager apps can let you do this if you long-press the target. Then, simply add a period to the beginning of the name. For example, if you want to hide a file called “Secret folder,” rename it so it reads “.Secret folder.”

Hide Android Rename

Once you finalize the naming, the file or folder may suddenly vanish. Don’t worry, it’s still around – you just hid it! If you want to see it again, go into the file explorer’s settings and enable the option to make hidden/system files visible again.

Hide Android Vanish

Why Does this Work?

The reason things vanish when you add a period to the start is down to how Android (and Linux) handles files. You may not have seen them before, but within your Android phone are lots of system files that are necessary to keep everything running.

To prevent users from accidentally deleting or renaming these files, Android uses a special feature where any file beginning with a period is hidden from view. Then, every system-important folder has a period appended to the start to hide it from the user.

When you rename a file or folder this way, this triggers the hiding feature used for system files. As such, Android believes it’s something that should be hidden, so it hides the file away.

Using an App to Hide Photos and Videos

If you want, you can go even further and use a third-party app to hide your photos and videos. Hide Something allows you to select the media files that you want to hide, then stash them away in a hidden section. You can still see the items via the app, but they’re hidden from the file system. Set a password for the app, and you’re good to go!

Hide Android App

If you think someone will get suspicious of the app sitting around, you can get the premium version to hide it. The premium version disguises Hide Something so it looks like an innocent calculator app, which unlocks the real thing if you enter a passcode.

If you are really concerned about your privacy, you should also check out these privacy-focused browsers for your Android phone, and learn how to share your phone with others without compromising your privacy.

Simon Batt
Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.

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