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Best Android apps for keeping private photos and videos hidden

Do you need a good solution for hiding your sensitive photos and videos on your Android phone? We round up some Android apps here that can hide your files from prying eyes. We also take a look at how to hide folders, contacts, text messages, and even how to keep calls from specific contacts from appearing in your call logs.
September 4, 2012
android privacy

Most of us have a few photos or even videos on our Android smartphones that we’d rather keep private. Whether they’re a bit racy, potentially incriminating, or just plain embarrassing, it’s probably a good idea to hide them from prying eyes. The good news is you can find Android apps to hide your photos and videos. There are stealth options with fake fronts, password or PIN protection, and even encryption tools. You can even find Android apps to hide contacts and text messages.

So, the next time you leave your phone sitting on the table and your girlfriend/wife/parent/friend decides to have a snoop, you can rest assured they won’t find anything. Let’s take a closer look at your options as we delve into how to hide photos and videos on your Android phone.

This is one of the first apps you’ll come across if you’re looking to hide photos on Android. You can fire up the app and then choose pictures and videos to add to your secure vault, or you can select share on the photo or video itself and choose Vaulty from the list. Either way the result is that your photos and videos are hidden in a private gallery which can be password- or PIN-protected. This means they are not accessible from file managers either. You can also view, search, zoom, share, filter, and rename photos from within the app, and it’s easy to filter videos and select multiple files.

Of course the presence of the Vaulty app gives away the fact that you have something to hide, even if the nosy person searching your phone can’t get to it. If you want an extra level of stealth then you might consider splashing out $4.99 for Vaulty Stocks. It does exactly the same thing but stores everything behind a fake stocks lookup app.

You can keep your secret stash completely safe behind a fake, but fully functional, audio manager app with Hide It Pro. This Android app allows you to hide photos, videos, apps, messages, and even calls. It goes one step beyond the competition and provides a great service for anyone with something to hide. If you access the audio manager app it will actually work, allowing you to tweak your device’s volume settings. In order to access your hidden stuff you simply long press on the title and enter your PIN and password.

All of your photos and videos can be searched, sorted, viewed, zoomed into, shared, and you can run slideshows. It’s easy to hide and unhide content and you can do it in batches. There’s also a built-in encryption tool with military standard 256-bit AES encryption for anything really sensitive. Hide It Pro will keep your files hidden so even file managers won’t reveal them. There are a range of optional add-ons that allow you to hide apps, engage in private browsing, and private messaging and calls.

My favorite feature in this completely free (ad-supported) app is the ability to enter an escape PIN or password which will bring up a fake version of the vault with nothing in it. It’s a potential get out if you get caught. You can also get an ad-free version for $3.99.

Here’s another option that allows you to hide photos and video files in a PIN-protected gallery. You can view the photos with rotate, zoom, and slideshow within the app. Hiding is easy, just choose share on the file you want to hide and pick the KeepSafe app. There’s no encryption so this isn’t the most secure option on the market but it does have a couple of cool features.

Firstly, you can enter a fake PIN which will take you to another gallery which you can fill with dummy photos or videos to fool anyone who demands to see your vault. Secondly, there’s a feature called Safe Send which allows you to send photos for a limited time. It’s tough to say how secure the self-destructing photo system is, but it would be best to be cautious with this.

This is a serious option for people seeking a wider range of privacy options. With this app you can hide photos and videos in an encrypted, password-protected vault on your phone. You can also hide contacts, text messages, and call history. If you add a contact then calls and text messages from that contact will no longer appear in your SMS folder or call logs.

If you upgrade to the premium version for $2.99 per month you’ll also get an online vault backup, a break-in monitor which will photograph anyone who enters the wrong password, and a stealth mode which completely hides the app unless you enter a password in the phone dialer. This is obviously a bit beyond what most people need, but if you take privacy seriously then it’s worth considering.

A word of caution

These Android apps are designed to hide photos and videos from casual snoopers. Anyone who is really determined and knows what they are doing can probably get at your files, so the best policy is not to let your phone fall into the wrong hands and to set up security on your lock screen.

It’s also worth noting that, just like any other app, an update could cause bugs or it might not play nice with your phone. The only way to be completely sure you never lose any of those photos or videos, is to back them up (that should be a general rule anyway). Before you try any of these apps back up your files, it’s easy to keep them hidden on your computer in a password protected folder.

Hiding folders on Android

It is possible to hide folders from most apps simply by prefixing the name of the folder with a dot. This can prevent folders from being indexed in your Gallery. You can rename directories using any Android file manager. Choose a boring sounding system related name and that will be enough to hide sensitive files from most snoopers.

My top recommendation would be Hide It Pro as it covers most bases and it’s easy to use. If you have any Android privacy apps you’d like to recommend or tips to offer then post a comment and share.