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How to hide apps, photos, and files on Android devices

Keep secret files for your eyes only!
By
October 1, 2022
Google Pixel 6 display and bezel
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

There are plenty of reasons you’d like to hide apps, photos, and other files on your Android device. Maybe you’ve got some pictures you’d prefer your mother doesn’t see when she borrows your phone. Perhaps you have some private documents that contain sensitive personal information. Maybe you have apps that aren’t child-friendly enough for your kids. Regardless of your reasons, today, we’ll help you keep your private things private.


How to hide apps on any Android phone

Regardless of your brand, you can easily hide apps on any phone with the two methods below. The first one is suitable for hiding pre-installed apps you don’t use and hiding the apps you do use but want to make sure no one but you sees.

On the other hand, the second method is a lot more limited. It only works with system apps, which are pre-installed apps that you can’t remove, but it requires less work and won’t change the look and feel of your Android phone like the first method.

Use a launcher

Nova Launcher with dynamic notification badges - How to hide apps
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Many Android launchers allow you to hide apps with just a few taps. We recommend using Nova Launcher because it packs plenty of features and is blazingly fast. The only problem is that you need to upgrade to the Prime version of the app to get the option to hide apps. If you’re into customization and want a stock-like experience on your smartphone, it’s worth paying a few bucks to get the app.

Install Nova Launcher and Nova Launcher Prime from the Play Store, then set it as the default launcher on your phone. Once that’s done, head into the app drawer and open the Nova Settings app. Then head to App drawer > Hide apps and check the box next to the apps you want to hide. That’s it!

Don’t worry; you can still use the apps even when hidden. Just open the app drawer, type the app’s name in the search box up top, and launch it when it appears.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Download Nova Launcher.
  2. Download Nova Launcher Prime.
  3. Open the Nova Launcher app. You should also set it as your default launcher.
  4. Once inside the Nova Launcher, open the Nova Settings app.
  5. Select App drawer.
  6. Go into Hide apps.
  7. Check the box next to the apps you want to hide.
  8. Hit the back button. Your apps will be hidden.

Keep in mind that the ability to hide apps is just one of the many features offered by Nova Launcher. The launcher will change your Android UI’s look and feel, which means it’s not for everyone.

If you want a free alternative to Nova Launcher Prime, we suggest going with Apex Launcher. It’s not as good overall, but it lets you hide apps without spending a dime — download it here.

More: These are the best launchers for Android

Disable apps in the settings

Disable app button on Pixel 4a with 5G settings - How to hide apps
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

You can remove/hide apps from the app drawer by disabling them, which means you won’t be able to use them. However, this method only works with system apps — pre-installed apps on your phone that can’t be deleted. You can’t disable an app you’ve downloaded from the Play Store.

Open the Settings app, select Apps & notifications, and tap See all apps to disable an app. Find and open the app you want to hide. Tap Disable, followed by Disable app.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Open the Settings app on your phone.
  2. Select the Apps option.
  3. Tap See all apps.
  4. Find and open the app you want to hide.
  5. Tap Disable, followed by Disable app.

Note: These instructions were put together using a Pixel 4a with 5G running Android 13. Keep in mind steps might be slightly different depending on your phone and software version.


How to hide apps on phones from Samsung, OnePlus, and more

Many phones have a built-in feature that allows you to hide apps. We won’t list instructions for every brand out there, but we will show you how to get the job done on Samsung, OnePlus, and LG phones.

Remember that not every phone from the brands mentioned supports hiding apps. The feature may not be available if you have an older Android device running an older version. The path to the feature may also slightly differ based on your handset and OS version.

More: The first things to do with your new Android phone

How to hide apps on OnePlus phones

OnePlus 10 Pro review revisited in hand showing camera
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The Hidden Space feature allows you to hide apps on OnePlus phones. To access it, open up the app drawer and then swipe right. From there, tap the + icon, select the apps you want to hide, and tap the checkmark to get the job done.

You can also set up a password/fingerprint protection to ensure you’re the only one who can access the Hidden Space folder. To do so, tap the icon in the top-right corner (three vertical dots), select Enable password, and follow on-screen instructions.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Open the app drawer.
  2. Swipe right to access the Hidden Space folder.
  3. Tap the + icon in the top-right corner.
  4. Select the apps you want to hide.
  5. Tap the checkmark in the top-right corner.

Note: These instructions were put together using a OnePlus Nord N200 running Android 11. Keep in mind steps might be slightly different depending on your phone and software version.

How to hide apps on Samsung phones

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus purple 2
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Hiding apps on a Samsung phone is a breeze. Open the app drawer, tap the icon in the top-right corner (three vertical dots), and select the Settings option. The next step is to find and tap the Hide apps option, after which a list of apps will pop up on the screen. Select the apps you want to hide and tap Done to finish the job.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Open the app drawer.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu button.
  3. Select the Settings option.
  4. Find and tap the Hide apps option.
  5. Select the apps you want to hide.
  6. Tap the Done option.

Note: These instructions were put together using a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus running Android 11. Keep in mind steps might be slightly different depending on your phone and software version.

How to hide apps on LG phones

LG V60 back against chair
David Imel / Android Authority

There are two ways you can hide apps on your LG phone. The first is used if you don’t have an app drawer enabled, while the second can be done with the app drawer turned on. Let’s start with the former.

Open the settings on your phone and tap the Home screen option located under the Display tab. Alternatively, you can also long-press on the home screen and select the Home screen settings option to speed things up. The next step is to open the Hide apps menu, tap the apps you want to hide, and select the Done option.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Long-press on the home screen.
  2. Select the Home screen settings option.
  3. Tap Hide apps.
  4. Select the apps you want to hide.
  5. Tap the Apply option.

The process is a bit different if you have the app drawer enabled. You won’t find the Hide apps option in the settings. Instead, you have to open the app drawer, tap the icon in the top-right corner (three vertical dots), and then select the Hide apps option. From there, choose the apps you want to hide and tap Done.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Open the app drawer.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu button
  3. Select the Hide apps options.
  4. Select the apps you want to hide.
  5. Tap the Apply option.

Note: These instructions were put together using an LG Wing running Android 10. Keep in mind steps might be slightly different depending on your phone and software version.


How to hide photos and hide files on any Android phone

Just like with hiding apps, we’ll show you two methods for hiding photos and files that you can use on any phone. Both get the job done but in very different ways. The two methods require you to download an app from the Play Store.

Related: The 10 best security apps for Android

Use the GalleryVault app

GalleryVault for hiding files and images - How to hide apps

As you can tell by its name, this app serves as a vault for your images and other files. You can move the files from your gallery and other apps into GalleryVault, where you can access them with a pin code or fingerprint. It’s a free app, but it has ads that can get annoying.

After downloading the app, make an account, and tap the + button in the bottom-right corner. Select whether you want to add pictures and videos or any other files. Then select the files you want to keep safe, tap Add, and select the folder in which you wish to place them. That’s all there is to it!

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Download the GalleryVault app.
  2. Launch the app and set up your account.
  3. Press the + button in the bottom-right corner.
  4. Select the type of file you want to add to the vault.
  5. Pick the files you want to upload
  6. Hit Add.
  7. Select the folder you want the files placed in.

Use AppLock

AppLock for hiding files and images - How to hide apps

If you don’t want to move images and other files from one place to another, an app like AppLock is a better choice for you. It allows you to lock any app on your phone and access it with your fingerprint. For example, you can lock the Gallery and Google Photos apps, so even if someone does play around with your phone, they can’t see the photos and files you have on your phone.

To get started, download AppLock from the Play Store, open it, and then follow on-screen instructions to set it up. To lock an app, scroll down until you see a list of apps on your phone, and then tap the ones you want to protect. We also suggest that you enable the fingerprint lock to avoid using a pattern set by default. You can do that by heading to the Protect tab within the app and tapping the Fingerprint Lock option.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Download AppLock and set it up.
  2. Scroll down and tap the apps you want to protect. Allow all necessary permissions.
  3. Go into the Protect tab.
  4. Enable Fingerprint Lock.

You’ll be asked to verify your identity next time you try to access protected apps.


How to hide pictures and files on phones from Samsung, OnePlus, and more

Depending on your phone, you may have the option to hide files and images without downloading third-party apps. This feature is built into phones by Samsung, OnePlus, LG, etc. Check out the detailed instructions for the brands mentioned below.

Here: The 10 best gallery apps for Android

How to hide pictures and files on OnePlus phones?

OnePlus Nord 2 5G in hand back
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

OnePlus has an excellent Lockbox feature buried so deep that many people don’t know about it. You have to open the File Manager app to access it, and then you’ll see it at the bottom.

You can move files to Lockbox within the File Manager app. Tap on Documents, Images, Videos, or Audio depending on the type of file you want to move, long-press on a file, and then tap the icon in the top-right corner (three vertical dots), followed by Move to Lockbox.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Open the File Manager app.
  2. Tap on Documents, Images, Videos, or Audio.
  3. Long-press on a file you want to hide.
  4. Tap the three-dot menu button.
  5. Tap Move to Lockbox to finish the job.
  6. Go back to the File Manager home, tap on Lockbox, and authenticate your identity. Your hidden files will be there.

Note: These instructions were put together using a OnePlus Nord N200 running Android 11. Keep in mind steps might be slightly different depending on your phone and software version.

How to hide photos and files on Samsung phones

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra with accessories
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Secure Folder is one of the best features available on Samsung phones and allows you to hide photos and all sorts of other files. The app should be pre-installed on your device, but you’ll need a Samsung account to use it. If you can’t find it, try searching for it in the app drawer search box. You can often also find it in the notification area.

Once you sign in and the app is ready to go, hit the three-dot menu button. Select Add files. Choose whether you want to add Images, Videos, Audio, Documents, or My Files. Select the files and hit Done. Then select Move so that no copy is available outside the Secure Folder.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Launch the Secure Folder app.
  2. Tap on the three-dot menu button.
  3. Select Add files.
  4. Choose whether you want to add Images, Videos, Audio, Documents, or My Files.
  5. Select the files you want to add to Secure Folder and tap Done.
  6. Pick Move.

Note: These instructions were put together using a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus running Android 11. Keep in mind steps might be slightly different depending on your phone and software version.

Next: Consider these awesome file managers for Android

How to hide photos and files on LG phones

LG Velvet back on chair

You can hide photos on your LG phone from within the Gallery app. Launch the app, tap the image you want to hide, and tap the icon in the upper-right corner (three vertical dots). Select the Lock option, and you’re good to go.

To access the images you’ve hidden, head into the Gallery app, tap the icon in the upper-right corner (three vertical dots), and select Show locked files. You’ll have to punch in your password or use your fingerprint to get access to them.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Open the Gallery app.
  2. Tap the photo you want to hide.
  3. Hit the icon in the upper-right corner (three vertical dots).
  4. Tap the Lock option.
  5. You can tap on the three-dot menu button again, and select Show locked files.

Note: These instructions were put together using an LG Wing running Android 10. Keep in mind steps might be slightly different depending on your phone and software version.


There must be a reason you want to keep your files secret. Do you suspect someone is spying on you? We have a guide to find out if someone is spying on your phone. You may also want to keep your passwords safe, so we’ve compiled a list of our favorite password managers. One last thing; set up a ‘find my phone’ app to ensure you can recover your device and precious files if you lose your phone.