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Android operating system is based on Linux, it has some exclusive features borrowed directly, such as the ability to create some hidden folders that can only be accessed by using the file manager app.

There are often times when we hand over our phones to our friends or family. There are also a few things such as your photos, videos and other important files on our phone that we may want to keep out of their sight. It could get quite annoying when they try to swipe through our gallery, right?

For those times, your smartphone ends up in foreign hands, having the ability to keep certain content, such as your photos and videos, out of their sight could be considered essential. Being Linux-based, Android already offers a primitive, and working solution for making specific files and folders accessible only to a file manager app, and nothing else. It’s not only simple, but it will also spare you from searching for a file hiding app.

Having mentioned that users will no longer have to download any random third-party apps from the Google Play Store, here’s our ready to use guide for you:

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How to hide your apps and folders on stock Android devices:

The easiest way to protect your apps, files, and private data when handing your stock Android smartphone to someone else is to use a guest account. You can set up a guest user on your device from the settings menu. Just scroll down to system> Advanced > Multiple users to access the list.

Once you’ve got everything set up, you can quickly switch between your main account and a guest account from the drop-down menu. Guests get an experience that is as if the phone was just taken out of the box and booted for the first time. Nothing is signed in, and only the pre-installed apps are displayed in the app drawer. You can also choose if you want to allow guests to be able to make calls or not.

Having a second account on your phone is also perfect if you often give your smartphone to the same person. An excellent example of this is a parent who hands their phone to their child for watching videos or playing games. You can set up a separate account that only shows the apps that you want your child to see and switch between the two quickly and easily.

Similarly, you can hide those annoying pre-installed apps that arrive with your phone without using a third-party app. To do so, you need to navigate to Settings > Apps and then choose the app you want to hide. Of course, if you can’t uninstall them, you can usually disable them. If you need to learn how to stop apps from running in the background, you can do that first.

Method 1: Create a dedicated folder:

The first step is to create an entirely new folder that stays hidden automatically. The first trick is making a dedicated hidden folder. Just create a new folder and put a dot in front of its name. It doesn’t matter how you name it; just put a dot before it.

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This tells Android to forget this folder and never look inside of it. Only file managers and specific system apps are aware of its existence. This means files hidden inside won’t show up in the gallery, multimedia players, e-mail clients, office editors, and the like. This is helpful so that all your applications remain hidden, such as your gallery, WhatsApp, e-mails, etc.

To create a hidden folder, follow these steps:

  • Open the file manager app on your smartphone
  • Look for the option to create a new folder
  • Type the name of the folder
  • Add a (.) before the folder name to make it a hidden folder
  • Now, select the files and transfer all the data to the folder you want to hide.

Method 2: Hide an existing folder:

The second method allows the users to hide an already existing folder or application such as your WhatsApp media folder or your gallery or any other folder that you would like to protect from different apps and services.

Also, to perform this step, you might require a file manager app that will allow you to create a new file without any extension, such as an ES file explorer, etc.

To hide an existing folder, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Open the file manager on your smartphone
  • Navigate over to the folder that you want to hide
  • Open the folder and click on the create new file option
  • Now type ‘.nomedia’ as the file name
  • Once it is done, exit the file manager and restart your phone
  • You will not be able to find the folder now, and it will be hidden.

Another essential part of this walk around is how to access the hidden file or the folder.

  • Go to the file manager app and turn on the ‘show hidden files’ option from the ‘settings.’
  • Navigate to the folder location to view them.
  • For the second method, you will have to delete the ‘.nomedia’ file from the folder.

In a nutshell:

Which type of Android apps you use to hide or protect your files and other important files such as photos, videos and other confidential files that you don’t want people to see, will depend on what you want to achieve. If you’re going to hide the files from showing up at all, you can do that without installing anything, but it isn’t going to offer much protection if you have data on there that someone wants (and has the opportunity) to access.