How to hide files and folders on your Android device

If you want to hide files and folders on your Android phone, there are many things you can try. For example, locking your phone will keep people from checking it out, and password-protecting your records will prevent unauthorized entry. However, what if you could go further and hide a folder or file?

Let’s see how to do this using a trick in the Android operating system as well as an application that can help you.

How to hide a file or folder in Android

First, to do this trick, we need a file explorer application. Your favorite application should do the job, but before you start, review the application settings and see if you have the option to “show hidden files” or “show system files”.

While not essential, it makes it easy to modify and access these hidden files and folders. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will use FileExplorer. Not only can it display hidden files, but it’s usually a good tool all around!

Hide Android examples

Now navigate to the file or folder you want to hide. Rename this file or folder. Some file manager applications may allow you to do this if you press and hold the target. Then just add a period at the beginning of the name. For example, if you want to hide a file called “secret folder”, rename it so that it displays “secret folder”.

Hide Android's name changeHide Android's name change

Once the name is finalized, the file or folder may suddenly disappear. Don’t worry, it’s still there – you just hid it! If you want to see it again, go to the file explorer settings and activate the option to make hidden / system files visible again.

Hide Android VanishHide Android Vanish

Why does it work?

The reason why things disappear when you add a period at the start is related to the way Android (and Linux) handles files. You may not have seen them before, but in your Android phone, many system files are needed for everything to work.

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To prevent users from accidentally deleting or renaming these files, Android uses a special function where any file starting with a dot is hidden. Then, each important file for the system has a period added at the beginning to hide it from the user.

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

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. To hide something allows you to select the media files you want to hide, and then arrange them in a hidden section. You can still see items through the app, but they are hidden from the file system. Set a password for the application and off you go!

Hide the Android appHide the Android app

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

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

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