How to hide apps on Android phone you don’t want others to see

Apps can be hidden from most places on an Android phone and if you don’t want to see them, or let others see them, here’s how to hide apps on Android from places they are commonly found.

Why would you want to hide an app on your phone? One reason could be to prevent someone else using it or knowing you had it. Maybe you don’t want people to know you have a social app or dating app. Hiding apps is important if you sometimes lend someone your phone, or if someone else, like your partner or children use it. It is also very useful when setting up a phone for a child and you could hide anything you don’t want them to access.

It is possible to get security apps that securely lock down an Android phone so that only the apps you specify can be used, apps like AppLock – Lock apps & Password are good for this. Search for “lock apps” in the Google Play Store and you will find many more like it.

The method I will use here does not completely hide apps and a knowledgeable person could find a way around it and see and use hidden apps. In fact, I will show you how so that you can continue to use apps you have hidden. This method just hides them from the most obvious places. This is often sufficient, it costs nothing, no extra apps are needed, and it is easy to do.

There are many versions of Android in use and manufacturers can implement their own interface, so your phone may not look exactly like the screenshots here. I am using a Samsung Galaxy, which is a common phone though.

1: Home screen icons

Android phone home screen showing icons.
Phone home screen

Here is the home screen of an Android phone, well part of it, and you can see some of the apps that are installed. Suppose you want to hide some of them. I will hide a couple of the games, Crossword and Puzzles.

You can hide whatever apps you need. It does not affect them in any way and it merely hides the icon. Try this with any app you want.

2: Open Settings

Android Settings app showing Home screen section.
Android Settings app showing various sections

Swipe down from the top of the screen and press the gear icon to open the Settings app on the phone. Find Home screen, which is used to configure the appearance and features on the home screen, and press it.

3: Home screen settings

Android Settings app showing Hide apps in the Home screen section.
Hide apps in Home screen settings

Among the features in the Home screen section of the Settings app is Hide apps. This is how we will make apps hard to find for people that should not be using them. Press Hide apps.

4: Select apps to hide

Select apps to hide on an Android phone.
Choose which apps to hide on Android

All the apps installed on the phone are listed and they are organized alphabetically. Find the apps that you want to hide and press tap them to select them.

5: Hide apps on Android

Hide apps on Android phone in the Settings app.
Hidden apps on Android phone

As you select apps, they are added to a Hidden apps section at the top of the list. Add as many as you need to. If you change your mind, tap them to remove them from the Hidden apps list.

This is actually where you unhide apps. If you hide apps and later decide to make them visible again, return here and remove them from the Hidden apps list.

Let’s assume you do want to hide them. Press Done at the bottom of the screen – if you don’t, they will not be hidden, so don’t forget.

6: Check for hidden apps

Home screen and app library screen on an Android phone.
Home screen and app library with hidden apps

Icons for the apps you have hidden are removed from the home screen and the app library screen. Compare this to the first screenshot and you can see the hole in the apps. The hidden apps cannot be found.

7: Access hidden apps on your phone

Installed apps on an Android phone shown in Settings,.
See hidden apps in Android Settings

If someone else uses your phone, or if you set one up for a child, they will probably assume an app is not present if they cannot see an icon on the home screen or the app library screen.

Hidden apps are still on the phone though. If you want to run one, open the Settings app and press Apps. All the apps are listed, even the hidden ones. You can see the Crossword app I hid in this screenshot.

8: Run hidden apps on your phone

Open an app from Settings on Android phones.
Open a hidden app on Android

Tap an app in the list to open the details screen and then press the Open button at the bottom of the screen. The app runs in the usual way.

As you can see, this is not a super secure method of hiding or locking apps and a knowledgeable person can easily get around it. However, it is a useful trick to know and it is useful in some circumstances.

If you unhide an app, it is added back to the app library screen. It is not put back on the home screen. Long press on an app in the library screen until a menu appears with an option to add it to the home screen, or until the app becomes draggable and you can drag it to the home screen.

Now you know how to hide apps on Android phone, will you use it?

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