Lawrence Ryan Investigations Chicago Illinois
user looking for hidden information on phone

Detective’s Guide: How to Find Hidden Apps

You’ll probably already familiar with hidden cameras and hidden bugs, but hidden apps?!

That’s certainly something new.

And why would anyone need to hide their apps? Or why would anyone search for any hidden apps on their own phone?

These are reasonable questions that, at a second thought, answer themselves.

We live in an era when our smartphones are a gateway to our lives. Our secrets, our wishes, our preferences, and our “sins” are all hidden in applications beautifully arranged on our smartphones.

Few people are willing to display the apps they use on the home screen of their Android smartphone or iPhone. Just ask your children!

Whether they move their apps to enjoy a clean view of their screen or they hid them to protect their privacy and secrets, smartphone users are most of the time protective of their apps.

We conducted a survey that concluded that 75% of the respondents have no idea how to find hidden apps on their child’s mobile phone or on their own phone.

Hidden Apps Survey

Why would anyone want to hide apps?

The reasons are pretty obvious.

Smartphone users usually hide apps to protect their intimacy.

Especially if these apps offer details about their personal lives, such as dating apps, or if they want to make sure their partner/spouse/parent will never have access to certain aspects about their lives.

For example, children often use secret apps on various iPhone and Android devices to chat with their friends about topics considered inappropriate by their parents.

Moreover, they may be using secret apps to discuss various topics with strangers.

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Hide Adult Content

Some children use secret apps on Android to download and watch adult content and even to make their own content and share it with other people, including photos and videos.

It’s obvious that parents need to know how to find hidden apps on their child’s phones to protect them from exposure to sexual aggression and bullying.

Kids, especially teens, are getting more and more creative when it comes to hidden apps, and use vault apps that look innocent, like a calculator.

Hide a Relationship

Spouses too can adopt the hidden app strategy, especially if they want to cheat on their partners.

If you’re partner acts all suspicious when using their smartphone and you want to rule out the idea that he or she might have a secret lover, the easiest way to start your investigation into this matter is to check out their list of installed apps.

Finding their secret apps might reveal the answers to your questions through chats with his or her friends, photos, videos, phone and email contacts, web browser history, etc.

And there also are business persons who want to protect vital information, such as financial details, business secrets, and intellectual property.

They have all the reasons to hide apps that may reveal sensitive information regarding their business or partnerships.

Guy Hiding Content On Phone

What is the best way to find hidden apps?

The best way to find hidden apps is to first know how to hide them yourself.

Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Basically, hiding apps on Android or iOS devices requires installing more apps from Google Play and app stores.

5 Apps to Hide Apps for Android and iOS

The most popular apps used to hide content on a smartphone are:

Find Hidden Apps Infographic

Secret Photo Album

Secret Photo Album designed to privately store photos and videos securing them with a PIN.

Secret Photo Album App

Secret Photo Vault – Keepsafe

Designed to protect your photos by using a PIN and fingerprint touch ID; it’s not only a great app to protect your photos from curious persons, but also from damaging and deleting them; it also allows Safe Send for sharing photos.

Keepsafe App


Vault this app has over 100 million users due to the high level of protection provided for photos, videos, personal calls, and contacts; the app allows app blocking (such as Facebook or Instagram), limits access to conversations, provides cloud services, and protects your browser and saved pages’ confidentiality.

Vault App

App Hider

Camouflaged as a calculator, this app protects messengers on any social media app, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Instagram; the app allows users to access multiple accounts from one device and can be accessed only by password; it also provides notifications from the selected apps.

App Hider


Designed to be a secret messenger, this app can hide everything from media files and contacts to phone call logs; it’s a versatile and flexible app, easy to use by anyone.

Coverme App

How to hide apps on iPhone

If you want to hide apps on an iPhone, you have a few options that require a minimum effort:

Exclude the app from search

If you use Search to find apps on your iPhone, the app you’re trying to keep secret might be suggested at times by Siri on your screen or just show up when someone is searching for other apps; go to Settings > Siri and Search > find the app in your list of apps > Disable “Show App”.

Hide the app in a folder

Since an iPhone folder has up to 12 pages, you can easily hide the app among the many apps you have in a folder; hide it on the 12th page and no one will ever accidentally discover your secret app; give the folder a boring name, like Shopping, Office or Utilities.

Disable app notifications

You may have your secret apps very well hidden in your iPhone, but if notifications are enabled, all your hard efforts will be in vain; go to Settings > Notifications > find the app > tap on it > choose to disable “Allow notifications”.

Hide apps from your app store purchase history

Even if you delete a certain app, Apple’s App Store will still show the downloaded app on your “Purchased” tab; launch the App Store to see all your purchased apps > tap the “Today” tab > tap your user icon in the upper right corner > tap Purchased; you now have access to a list of all your downloaded apps and the possibility to hide the one you want to keep secret by swiping left on it and tapping on “Hide”.

If you want to hide notes, media files, and files, you can always use one of the apps mentioned above, also known as “dummy” apps – Calculator, Secret Folder Vault, Private Calculator, etc.

How to hide apps on Android

While Android devices don’t have a pre-installed way of keeping your apps secret, there are a few ways to protect the apps on Android you don’t anyone to have access to:

Use secure folders – Android phones have an operating system that allows users to hide apps in a secure folder that can only be accessed using a PIN code or a biometric security key; if you want to set up a secure folder, you need to head to Settings > Biometrics and security > Secure Folder and then just follow the necessary steps to set up your folder.

Use “dummy” apps for Android – just like for iPhone users, Android has various “dummy” apps that allow users to hide apps; you can use Calculator Vault, Apex Launcher, or AppLock.

Disable the app – disabling is a form of app hiding, so if nothing else works, you can always go to Settings > App > Tap the app you want to disable > go to the App Info page > tap Disable; the app will no longer appear in your App Drawer – clean and easy!

Finding hidden apps can be just as easy of “Show Hidden files” on Android devices, by going to the File Manager > All Files > open the menu > Settings > Show hidden files, or as complicated as trying to break the password for the Vault app. iPhones have the hidden folder feature that can be easily accessed from the camera app. Just open the app > All Photos > Albums > scroll to the Hidden folder.


If nothing works and your suspicions that your child or partner is hiding important information from you, you can always hire a private investigator to conduct the investigation in your name. We’re discreet and act fast, so you can have your answers faster than saying “Show hidden apps”.

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