How to find hidden apps on Android
Find out what your teens are doing on their phones
What there is to know
- In the app drawer: tap the three dots and select Hide applications.
- In Settings: Tap on Apps & notifications, then See all applications.
- Check the true identity of an app by tapping on its icon Info and in selecting details of the application.
This article explains how to discover hidden apps on Android device. The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.
Viewing apps on the Android home screen is a good start, but it doesn’t show all the apps installed on an Android device. To see the full list of installed apps, including vault apps, open the app drawer by tapping the icon in the lower-middle section of the screen that looks like a circle with six dots in it.
After tapping on this icon, a complete list will appear with installed apps sorted alphabetically. This should show you most of the apps on the Android device, but some may be hidden. To show these hidden apps, do the following.
This method is not available on all Android devices by default. The launcher determines the options in the board. If you don’t have these options, try a different launcher, like Nova Prime, which supports app hiding.
- From the app drawer, tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen.
- Press on Hide applications.
- The list of apps hidden in the apps list is displayed. If this screen is blank or if the option Hide them applications is missing, no applications are hidden.
A full list of apps can also be viewed from the Settings app. Tap Settings (the icon looks like a gear). In Settings, tap Apps & notifications, and then tap See all applications.
The application list also displays system files and applications, which make the Android operating system work properly. To show them, tap the three dots in the upper right corner, and then tap Exposure system.
Check for Android Trick Apps
Looking at an app’s icon and name may not be enough to tell what’s going on on an Android phone or tablet. There are many apps in the Google Play app store that look like some kind of app, but are designed to hide pictures, videos, and other data.
A popular example is the Smart Hide Calculator app which looks and functions like a basic calculator app, but is a file storage app. The calculator user interface is fully functional, but it unlocks and reveals its real purpose when a user types in their PIN.
To verify the real identity of any Android app, do the following.
- Tap the app icon until a small menu appears.
- Press the little i in a circle next to a pencil.
- A page that details everything about the app, from its storage size to its permissions, appears. Press on application details.
- The app’s product page in the Google Play App Store is displayed. From here you can read official information about the app, including comments from other users.
Understanding Android Folders and Screens
Like most smartphones and tablets, Android devices have a home screen that extends horizontally beyond what you first see when you turn on the device. The other parts of the home screen are used to sort apps and widgets into groups and hide apps from prying eyes.
To view all sections of the Home screen on an Android device, swipe from right to left.
There may be more than one additional screen, so keep swiping to the left until the visible icons can’t go any further.
Another way to hide apps on Android is to put apps in a folder. Folders are visible on the Home screen and look like a collection of four small app icons. Tap the folder to open it and display the apps.
Don’t forget about web apps
More and more companies are adding full app functionality to their websites, which means users no longer have to download and install an app to access them. Instagram is an example of a working web application used in a web browser such as Chrome, Edge, or Firefox. Tinder is another.
To check if a user has accessed a specific site, open web browser apps on their Android smartphone or tablet, and then check their browser history. Browser history can be deleted in most browsers, however, so it’s not a foolproof way to tell which websites have been visited.