Secret Software: How to Find Hidden Apps

June 25, 2019 • Devin Partida


Navigating the digital world can be a cumbersome chore, especially if you discover hidden apps are a thing. As technology has evolved, maintaining an adequate understanding of what possibilities are available to you can be comparable to learning a foreign language.

While the rapid popularization of increased mobile technology has brought about increased convenience, it has also created unique problems with deceit and security.

One potential digital danger is the secretive versatility of hidden apps. However, with a proper understanding of how to find them and utilize them, hidden apps can be harnessed as a beneficial resource.

The Dangers of Hidden Apps

One of the chief concerns with hidden apps is that children or unfaithful spouses may use them to talk to strangers anonymously or explore topics that may be dangerous to their well-being.

If there are suspicions that someone close to you is utilizing a hidden app for despicable purposes, knowing how to find these apps or counteract them with spyware is a valuable step to take.

Popular Hidden Apps

With several hidden apps commonly used to house inappropriate content, many may only be available to download for a short period of time before being taken off the market.

However, hidden apps are not solely used for vile reasons and can also be used by parents to secretly supervise their children’s activity. While many exist, some of the more popular hidden apps are as follows:

  • CoverMe — Used to secretly communicate with someone.
  • mSpy — Provides a way to monitor messages and calls in an effort to keep tabs on cell phone usage.
  • Secret Calculator — Designed to look like a common calculator app, it is instead used to house photos and videos.
  • Vault — Keeps photos and videos private.

The Benefits of Hidden Apps

With a higher volume of tasks being completed through our mobile devices, it’s likely that our phones provide an easy gateway into accessing sensitive personal information.

Bearing in mind the valuable data you may have at stake, it’s a great practice to hide the apps you wouldn’t want prying eyes to uncover should your device be lost or stolen.

Privacy can be a tricky element to maintain in the digital world, but failing to safeguard against the threat of valuable information being compromised is poor practice.

While apps containing financial details or intellectual property are obvious candidates to consider hiding, new parents using apps to assist them with infant care may want to utilize hidden apps to track their baby’s daily activities or apps that allow parents to monitor their children throughout the day.

Along with protecting sensitive information, hidden apps can reduce the amount of clutter on your device, improving the user experience and enabling your device to perform better. Your phone’s performance can also be improved by clearing cached images and files, freeing up additional resources.

However, once hidden, how can you find these secret apps?

How to Find Secret Apps for Android Phones

Few people prominently display all of the apps they have on their home page, so understanding that apps may simply be buried in folders is important to note upfront.

For Android phones, the app drawer can be utilized as a resource to aid one’s search for secret apps. To see the complete list of installed apps on an Android, there are a few steps that must be taken:

  1. Open the app drawer by tapping on the circular icon in the lower-middle portion of your screen.
  2. Tap on the three dots that appear in the top right corner.
  3. Tap on Hide apps.

Unfortunately, given that secret apps for Android phones can be used as disguised, trick apps, a more comprehensive check may be required. To verify the true identity of any Android app, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Press a specific app’s icon until a dropdown menu appears.
  2. Tap the small i that appears at the top of the dropdown menu.
  3. From the page that is pulled up, tap on App details.
  4. From the app’s product page in the Google Play app store, assess its validity.

How to Find Secret Apps for iPhones

Reputable for its tight-lipped lock on the iPhone’s operating system code, Apple’s closed source model restricts developers in an attempt to deter malicious intent and provide users with a unified experience.

In a highly publicized lawsuit with the FBI, Apple publicly defended the integrity of its encryption software, refusing to comply with requests to supply law enforcement officers with back door access to locked phones — in this case, the FBI was trying to unlock the San Bernardino bomber’s iPhone. Though researchers at Johns Hopkins University were able to detect a flaw in Apple’s iMessage encryption around the same time, which was subsequently fixed, Apple’s security has managed to avoid being compromised.

With Apple unwillingly to release any information that could jeopardize the stability of its operating system and undermine their encryption, it likely comes as no surprise that apps are difficult to hide on iPhones.

Apps may be buried in folders, hidden from search or concealed in the App Store purchase history. Regardless of how they are hidden, finding them is not too challenging.

If an iPhone app was not hidden from search, you can quickly find it if you swipe down from the middle of your screen and type the name of the app you’re looking for.

If the app is hidden deeper, you can proceed with the following steps:

  1. Open the App Store.
  2. Tap the profile icon that appears in the top right corner.
  3. Tap on PurchasedNot on this iPhone to view apps hidden in the cloud.
  4. If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, tap on the Apple ID from your Account screen in the App Store.
  5. Tap on Hidden Purchases.

Increase Your Awareness of Hidden Apps

There are a number of reasons why someone would want to hide apps on their phone. While problematic reasons are entirely plausible, there are also a number of positive motivators that may influence someone’s decision to make use of hidden apps.

Knowing how to search for hidden apps and understanding what they are presents you with a powerful means of protecting yourself and others in the digital world.