5 Secure Solutions on How to Hide Photos on Android Without Any App
Oh, back for another round of ‘How do I hide my things’, are we? What’ve you got there? A sense of curiosity? Fear? Dread? Paranoia? Considering recent events, you’re justified to feel all of that. Privacy is a growing concern, but some of the solutions to them fall pretty flat. If you were thinking of how to hide photos on Android without any app, then it’s a good thing you’ve stumbled upon my article.
Now, these may be the best ways on how to hide videos on Android without any app (or pictures even). But they aren’t exactly convenient. It depends on the use-case. I’ll give you insights on how you can do that with certain phones. Especially with regards to how you can do it without any third-party app. All in simple terms!
The benefit you get from hiding gallery pictures and videos on Android will be the same as the one you’d get from a third-party app. Only this time, you won’t need to give special permissions! In total, there are 5 best ways to hide photos or videos that don’t involve third-party apps, and they include:
Using your phone’s built-in feature to hide them
Using the file manager
Using a nomedia file
Compressing your gallery items
Removing the file extensions of the gallery items
Well, go ahead, and read up on how to hide your stash!
Unlike hiding apps, each phone would have a different way of hiding gallery items. For that reason, I’ve provided the steps involved for each of the phone brands.
Even so, if following the steps doesn’t do it for you, then it’s best to assume that your phone lacks in-built features for it. In this case, your last ditch effort would be to use a File Manager.
Still, here are some ways on how to hide pictures and videos on Android without apps.
How to Hide Pictures and Videos on Android Using In-Built Features
As I mentioned above, phones do provide features that allow you to hide your phone’s content. Not all phones, though! But if you’ve got a phone with these features, then follow the steps for it, and you’ll figure out how to hide photos on Android!
Some of these methods may be a bit more complex than the other, but they’re easily reversible. Having said that, the risk of your gallery’s contents seized by individuals (especially tech-savvy ones) is still real. But it’s better than nothing!
How to Hide Photos and Videos on Android with Samsung Galaxy S6/S7/S8/S9
Some Samsung phones — especially the Galaxy S series — come with a native feature called “Secure Folder”.
It collects all the files you put in there, and keeps it hidden from everyone. Since it’s independent of your phone’s launcher type, you’ve got to double-check your Samsung phone’s settings to see if it supports it.
If you’re one of the lucky ones to get the feature, then follow these steps:
If it isn’t done already, you will be asked to sign up to use the Secure Folder feature.
Once launched, click on Add Files.
You will be prompted to choose between multiple files to put into the folder.
Choose the photos and videos you want to hide.
Once finished, click on Done.
Doing this would mean you have to get comfortable with using the File Manager. Finding and selecting the files you want to store manually can be cumbersome. But that’s unfortunately how Secure Folder works.
How to Hide Photos and Videos on Android with a Huawei
Some Huawei phones provide a service which is similar to the PrivateSpace service, called “File Safe”.
You could use it to store and keep your files hidden. It’s pretty comparable to Samsung’s Secure Folder service as well. You don’t need to sign up to use File Safe, but if it’s your first time using it, then enabling it would be your first step.
Go to your phone’s settings and click on Privacy Settings.
Search for “File Safe” and click on it.
If it’s disabled, you will be prompted to enable it.
Once enabled, you’ll find an option that says “Add Files”.
Select the file type (in this case, search for image or video file types), and tick all the photos and videos you want to hide.
Once you’ve finished ticking what you need, click on Add, and you’re done.
You could also store your pictures and videos in PrivateSpace as well. But deactivating it later can delete everything you’ve stored in it permanently. Here’s how you can set it up.
Go to settings and Click on Privacy Settings.
Search for “PrivateSpace” and click on it.
If it’s your first time, then you’ll need to set up a lock screen password for it. Keep it different from your MainSpace lock screen password.
Now, whenever you take photos or videos, make sure you’re in PrivateSpace mode.
How to Hide Photos and Videos on Android with a Xiaomi
Xiaomi and Huawei phones operate pretty similarly. In order to hide apps in your Xiaomi phone, you’ll need to enable the feature first, if you haven’t already. They call it the “App Lock” feature.
Go to your phone’s settings, and search for App Lock.
Press it, and toggle “Hidden Apps” on.
This will make the “Manage Hidden Apps” option visible and clickable.
Select the apps you want to hide.
How to Hide Photos and Videos on Android with an LG Phone
Unlike the other phones, LG’s smartphones include two ways to hide private videos and photos on Android.
LG has a feature called an App Drawer. The two ways to hide your gallery items is either with or without the App Drawer. We’ll first talk about what to do if you don’t have the feature.
Go to your phone’s settings, Home Screen, and Display. OR Long-press an empty space on the home screen.
Select the Home Screen settings option.
Tap Hide Apps.
Select the apps you want to hide.
Tap the Done button.
If you do have the feature, then the Hide Apps option will be absent in the Home Screen settings menu. But, you can do the following:
Those with the App Drawer feature activated will be able to open the App Drawer directly.
After opening it, tap the three-dot column (called the “Kabob”) on the top-right corner of the screen.
Select the Hide Apps option.
Select the apps you want to hide.
Tap the Done button.
Either way, it’ll allow you to hide the Gallery app itself. Unfortunately, you can’t hide individual pictures or videos on LG’s smartphones. It’s a major disadvantage when compared to the other phones.
The biggest disadvantage about using built-in features is that these methods aren’t modular.
Meaning, not every phone will have the same solution. Tinkering with your phone’s settings is advisable. This will help you understand what or how to get something working.
How to Hide Pictures and Videos on Android Using Your File Manager
If there’s no in-built feature in your phone, then all’s not lost for you! There are still some ways to hide your gallery pictures and videos. One way is to use a File Manager. Most phones come with one installed already.
File Managers are what you use if you want a deeper access to the phone’s system, something you couldn’t do without it.
The user interface is pretty easy to get around to, so long as you follow the steps below carefully. After that, knowing how to hide gallery pictures and videos on Android shouldn’t be too much trouble for you.
You can use it in 4 different ways: Create a system folder; Insert a nomedia file; Compress the images; Remove the file type. We’ll start with the first.
Create and Hide a System Folder
Open your File Manager or install one if you don’t have it.
The three-dash icon (called the “Hamburger”) will open the File Manager Menu, click it.
One of the options presented is Internal Storage, go to it.
Find either a “+” icon or an icon that provides the option to create a new folder.
Give the new folder a name (preferably an inconspicuous one), and make sure you put a period mark before the word. I named mine “.nomedia” because that’s where I want to store my .nomedia files as well (which I’ll get to in a bit).
Go to settings under the three-dot vertical icon (called the “Kabob“; you’ll find it on the same row as the Hamburger icon).
In the settings menu, switch “Hide System Files” off. Why? Well, system folders (folders beginning with a period mark) are hidden by default. After toggling it off, you should be able to see the folder you created on the list.
Then, use the File Manager to find your pictures and videos you want to set to private. You can select them in groups, and move their location from the current folder they’re in to the new folder you created together.
Now, don’t worry, this last part is not complicated. It’s the same as dragging your files from one place to another on your desktop or laptop. In fact, you could plug in your phone to your laptop, do that, and you’d still get the intended results.
Once you’re done, go back to the settings menu, and turn the “Hide System Files” option back on, and that’s it! That’s how you answer the question of how to make a private folder on Android.
Use a Nomedia File
I mentioned the bit about “.nomedia files”, which might’ve made you think, “What the heck is that?”
Well, nomedia files are simply files that have no file extensions or formats. It’s basically a “ghost” file, so to speak, and it’s how you hide specific folders from apps that try to find it.
All you have to do is place the nomedia file in any folder that you want to hide. Doing so will keep the contents of the folder hidden!
This particular method comes with the dependency that you need to install a File Manager. To create a nomedia file, just follow the steps below:
Go through the first three steps written under the File Manager content.
Move all your photos and videos into this new folder.
Before doing this, make sure you make a backup of your gallery items and store them in an SD card or USB stick.
Create a blank text file (or even a copy of one of the files you’ve put) in the folder and rename it to “.nomedia”.
Remember, a period mark before a file’s/folder’s name indicates that it’s a system file/folder. By default, system files/folders are hidden.
Once you’re done, the gallery shouldn’t show any images or videos.
File Manager Pet Peeves
Don’t get too excited, though. Note two caveats to the solutions.
One: Let’s say your File Manager doesn’t have a “Hide System Files” option. Then the hidden nomedia files/folders will remain invisible and inaccessible on your phone.
There’s only one solution to this problem. Plug your phone to your PC, access its content, open the PC’s View menu, and tick the “hidden items” checkbox.
This will reveal the phone’s system folders, sub-folders and files on your desktop/laptop’s screen. You can then access the hidden files/folders and add or remove things as you please.
Two: The reversal process might mess up the order of things inside your gallery. For instance, your oldest photos may appear to be the latest snapshots while your newest photos are probably at the bottom of the gallery. This depends from phone to phone, however.
Compress the Photos and Videos
It’s a simple trick, but pretty swell. It’s not possible to preview compressed packages unless you were using a specialized software on your computer. But nothing of that sort is available for Android.
So, you can select all the pictures and videos you have in your phone, and compress them to a single .ZIP or .RAR file. This would not only keep your gallery items safe, but they will also disappear from your library.
Phone lurkers like your friends will have a hard time figuring out the problem!
It’s also the most inconvenient way of hiding your gallery items. Each time you take a picture or shoot a video, you’ll need to compress it. You should also look into whether your phone or your File Manager supports file compression in the first place.
Otherwise, you’ll need both a File Manager and one of the world-famous, third-party apps: WinRar, or 7-Zip.
This is where things go towards the direction of “You need a third-party app to do this.” Which can be a hassle, but it’s the only way to make do with the solution.
Remove file extensions
This is rather straightforward (and a bit funny, considering its simplicity and absurdity). But every image and video you store on your phone is of some type of file.
If you’re not familiar with it, then the following common file types should get you up to speed:
Photos: JPG/JPEG, PNG, GIF
Videos: MP4, WebM, MKV
Now that you know how to spot a photo or video on your phone, here’s one way to keep them hidden. Bear in mind that you still need a File Manager to do this.
Open the File Manager and find the photo or video you want to keep hidden. Once you find it, press and hold the image or video file.
You will have the option to do a few things with it, one of the options being a Kabob icon named “More”. Press it, and you’ll see the option to rename the file.
Pressing “Rename” will allow you to edit the file’s name. But, you’ll want to put the cursor at the end of the name so that you could erase the “.png”.
Erasing it will give you a corruption warning. Although it’s true, it’s a reversible process in that you could put back the “.png” and your image is still safe. This can be done for videos as well.
Always give your image a distinct name so that you don’t have trouble finding it when you search for it in the File Manager
It’s always good to add another extension name. For safekeeping, “.file” is a good replacement.
This method is doable, but it’s by far the most inconvenient way of keeping your gallery items hidden. It’s also potentially dangerous since a lot of factors come into play here, such as data loss.
For one, it’s not a workable option for either hiding more than a handful of pictures, or hiding every photo or video you take thereafter.
For two, changing certain images or videos from one type of file to another will cause the file to lose some data.
For instance, changing the file name from PNG to JPG will convert the file, potentially reducing the image quality. Image quality reduction is a form of data loss. Changing the name back to PNG will not reverse it.
So you’d have to remember exactly what type each image or video is (which is too much work!).