There are any number of reasons why you might want to keep some of the files on your Android device secret. Preventing the likes of WhatsApp and other apps from bringing them up as options when you want to post something is one, especially when we’re frequently having online meetings at the moment, which can include sharing your screen to demonstrate things to co-workers. It could also be that you’re putting together a collection of images for a surprise birthday gift for a partner and don’t want them accidentally stumbling over them when they borrow your phone.

Whatever the reason, it’s easy to hide these files or folders on your Android device. It doesn’t require any additional apps and the process only takes a few seconds to complete. Plus, it’s just as simple to make the files visible again. We show you how to hide files in Android.

How do I hide individual files on Android?

If you only want to hide a single file or a select few, then it’s possible to achieve this with ease. On your device, open the file manager app (this is usually called My Files on Samsung devices or Files on plain Android). Select the relevant storage medium (usually either Internal Storage or SD Card if your device has that option), then navigate to the file or files you want to hide.

How to hide files in Android: Using the File Manager

Press and hold on the file until you see some menu option appear. Tap on the three dots in the top right corner then select Rename. Now, all you need to do is put a full-stop (or period for our American readers) at the beginning of the file name. Once you’ve done this, tap Rename and you’ll see that the file has now disappeared from the list.

How to hide files in Android: Renaming files

Don’t worry, it’s still there, only hidden for viewers. You can repeat this process for as many files as you like, knowing that they won’t be harmed but will be obscured from anyone looking on your phone or apps that have access to your files. If you want to view this file, scroll down as we'll explain how to do this below.  

How do I hide folders in Android?

The process for hiding folders is exactly the same as for individual files. So, ensure you’ve got all the files already stored in the folder, then go through the steps outlined above. Only this time rename the folder rather than the file.

How can I see hidden files and folders on Android?

So, the files or folders are now hidden from prying eyes. That’s great, but you can’t see them either, which isn’t so good. This is a quick fix though. All you need to do is open the file manager app and tap on the three dots in the top right corner and select Settings. In here, scroll down until you can see the Show Hidden system files option, then turn it on.

How to hide files in Android: Revealing the files

Now, if you navigate back to the folder that houses the hidden files or folder you should see them at the top of the list, slightly greyed out to indicate their hidden status. Note that the files are only visible in the file manager app, so they will still won’t appear on the likes of WhatsApp or your camera roll until you rename them once more, removing the full-stop (period) from the start of their file names.

For more ways to get the most from your device, read these Android 10 tips and tricks and if you're thinking of upgrading your handset soon then our roundup of the best Android phones will give you our pick of the current models.