How To: Hide All Traces of Your Apps & Pictures on Android

Hide All Traces of Your Apps & Pictures on Android

Unlike some of the popular app lockers out there, a new app called PrivateMe completely erases apps, files, and their associated footprints from your smartphone. Think of PrivateMe as a micro-OS within your smartphone's system. This miniature ecosystem can operate copied apps independently, thus giving it an unprecedented layer of privacy and freedom within your handset.

App lockers can also arouse suspicion, and may make your significant other wonder why you'd need to require a PIN for your gallery or other files. Since PrivateMe completely removes files from your normal OS, and isolates them in their own secure environment, it truly keeps your sensitive data out of sight and out of mind. Here's a guide to quickly set up and get the ball rolling with this nifty privacy app.

Step 1: Install PrivateMe

First thing we'll need to do is download PrivateMe, so just head over to the Play Store to install the app.

Step 2: Hide & Clone Apps

PrivateMe is incredibly easy to set up. To get started, simply open the app, and tap on the + symbol in the upper-right corner to add apps that you want to hide. Once you've added an app, PrivateMe will proceed to install and clone it within its system.

You can now delete the app from your regular system if you want to keep it private. You can also opt to keep both, which would give you the ability to run two different accounts on the same app, like running work and personal accounts for Facebook and other apps.

Step 3: Hide Photos & Videos

If you have pictures that you wish to hide, simply tap on "Private Album" to get started. Tapping on the + symbol in the upper-right corner will open your gallery. From there, simply choose the pictures and videos you want to hide by tapping on them and selecting "Hide" button on the bottom.

Photos and videos that you choose to hide completely transfers over to PrivateMe, totally erasing it from your Android file system. Since there's technically nothing to detect, even plugging your device via USB to your PC or Mac will come up with zero results as far as your private photos and videos are concerned.

Step 4: Enable Virtual Keys

As mentioned before, PrivateMe is basically a mini-OS that operates within your Android system. As such, it'll need its own virtual keys to enable you to navigate to and fro without having to exit and re-enter the app every time you want to switch tasks. So to enable PrivateMe's virtual keys, open the side navigation menu and select Quick Touch, then use the toggle switch to turn the feature on.

When you first set it up, turning on the Quick Touch feature will automatically take you to PrivateMe's app settings page. Scroll down and select "Permission Manager," then tap on "Display Floating Window."

Finally, select "Accept," then you'll automatically be redirected to PrivateMe's main screen, which will now have a virtual button that allows you to switch between apps or go to the home screen without exiting and restarting the app. The interface here is amazingly similar to MIUI's "Quick Ball" feature, so it's just a matter of tapping the floating bubble to expand the menu.

Step 5: Hide or Lock PrivateMe

Now that the app is all set up, it's time to either lock it up or hide it entirely. Camouflaging PirvateMe is by far one of the coolest features of the app. To enable, open PrivateMe and head to the side navigation menu. Now tap on "Protection for PrivateMe," and you'll be presented with two options to either cover the app or simply lock it with a code.

Since locking PrivateMe leaves the app in your app drawer, we'd recommend choosing the "Cover PrivateMe" option here. This will prompt you to create a numeric lock in the guise of a fully-functional calculator app. Simply enter your desired numeric code and tap on the = sign to proceed, confirming along the way. Once you've set this feature up, you'll only see the fake calculator in your app drawer, which you can open and type in your code to access PrivateMe.

PrivateMe is not just for people who need to hide files to protect against snooping, but is also a great option for individuals, like parents, who need to hide sensitive files and protect them against accidental loss.

It should also be noted that if you ever delete PrivateMe from your phone, all data within will also be deleted. So all of the apps and pictures you hid in there will be lost, and you'll have to start fresh next time. Of course, this is actually a good thing, because if you ever suspect that your phone will be captured by unwanted parties, you can quickly delete all of your secret stuff in just a few taps—erasing all evidence.

How do you like PrivateMe? Are there other apps out there that you'r recommend? Post your comments below and let us know what you think.

Cover photo and screenshots by Amboy Manalo/Gadget Hacks

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