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How to Hide Private Files on Your Computer or Smartphone

We all have information that we’d rather keep hidden, but what’s the best way to store your data from wandering eyes?

Organizing data is sometimes the last thing we want to deal with, but if you have critical financial documents or collections of embarrassing party photos lingering around, these are the types of files you should keep private in case of snoops or hackers (it does happen!). Having a passcode on your device is smart, but it’s not always enough if you share your computer or phone with friends and family. Be even smarter and limit access to your hidden world with the following tips.

A simple trick for Windows is to merely place your sensitive information within a folder and then mark the folder as ‘hidden,’ which will hide it within the file explorer. To hide a folder, right click on the folder and select the properties option. Once the properties dialogue is open, ensure there is a checkmark next to the hidden label – that’s all there is to this method! When you want to view that hidden folder, simply select the view tab within the file explorer and check the option to display hidden items.

Read More: 3 Private Messenger Apps That’ll Keep It Confidential

The process isn’t as easy on Mac and does involve a bit of time in the Terminal application. If you’re unfamiliar with using Terminal, we suggest checking out a quick tutorial first. Start by opening the Terminal app from your Applications folder and navigate to the directory in which your folder is placed. Once you are within the proper directory type the following command, followed by the enter key,’ to hide the folder: “chflags hidden [name of folder].” For example, if we have a folder named ‘photos’ which we want to keep hidden, we would type: “chflags hidden photos.”

Due to the open nature of the Android platform, one of the best options for hiding sensitive data is a third-party solution. One such option is dfndr vault, an app that easily allows you to create a hidden gallery of photos and videos; it even offers a feature known as applock, which can prevent access to certain apps by letting you add a secure passcode. No need to worry anymore about friends snooping around your Tinder profile or co-workers discovering embarrassing snapshots. Android users can also take advantage of dfndr performance, which has a ‘quick cleaner’ feature to remove any private information that might be in your device’s temporary files.

If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you can choose to add your private photos or videos to a ‘hidden gallery’ built into the device. Simply visit your Photo app and navigate to the media you wish to hide, once there tap the share button (the square with the upward facing arrow), and select hide from the menu. The photo you just chose to hide will no longer be viewable from the main camera roll or any of the adjacent photo features. To view the private collection, head to your albums and locate the folder named Hidden. Sadly this option won’t keep the most curious of individuals out, but it will prevent any private images from popping up while scrolling through your camera roll.