How to: Hide Files on Any Phone or Computer

 

 

 

By David Nield of Gizmodo

If you’ve got something you want to hide away, then you’ve got plenty of options on Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS—options that we’ll run through here. Even if the kids or a stranger should get access to your devices somehow, these files will stay hidden from view and locked away.

Before we get started, though, we should note that while the solutions below will provide a measure of privacy from a casual user who nabs your device, they aren’t all necessarily going to protect your files from a hacker or someone else with expertise.

 

Android

When it comes to files on mobile devices, those files are usually photos or videos—your other files are likely to be stored in the cloud, not on your device. To hide an image in Google Photos for Android, long-press on it then tap the menu button (three vertical dots) and pick Archive. The photo can still be dug out of the archive, but it does give your sensitive photos some level of protection from the casual browser.

If you’re on a Samsung phone, the default gallery app does a bit of a better job at keeping any photos or videos you want private kept safe. Select the photos and videos you want to hide, tap the menu button (three vertical dots), then pick Move to Secure Folder—enter the folder PIN, and the content gets moved over. No one else can get into that Secure Folder without the PIN.

For something a bit more comprehensive, try Keepsafe: It creates a PIN-protected digital vault on your phone for those photos and videos that you really don’t want other people coming across. Getting files into the vault is easy, or you can take your photos and videos from inside Keepsafe instead.

Also worthy of a mention is Vaulty, which works in a similar way but makes the process of getting photos and videos in and out of your digital locker even easier. Remember that if you’re using Google Photos as your gallery, you’ll still need to delete the originals, otherwise they’ll just get shown from the cloud (which the likes of Keepsafe and Vaulty don’t touch).

File Hide Expert covers any type of file and is very straightforward to use—it simply gives you access to the file and folder structure on your phone, lets you select the content you want hidden, and then hides it. The interface is rather rudimentary, but if you want something basic that works for any type of file, it’s a good option.

There is actually another trick you can use on Android using a file manager like ES File Explorer: Put an empty text file called .nomedia inside any folder with images you don’t want to show up in the default gallery app (though they’ll still appear in the file manager). In fact Android will ignore any folder that starts with a period. It’s a rather fiddly solution, but it might suit some of you.

IOS

The iOS file system is even more locked down than Android of course, so you’re unlikely to have files floating around that you don’t want people to see that aren’t photos or videos. There is the new Files app, that shows your iCloud Drive files (if you’ve got any), but there are no options for hiding files here.

You can however hide photos and videos from the iOS Photos app to keep them away from prying eyes that aren’t yours: Open the file in question, tap the Share button (bottom left), then choose Hide. That removes the photo or video from Moments, Years, and Collections, though someone could still browse to the Hidden album in the Albums section of the app, so it’s not all that secure.

We’ve already spoken about hiding photos and videos in Google Photos, and the process is the same for Google Photos for iOS. Tap and hold on one or more files, tap the menu button (three horizontal dots), and choose Archive. This hides the pictures or clips from the front screen of the app, though they can still be found from the Archive entry in the menu (and still show up in albums and search).

One other option is to put photos inside Notes (though this doesn’t work for videos). First you need to set up a password in the Notes section of the iOS Settings app, then you can open any note, tap the Share button (top right) and choose Lock Note. You’ll also need to remove the photo you’ve added from the main Photos app.

If you need to hide files from specific apps, your best bet is looking inside that app to see what options are available. Dropbox, for example, can be passcode protected from its internal settings screen: Tap Account then the cog icon, and choose Passcode Lock to prevent anyone from getting into your files.

We’ve come across a number of handy third-party options too, including Private Photos Calculator and Private Photo Vault, which protect your sensitive snaps and clips with a PIN code. You can capture photos and videos inside the apps, or import them from the Camera Roll, but if you take the latter option you also need to them delete the pictures from the iOS Photos app.

Windows

Windows has a file hiding tool built right into it, as you might already know: Right-click on any file or folder, choose Properties, then tick the box marked Hidden and click OK. That’s it—your chosen file or folder is no longer visible in File Explorer.

Unless the person who’s gained access to your computer is clever enough to display hidden files, that is. The setting can be toggled right from the View tab of the ribbon menu—the Hidden items entry on the right. You can set files and folders to be hidden from this menu too, via the Hide selected items button.

If you think that’s enough protection to foil any would-be lurkers—that they won’t know Windows well enough to display hidden files—then you’re already all set. On the other hand, if you want to take your hiding file techniques to the next level, you’ll need some help from a third-party app, and there are quite a few to pick from.

Of the ones we’ve tested, Wise Folder Hider Free impressed us the most with its ease-of-use and feature set. You can just drag and drop folders on top of the program interface, and they disappear from File Explorer as if by magic. A password is then required to get into the application. If you want encryption as well, you can upgrade to the Pro version for $19.95.

We were also impressed by My Lockbox, which is also available in free and Pro versions (the latter lets you protect an unlimited number of folders). Again, one password protects access to the program, and it’s perfect for just hiding a single folder away rather than a bunch of files or folders.

Another option is to wrap up all the files you want to hide away in a compressed archive, and then put a password on that archive that blocks unauthorized access. 7-Zip is one free tool that can do this for you, though someone else could still see and delete the archive unless you added one of the hiding options we mentioned above.

MacOS

When it comes to Mac computers, the cleanest and simplest native option is to use the Terminal app, which you can launch from Spotlight (Cmd+Space). Type “chflags hidden file-or-folder-path” then Enter to hide something, and “chflags nohidden file-or-folder-path” and Enter to bring it back. If you like you can type out the command then drag and drop a file or folder into the Terminal window before hitting Enter (just remember the path so you can bring it back).

Various third-party options will take care of the task for you as well. Hide Folders does exactly what it says on the tin, and you simply drag and drop in files and folders from Finder and then click the Hide button. Anyone who launches Hide Folders can see what you’ve hidden though, so you might want to add password protection, which is a $20 upgrade for the Pro version.

Secret Folder does almost exactly the same job, though the interface is a little cleaner and easier on the eyes. Again, you can simply drag and drop folders into the program window to hide them, then toggle the Invisible/Visible switch accordingly. The application costs $20, but a free trial is available.

Hider is a more comprehensive solution that’s again is priced at $20 and again lets you give the software a trial run for free. In addition to hiding selected files and folders, your data is also encrypted, and you’ve got some useful extras thrown in as well (like support for external hard drives). Files can be shown or hidden using simple toggle switches, with everything protected by a master password.

If it’s particular apps that you want to block, then Cisdem AppCrypt might fit the bill for you. You can specify apps (or websites) to password protect, so anyone who gains access to your Mac won’t be able to run programs containing information you don’t want seen. It costs $20 a year, with a free trial available.

Going back to photos, if all you want to do is hide images and video clips, you can use the same options (with the same caveats) as we talked about for iOS. From the Photos app, right-click on an image and choose Hide Photo. This removes it from the main photo stream, but considering the Hidden album is only a click away on the left-hand navigation pane, it’s not the most effective solution.

 

How do keep your private stuff private on your device(s)? Tell us in the comments below!

App of the Week: The best Apple Pencil apps that aren’t for drawing

 

 

By Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac

You have a new iPad, and you have a new Apple Pencil. Time to learn how to draw, right? Not necessarily. Just like a regular pen or pencil, there are ton of other things you can do with an Apple Pencil. You can write, of course, but you can also play games, compose musical scores, do coloring in books, edit photos, and even play the Apple Pencil like a musical instrument.

Let’s take a look at the best non-drawing apps for Apple Pencil.

Why Apple Pencil?

The Apple Pencil is the best iPad stylus you can get, because it and the iPad’s screen talk to each other. All other styluses are just proxies for your finger, stubby pens with conductive rubber tips that pretend to be a flesh finger. The Apple Pencil, on the other hand, can register different pressure levels, so pressing harder draws darker, and it can make a different line depending on how you tilt the pencil (like slanting a pencil to use the wide side of the lead to color in).

But most useful is the fact that it’s not your hand. When an app detects the Apple Pencil, it can ignore all touches from your hand. This lets you lay the side of your palm on the screen to write, draw, or whatever, and you’ll never make an errant mark by mistake. It’s called “palm rejection,” and it’s probably the feature that does the most to make it feel like you’re drawing on paper.

The result is a combo that brings the immediacy of pen and paper to many apps, and not just drawing apps. Let’s check out the best Apple Pencil apps available.

Edit photos with Affinity Photo

 

Apple pencil works with many photo-editing apps, but Affinity Photo is one of the most powerful, and works great on the new Apple Pencil-compatible iPad. It also uses all of the Apple Pencil’s sensors — tilt, pressure, and angle.
Even a simple bullet list of what it does would be too much for this post, but if you’re looking for an alternative to Photoshop for the iPad, then this is the app you want. You can select, retouch, edit, and add real-time effects all with the Apple Pencil, and the app also plays great with iOS 11’s new Files app, so you can drag and drop single or multiple images right into the app.

Price: $19.99
Download: Affinity Photo from the App Store (iPad)

Take notes with GoodNotes

Apple’s own Notes app is already a great companion to the Apple Pencil, but if you want something extra, try GoodNotes. GoodNotes is like a pro version of Notes app. It will recognize your handwriting as you write, so you can search on it in the future.

It can also turn your handwriting into regular, editable text. You can drag-and-drop documents, notes, images, and texts in and out of the app, and you can annotate PDF documents that you’ve opened with the app. Goodnotes can also sync with the Mac version of the app.

My favorite feature is one of its simplest: custom stationery. The app comes with plenty of different kinds of paper to use as backgrounds to your pages. You can also add your own. I have a custom paper for noting guitar chords, for example.

Price: $7.99
Download: GoodNotes from the App Store (iOS)

Write music with Leadsheets

Leadsheets is a music composition/notation app. It presents you with a page of music staves, and you just draw notes onto them. The app’s “compoze” engine recognizes the notes you’re writing, and turns them into standard musical notation. Want to tie two notes together? Just draw a line across the top of their tails.

You can also add chords, set the speed, time signature, and so on. And the app can even play back the result to you.

There are more sophisticated music notation apps for the iPad, but I like Leadsheets because it is so easy to use. If only it could also do guitar tabs, I’d be using it all the time instead of paper.

Price: Free with in-app purchases
Download: Leadsheets from the App Store (iOS)

Play a violin with Pen2Bow

Pen2Bow turns the Apple Pencil into a violin bow. You saw it back and forth, or round-and-round, on the iPad’s screen, and it turns the gestures into music.

Surprisingly, you can squeeze a huge amount of expressiveness from the little white stick. It just depends on how hard you press on the iPad’s screen, how fast you move it, and even the angle at which you tilt the thing.

You can also use Pen2Bow with musical instruments that aren’t usually bowed, because the app can act as a MIDI controller for any other music app. You can get super-expressive with the electric guitar, for example, or try it out on a piano.

Price: $7.99
Download: Pen2Bow from the App Store (iOS)

Drawing with Linea Sketch

OK, let’s add in one drawing app, just because it’s too good to miss. Linea Sketch is a killer drawing app that has everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

Quick sketches are Linea’s turf. It launches fast, and you can be working on a new canvas in seconds. The interface is minimal. It’s all right there, obvious and simple, instead of requiring multiple menus just to switch colors. It supports layers, and generates tints and shades of the currently-selected color, for instance. It also offers plenty of neat touches. For instance, you can use your finger as an eraser anytime, without having to select it as a tool.

Linea really is the best app for quick sketches, but it also makes for a surprisingly sophisticated painting app.

Price: $4.99
Download:Linea from the App Store (iOS)

 

Mark up PDFs with… Files app?

The fastest way to mark up a PDF is in Files app.

Given the number of PDF apps for the iPad, it may seem odd that I’m picking the native Files app here, but it’s the one I use. To mark up a PDF in Files app, you just start drawing on it. That’s it! There’s no need to enter an edit mode, or anything like that. Just tap the Apple Pencil onto the PDF you’re viewing in Files app, and you will draw a line. If you need to switch to a different pen, or change color, or add fancier markup, tap the little Markup icon at the top right of the screen.

I use this all the time for annotating PDFs I have scanned from paper. For instance, my guitar teacher writes out a lot of musical notation during lessons, and I use Files app and the Apple Pencil to mark out sections of songs, or to add notes of my own.

Not just for drawing

The Apple Pencil is a fantastic tool, and now that it’s compatible with all new iPads not just the iPad Pro, we can hope that the range of apps will increase. I’ll admit, my Apple Pencil sits in the pencil jar with my other pens and pencils a lot of the time, but for some tasks, nothing else will do.

Do you have a favorite app to use with the Apple Pencil? Tell us about it in the comments below.

App of the Week: One Drive

OneDrive for iOS Updated With Redesigned Interface, Drag and Drop, and FilesApp Support

 

By Tim Hardwick of MacRumors

Microsoft released an update to its OneDrive app on Tuesday that adds support for the Files app in iOS 11 and brings a host of other new features many of which are responses to user feedback.

To begin with, the interface has been overhauled to make better use of screen space and make filenames easier to read, while an ellipsis button next to each item brings up a new contextual options menu, so users no longer need to long-press a file to take actions.

 

More generally, thumbnail images have been made larger, shared files are now easier to spot, and the multi-column list view on iPad has been redesigned to be less cluttered and give items and filenames more room to breathe. Another welcome enhancement in version 10.1 is expanded preview support for over 130 file types, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, RAW, 3D objects, high-precision DICOM, TIFF files, iWork Files, Java/C/Swift, and many more.

In addition, OneDrive now supports drag and drop, enabling users to drag files to emails and move them between open tabs on iPhone and iPad. Several iPhone X UI fixes are also in evidence, with the interface now displaying properly in landscape orientation, while a number of annoying bugs have been fixed, including one that made search results vanish whenever a file was opened.

OneDrive is a free download for iPhone and iPad available from the App Store.

How do you feel about running Microsoft Apps on iOS? Sound off in the comments below!

How to: Password Protect a Folder in a Mac

 

 

 

By Henry T. Casey of Laptop Mag.com

Not all of your files are meant to be seen by everyone. Your friends and family may not appreciate this truth, but that’s just the way it is sometimes. Luckily, MacBook owners can protect their sensitive files from prying eyes by password protecting specific folders.

Many paid programs offer similar functionality, but we prefer this free method built into Apple that allows folders to be turned into protected disk images. We tested this on a MacBook Pro running macOS Sierra version 10.12.6 but research shows it works the same way going as far back as Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard.

1. Click Command + Shift + A to open the Applications folder.

 

2. Open the Utilities folder within Applications.

 

3. Open Disk Utility.

4. Click File.

 

5. Select New Image.

6. Select Image from Folder.

7. Select the folder you wish to protect and click Open.

8. Click on the Image Format option menu and select read/write.

9. Click on the Encryption menu and click 128-bit AES encryption.

10. Enter the password for this folder twice, and click Choose.

11. Name the locked disk image and click Save.

12. Click Done.

You’ve turned your folder into a locked disk image! You can delete the original folder now, if you’d like. Just don’t delete that .DMG file!

And just like a folder, you can add items to your password-protected disk image before ejecting it.

 

Do you have any tips for protecting your data? Tell us about it in the comments below!

App of the Week: Everything you need to know about the new Files app on iOS 11

 


By Charlie Sorrell of CNET

Files is the new Finder app for iOS 11, and it’s already about a million times better than the basic file-picker it replaces — iCloud Drive. Files is a central place from which to access all the files on your iDevice, and in iCloud. You can find, organize, open, and delete all the files on your device, in iCloud, and on 3rd-party storage services like Dropbox. And because this is iOS 11, Files supports all the fancy new multitasking features like drag-and-drop.

So, lets take a look at what it can do:

 

Of all the new features in iOS 11, Files is still one of the most beta. It’s buggy, laggy, and is missing several of the features shown in the 2017 WWDC keynote. Right now, it doesn’t even have an entry in the Settings app. But despite this, its already more than useful.

FILES’ MAIN SCREEN

I call it the “main” screen, but it’s really Files’ only screen. down the left is a list of sources, and on the right you see the folders and files. Right now the available locations are On My iPad and iCloud Drive. You can also drag any folder to the Favorites section, and there’s another section for tags. These tags are the same ones that you may already use in the Finder on the Mac, and, like everything in iCloud, they sync between Mac and iOS. In the future, you will also be able to access Dropbox, Box, and other file storage services.

GETTING AROUND

Tapping on a source in the sidebar opens up that source. You can then tap on any folder to open that. There’s a persistent search bar at the top of this view, and while it doesn’t yet search within files themselves, it will find files inside subfolders. This lets you quickly find a file if you know its name.

Pulling down on the screen in this view reveals more options. You can create a new folder, sort by Name, Date, Size, or Tags, and toggle between and icon view and list view. At any time you can drag a file and drop it in another folder, or drag it onto a tag to apply that tag. You can also hit the home button and drag the files onto another app (or into an app open in Split View).


You can also drag multiple documents at one time, using multitouch. To do this, you start dragging one file, then tap any other file to add it to the pile under your other finger. This works across multiple locations, so you can keep dragging as you tap to visit many folders and tags, tapping files as you go, until you have everything you want. And once you

Be careful, though. There’s no way to quit an operation once you’ve started. You might find yourself dragging a fingerful of files and realize you’ve gotten the wrong files, or just changed your mind. Workaround include keeping a tag just for this, and dragging them onto it. Nothing will be moved, just tagged. Or you can tap the home button and drop the files on an open space in your home screen. Fortunately, files are copied, not moved, so you can safely delete the erroneously-copied files and leave the originals untouched.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH YOUR FILES?

File support is a little inconsistent so far. Some files can be viewed and even edited inside Files. Others will open in their parent app once tapped. Because there’s no way to tell whether you’ll see a preview, or if tapping will launch another app, its all a little frustrating. You can find out more about a file by long-pressing it to bring up a popover, similar to the ones that appear when you select text on iOS. Here the options are Copy, Rename, Move, Share, Tags, Info, and Delete.

Here’s a quick list of what I’ve found out about different file types

  • Images can be previewed, and marked up using the standard markup tools in iOS 11. To remove your graffiti, use the erase tool. A folder of images can be swiped through ands viewed.
  • Text files can be previewed, but only if their parent app isn’t installed. For instance, I tapped a text file created with Byword and it launched in Byword. After I deleted Byword, those files could be previewed in Files instead.
  • Movies can be previewed. I (almost)successfully watched an AVI and a MOV file, although they both stuttered and barely played.
  • GarageBand files open in GarageBand
  • Music Memos files, in the iCloud Drive, are played inside Files.
  • ZIP file contents can be previewed, as if they were in a folder. You cannot zip or unzip.

SHARING

There is a mysterious Sharing feature, which lets you share a file and edit it with other people. Right now it seems that you can invite people to share, but they can’t actually edit the document. I shared a text file with our own Luke Dormehl, and it was added to his iCloud Drive, but he was unable to edit it.

Still, the option to manage collaborations from Files is an interesting one.

Files is definitely a beta app, with a long way to go. Even on an iPad Pro it’s sluggish (although search is instant), and lacks a lot of basic features (there’s no way too sort by file kind, for example). But despite that it’s already pretty great. If nothing else, Files on iOS is an easy and reliable way to access the files in your Mac’s Desktop and Documents folders.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: