How to Find Hidden Apps on Android?

how to find hidden application

by Alex Gustman

Updated: July 21, 2021

There are various applications to any taste available in the Play Store and the number of ways to hide or disguise the installed ones. This possibility is most commonly used by kids or people willing to protect their personal lives from others. Additionally, malware programs can creep inside your phone and hide there waiting for your data without you knowing anything about it. So that you can check your child’s phone and find out what applications it has installed, and so that you can check your phone for hidden spyware, we will give some tips on how to do this.

It might also be annoying to search through multiple applications for the ones you need. The good news is that it is possible to remove the app drawer’s unnecessary ones without uninstalling them.

There are some general tips in this article to help you see the entire list of applications installed on your device. It is also possible (in most cases) to find out the exact purpose of any disguised program. Let’s have a look at how one can hide and unhide the apps in Android.

Where are the installed applications stored?

All installed apps are stored in /android/data folder. System apps are stored in /system/app folder.

folder system.
application list.

When you download APK from Google Play or other sites, the files get into the “Download” folder, and the full path to APK is as follows: internal storage->Download.

If you need first to see all installed applications read the article How to find apps on Android?

Common ways to hide the apps

There is no factory-made way to remove the program from the list of applications without uninstalling it. However, you can still:

  1. Hide the apps into folders. Press and hold one app, then place it on top of the other. This will allow us to sort the programs or take unnecessary ones from the sight. You might also be able to set the password for the folder – however, this depends on your phone manufacturer.
  2. Install the launchers – programs replacing your home screen. This way, you can modify your phone look and add more functions – for example, the ability to change the program icon or name.
  3. Find the vault app that will not only allow to hide applications but also make itself look and behave like another system program. After you import the programs there, delete them from your system. You will also be able to set up a password protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access.

However, in most cases, you will still see the list of all the apps installed on the phone. Let’s have a look at how you do that.

Read also How to delete background applications on android?

Look in the Settings

The easiest way to see every single program is to go to the All Apps menu located under the Apps in the main Settings. If you do not see it, look for the Hidden apps in your right top corner menu. Keep in mind that this will not help if the vault app is involved since the program will only be possible to launch from the vault. However, if you remove it entirely, all the content inside will be gone – unless there is a secret backup hidden on the internet.

How to unhide hidden apps in an Android launcher?

Programs are modifying the entire device’s look. One of the most commonly used ones is Nova Launcher, allowing you to hide the apps from the drawer. To see them, one should:

  • enter the drawer,
  • look for three dots in your right or left top corner,
  • find a menu called Hide app (it can also be something similar).

When you see the list of hidden applications, uncheck them and confirm your selection. After this is done, the programs will become visible. If you do not see anything like this in the drawer, enter the home screen and press the middle device button. This should allow entering launcher settings by pressing the dots showing up at the bottom of the display. Keep in mind that the process might be slightly different depending on the launcher used in every particular case.

If you suspect that the app is disguised under another icon, hold it up until you see the pop-up menu with the small letter “i.” Pressing App details will bring you to the Play Market’s product page, where you should see a detailed app description.

Read also How to close apps on Android?

How do you find hidden apps on Samsung?

If you have hidden some apps on your Samsung phone, and now you want to see those apps, you must do the same thing you did to hide the apps:

  • open the application tray,
  • click the three dots in the search bar at the top,
  • select Home screen settings,
  • scroll down and click Hide apps.

First, you will see the applications that are already hidden, then all the others.

Dealing with third-party applications

If you notice unusual phone behavior or advertisements, there may be a hidden malware program inside your device. In this case, one can have a look at remote apps detectors available in the Play Market. These applications scan the machine to check if there is a problematic piece of software running.

We trust our valuable data to our devices, and thus it is vital to know how to protect them. You might also be willing to guard your children or spouse by knowing what they are doing. However, spying on people is not the best way to trust each other. Before running the checks on your nearest and dearest, try talking to them.


How do I see hidden apps on my Android? 

Those applications that have been hidden manually can be seen in one of the ways described above.

Do I have spyware on my phone? 

First, what you need to know is that spyware apps do not install themselves on your phone. If you always install only official and virus-checked apps, it is unlikely that they are malicious. If you don’t let anyone install apps on your phone, you have no reason to worry about spy apps. But if you have a rooted android phone or jailbreak iPhone, the probability of catching spyware apps becomes higher. In this case, you need to check your phone with an antivirus application.

Is there an app to see if someone is snooping on your phone?

If you use Face ID or a password, no one can unlock your phone without a password. That way, no one can get into your phone if it’s locked, unless you have a spy app installed on your phone that collects data about your activities. In this case, you need to check your phone with an antivirus app.

How can I tell if there is a hidden app on my phone?

Apps that you have hidden personally can be seen in one of the ways that we described in this article. But to detect malware hiding on your phone, you will need to scan your device with an anti-virus.


Here we’ve described in detail how to find hidden apps on an android phone. Applications can be hidden for various reasons. For example, some important system applications are hidden so that you can’t accidentally damage your system. But malicious programs getting on your device hide away from your eyes so that you can’t remove them in time. And there are times when phone owners deliberately hide installed applications. Hidden applications can be detected in various ways and above we have explained how to do it.

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About the author 

Alex Gustman

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