How to “Hide” an App on Your iPhone or iPad

The default iOS apps on an iPhone home screen.ymgerman / Shutterstock

Apple doesn’t allow you to completely hide apps on your iPhone or iPad like you can on Android. This is most likely for security reasons. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make an app more difficult to find.

You can’t completely hide an app on iOS

Apple has never provided the ability to hide an app on iOS or iPadOS. The only way to completely remove an app from your iPhone or iPad is to remove it. AT delete an application, long press its icon until the “X” appears, then press it.

We have a few tips that will hide an app without deleting it. These include removing the app from Siri shortcuts and suggestions, disabling features such as notifications, and burying the icon in a folder away from prying eyes.

Exclude the app from Siri research and suggestions

Siri suggestions appear on the Today screen and next to the Spotlight search box on your iPhone. If you use search to find apps regularly (and you should – just pull down on your home screen to display the search box), the app you want to hide may be suggested from time to time . Or, it may appear when you search for other apps.

Suggestions from Siri in iOS.

If you use an app a lot, Siri will recommend it frequently. Apple’s assistant will also learn from the application and make suggestions through other applications. When you hit the “Share” button in an app, you often see a list of recommended destinations that Siri has learned based on usage, for example.

Then there are research results. There are many apps that allow iOS to index searchable databases so you can quickly find documents or notes in native iOS search. This could give much more information than a simple Siri suggestion.

IOS system search results from indexed applications.

Head to Settings> Siri and Search and find the app you want to “hide” from the long list of apps installed on your device. Disable all the options on this screen to see one more appear: Display the application.

Disable “Show application” to exclude the application from all search results and suggestion screens. To find the app in the future, you need to find its icon somewhere on your home screen or in its folders, then launch it from there.

Exclude an app from Siri's search suggestions and results

The Settings app itself does not follow these rules. If you pull down the list of options in the iOS Settings app, you see a search box. Here you can search for installed features and applications to quickly adjust their preferences. Any application you try to hide or exclude will always appear in the settings and its search box.

Bury the application in a folder

You will probably want to strike a balance between secrecy and practicality when deciding where to place the app icon. If you use the app a lot, you want to make sure it’s accessible in a few clicks. If it’s a once-a-week type agreement, you can be a little more creative.

You can create folders on iOS by long-pressing the icon of an application until all the icons on the screen move. Then long press on an application and hover over another application. A folder appears and you can name it whatever you want. To get rid of the folder, delete all but the last one.

A folder of applications on iOS.

For best results, use a folder containing many applications, ideally enough to span multiple pages. If you want to hide the app from other users on your phone, choose a boring folder full of utilities rather than a folder full of games.

I installed myself on a folder called “Utilities” containing applications like TeamViewer, Telegram and a PDF converter. Other ideas include a “Work” folder, or a bunch of “Shopping” apps or “Office” tools. A health record can also be boring enough to deter spies.

Disable app notifications

App notifications always appear even after you’ve excluded them from search and other suggestions. Head to Settings> Notifications, then scroll down until you find the app. Tap it, then turn off “Allow notifications” to prevent the app from showing notifications on your phone.

You can also just choose to hide notifications from the lock screen and turn off banners. If you leave the “Notification Center” active, you will only see notifications from an application when you check them manually. If you really want to hide an app, it’s best to turn off all settings.

Hide downloads from your App Store history

If you delete an app from your iPhone or iPad, the Apple App Store will always remember that you downloaded it. It will appear on your “Purchased” tab, even if the application was a free download.

Fortunately, the only area where Apple lets you hide apps is in your purchase history. To see a list of previously purchased apps, first launch the App Store, then tap the “Today” tab. Tap your user icon in the upper right corner, then tap “Purchased”.

You can now scroll through the list of free and paid applications that you have previously downloaded. To hide one, swipe left and press “Hide” to make it disappear. You can also search for specific apps you want to hide using the field at the top of the screen.

Once you hide it, the app disappears. If you want to download it again, you will need to press “Get” and reauthorize it, rather than pressing the iCloud download icon depending on the other apps purchased.

Use dummy apps to hide files and notes

If you are trying to hide files and notes, you may want to use a “dummy” application to hide content from view. These apps seem to be benign, like a calculator. Their real purpose, however, is to store files and information without raising suspicion.

Apple does not like deceptive practices, so these apps are still described as such in its lists. Dummy apps are hard to spot. They use practical application icons next to names that will not cause any suspicion.

If you like the calculator disguise, check out Calculator#, Private calculator, or Turbo vault. Secret files chest is a locked folder where you can store photos, passwords, etc. In Apple Notes, you can lock notes with Face or Touch ID.

All of these apps allow you to hide spyware content, even if they have access to your unlocked phone or tablet.

Hide photos and videos in the Photos app

If you want to hide an application from your photo library, you can do so without any additional software. Unfortunately, it is not particularly safe. Just find the image or video you want to hide, tap share, then scroll down and choose “Hide” from the list.

Options to hide images and videos in the Photos app.

The photo or video is placed in an album called “Hidden” in the Albums tab of the Photos application. This album is not completely protected, however, everyone can find the photos you are hiding if they search for them.

The purpose of this feature is to remove risky photos from your main Photos timeline.

Hide main system applications via screen time

Screen time is Apple’s tool for managing the time you spend on your device. The service also includes parental controls, some of which can be used to change the way your device works.

Screen time may hide some integrated system applications, but not third-party applications. Head to Settings> Screen time, then tap “Content and privacy restrictions”. Tap “Allowed apps” and then disable any apps on the main system that you want to hide.

Hide apps with a Jailbreak tweak

Jailbreak is the act of installing custom firmware on your iOS device to bypass Apple’s restrictions. It is generally not a good idea to jailbreak your device because it exposes it to malware. It also requires you to be running outdated versions of iOS and voids any remaining warranties.

After considering all of this, if you still want to jailbreak your device, it gives you access to tweaks and features that Apple will never add to iOS. One of them is the ability to hide apps with a neat little tweak called XB-Hide. You can find it in the default Cydia repositories as a free download. According to the Cydia list, the tweak currently works with jailbroken devices running iOS 11 or 12.

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