Whether you are worried about spyware or want to see what’s draining your battery, checking for hidden apps is often a good idea. Finding most hidden-type apps on an Android smartphone isn’t hard.
If you follow the methods described in this article, you may just be able to avoid having to do a factory reset. Although, when memory usage seems too high to manage, a factory reset may also be worth considering.
1. Using the Settings App
If you use the Settings app on your Android smartphone, you should be able to view all the apps you have installed.
- Go to Settings
- Go to “Apps & Notifications”
- Select “See All Apps”
Note that the option to reveal all apps, including hidden ones, may be labeled differently depending on the manufacturer or the OS version.
As a side note, you can also use the Settings app to display system apps and system files. Tap the three-dot menu icon and select the “Show System” option. This does not require root access on your phone.
2. Using the App Drawer
The app drawer lets you see all the apps installed on your Android device, including those that aren’t on your home screen.
- Launch app drawer
- Tap the three-dot icon (top-right corner of the screen)
- Tap “Hide Apps”
A complete list of apps will now be shown. If the “Hide Apps” option is not available, it may mean that there are no hidden apps on your Android smartphone.
Checking App Information
Some hidden apps may be useful, as you’ll find out later in this article. However, some may be using extra RAM and/or draining your battery, while others may be stealing personal information and files.
If you find a hidden app on your phone and don’t recognize its icon, you can use the Google Play Store to find more information about the app. If you can’t search for the app’s name or can’t find its icon in the Google Play Store, here is how you can access the app’s information page to learn more about it.
- Press and hold on the app icon until the menu shows
- Tap the “I” icon
- Tap on “App Details”
This should take you to the app’s product page. However, this method may not prove fruitful if the app is not on the Google Play Store or if the app’s developer chose to remove this information.
Reasons to Use Hidden Apps
The most popular reason why people install hidden apps voluntarily is to track their kids. Whether you suspect that your kid is doing something bad or you just want to know where they are at all times, installing a hidden tracking app should give you some peace of mind.
However, you should know that kids these days keep up with technology faster than their parents. As such, chances are that your hidden app won’t last long on the kid’s phone.
Another reason you may choose to install a hidden app is to use something like Vault (iPhone). These types of apps can add more security layers to your private photos and videos by allowing you to create misleading folders, add passwords, etc.
How to Tell If There Are Hidden Apps Running on Your Android Device
So now you know how to find hidden apps on an Android device, but how do you know if any of these hidden apps are running in the background?
The easiest way to check for hidden apps is by looking at your phone’s memory usage. Manufacturers list a baseline RAM memory usage for their phones, so you can compare that number with your current RAM usage.
If you don’t usually run many third-party apps, the difference shouldn’t be big. If it is, it should give you something to think about. Another neat trick is to close your most used apps and compare your RAM usage after that with the RAM usage while using the phone in Safe Mode.
Safe Mode turns off all non-essential system apps and third-party apps, which should give you a good baseline for RAM usage.
Why You Should Check for Hidden Apps
It’s important to remember that not all hidden apps are good. Some are used for nefarious reasons, such as hidden communication apps. These are often used by teenagers to chat with people online without being traced. Since you never know who might be on the receiving end of your kid’s messages, it doesn’t hurt to give the phone a thorough search every now and then.