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!

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Weekly Round Up 4/27/18

 

 

This really isn’t news…
Tech has no moral code. It is everyone’s job now to fight for one


Damn, China. Way to raise the bar….?

China turns to tech to monitor, shame and rate citizens


Can’t afford not to be these days…

How a News Junkie Stays Plugged In: Newsletters and Her Kids


So cool…

Paralyzed 34-year-old man completes London Marathon using Israeli tech


Because something has to give…

Why Big Tech is Plotting an Invasion of the Healthcare Market


Nerds Unite!

Workers of Silicon Valley, It’s Time to Organize


I’d pay to watch this on PayPerView…

Apple, Facebook feud as tech faces heat in D.C.


Which is why I have a job…

Apple has become an HR issue for enterprise IT


Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for that one?

Apple’s Tim Cook Meets With Trump in Oval Office

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.

How to: secure your iPhone and iPad Lock screen

 

 

By Peter Can of 9to5Mac

One of the things Apple touts is its focus on user privacy, and that commitment shows throughout the company’s ecosystem, all the way down to what is visible and not visible on a user’s Lock screen.

Follow along as we walk you through how to make the most out of your iPhone or iPad’s Lock screen.

How to secure your iPhone and iPad Lock screen

1 Head to Settings > Face ID (or Touch ID) & Passcode. You’ll need to enter your device’s passcode.
2 From there, scroll down until you see Allow Access When Locked.
3 By default, everything will be on. Now choose which options you’d like to disable access to when your device is locked.

Personally, I like to disable everything other than Siri, especially with Face ID on the iPhone X. By doing so, nearly every action on the Lock screen is not possible without authenticating with a passcode or Face ID. I keep Siri on to allow for “Hey Siri” on the Lock screen.

One thing I would like to see is the ability to disable the camera on the lock screen or perhaps a way to disable actionable notifications unless the device is unlocked.

For more help getting the most out of your Apple devices, check out our how to guide as well as the following articles:

How to turn off Airplane Mode and Do Not Disturb mirroring with iPhone and Apple Watch
How to create custom vibration pattern ringtones for iPhone
How to set up Apple Pay on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac
How to report phishing attempts and other suspicious messages to Apple
How to back up your Apple Watch
How to enable ‘Calls on Other Devices’ like iPad or Mac
How to enable Wi-Fi calling on iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch
How to clean your dirty AirPods and charging case

Weekly Round Up 4/20/18

 

 

 

To echo yesterday’s article, Apple should start it’s own school…
The Classroom of Tomorrow Takes its Cues From Tech Startups

 

To be honest, AR freaks me out. I had to stop watching WestWorld for just that reason.
Tribeca Film Festival has everything a geek could wish for

I’m starting to sense a theme with these festivals…
How 3 Brands Brought Tech to Life at Coachella

 

And Apple’s gonna spend the next 5 years playing catch up…
Tech’s Hollywood Takeover: Amazon Reboots ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘E.T.’ Studio

 

Finally, some good news about tech this week…
What’s tech got to do with political activism? Everything.

 

Can’t wait to see what Comey’s Memos say about this…
Facebook, Microsoft, and other tech companies pledge to never help governments launch cyberattacks

 

Can they not go one day without being in effin’ the news?!
Facebook Really Wants to Bring Back Its Face-Scanning Tech in Europe. Problem Is, It Might Be Illegal.

I did!
How To Get A Career In Tech Without A Technical Degree

App of the Week: Couch to 5K

The Good, The Bad, & How to Know if this Training Plan is Right for You.

 

 

By Heather Gannoe of Relentless Forward Commotion

If you’ve toyed with the idea of starting to run, or have a friend who has recently taken up running, chances are you’ve heard of the Couch to 5K program. But if you haven’t: the Couch to 5k is a wildly popular training program that is designed to take a non-runner from a sedentary lifestyle to running a 5k distance race in just nine weeks. Designed by Josh Clark, and originally published on the training website Cool Running, the Couch to 5k program has claimed to help thousands of people become runners and has blossomed into a running movement of its own.

The training plan consists of just three days of training sessions per week, for a total of nine weeks. Each session consists of running and walking intervals, measured by time or distance, progressing forward with the final goal of running either a 5k or 30 minutes, without walking. If you are thinking of using the Couch to 5k program to help get you started on your running journey, consider the following pros and cons to this plan.

The Good:

Does the thought of running for more than a minute terrify you? Then this training program is perfect for you. The Couch to 5k program starts off with short intervals of running combined with generous walking breaks, which is an ideal introduction to running both physically, and mentally (for example, day # 1 includes the following: “Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes”). Josh Clark states in his training program: “Too many people have been turned off of running simply by trying to start off too fast. ” Having specific, short distance or time goals prevents the participant from doing too much, too soon, which in turn prevents mental burnout and injury.

There has always been a bit of a stigma behind walking vs. running, but don’t let it bother you. Studies show that a combination of running and walking has been shown to help prevent injuries while building physical endurance and running distance, as well as helping to prevent muscular fatigue. So you are not any less of a ‘badass” for taking walking breaks; quite the contrary, you are a smart runner!

Further, some amazing athletes are well known for their run/walk methods. Ultra runners (we are talking the people who run 100 + miles at once!) are notorious for it. And most famously, this style of training has been made very popular by former Olympic runner Jeff Galloway, who uses the run/walk method to train participants of all levels to run distances up to a marathon and beyond. The Couch to 5k program is variable in the sense that participants may choose to follow the plan by either distance or time. Each training session lists running and walking intervals by time or by distance, depending on the participant’s goal. This is helpful for those who are unable to measure the distance they run, or who may have time constraints on their training sessions.

The Bad:

Though the creators of the Couch to 5k program claim that it is for almost everyone, it might not actually be for everyone. Depending on many factors, such as health conditions, or even previous fitness experience, many beginners may find the couch to 5k training program too aggressive. Many beginning runners may find certain weeks include an increase in running distance that proves to be too difficult, and that week may need to be repeated. For example, on training day number three of week five of the program, participants are suggested to run two miles straight without a walk break. This is a significant increase from the three quarter mile interval run, with half mile walk breaks, the session before. The Couch to 5k program encourages runners to repeat a week if necessary. However, the claim of getting participants off of the couch and onto running a 5k in only nine weeks may become frustrating to some who find they need to repeat a week.

On the other hand, some beginning runners may find the Couch to 5k program not aggressive enough. The Couch to 5k program discourages participants from skipping ahead, which can also prove to be frustrating for those who feel they are capable of doing more.

Conclusion:

Overall, the Couch to 5k training program is a very basic training guide that can be utilized by almost anyone. Even if the full nine week training program is not ideal for all participants, the Couch to 5k program may prove to be a useful starting point for someone looking to start running. The training plan can be found free on the Cool Running website and through the Facebook support page. In addition, Couch to 5k apps are available to download to your smart phone or tablet, to help you keep track of your training.

Couchto5K is available to download for $2.99 for iOS and Android.

Do you have a favorite running app? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to: create a ‘do it later’ to-do list

A deferred do-it-later list can transform your to do list.

 

By Charlie Sorrel of CultofMac

Todo lists are great for not forgetting to, you know, do stuff. But they can be tyrannical, stressing you out with an endless queue of tasks which need to be completed. Even if you are hyper-productive, and manage to get through most of your chores, your todo list can end up cluttered with lower-priority tasks that don’t need to be on it.

This, then, is where the do-it-later list comes in.

A do it later to do list is the most useful to do list

A do-it-later list sounds like a goof-off. After all, you’re purposely putting a bunch of task off until an indefinite future date. But that’s exactly why its such a powerful idea. Instead of cluttering up your inbox with tasks that can’t be completed, you can keep your actual todo list short, while still gathering future task in a useful place.

Examples of good do-it-later tasks:
• A task with a definite future start date.
• Book and movie launches in the future.
• Notes, and things you want to remember, but don’t require you to actually do anything.
• Gathering the actual to-do tasks for a big future project.
• Tasks you can’t be bothered to do right now, even though you probably should.

As you can see, these are mostly the kinds of things that don’t need to be on your regular todo list. If your todo list is full of this kids of task, then you end up having to look at these same todos over and over, you learn to ignore them, until you end up actually forgetting to do them when the time comes.

The last entry — tasks you can’t be bothered to do right now — is just admitting to yourself that some things just aren’t going to gets done today, or even this week. Instead of torturing yourself, just get them off the daily list and do something else instead.
And all the while, they make reading your “real” todos much harder.

How to use a do-it-later list in Things

I’ll use Cultured Code’s Things app to demonstrate how some todo apps have built-in support for do-it-later lists. There are two main ways to create a do-it-later list. One is to make a separator list, and just put everything there. The other, which is much handier, is to use an app that can hide certain tasks. A good do-it-later feature lets you:

• a start date to a task.
• Hide tasks with start dates in the future.

Someday

Things is exemplary in this regard. First, it has a dedicated do-it-later list, called Someday. Anything added to this list (done with the mouse, or by typing Command-O) becomes a do-it-later item. You can find all your Someday task in the Someday box, listed up in the sidebar. But the killer part is that you can choose to hide or show Someday tasks in the rest of the app. For example, I have a list of ideas for How To articles. Perhaps I have a bunch of How Tos I want to write when the next version of iOS is released. If I mark these as Someday, then I can just hit a button in my How To list that shows or hides Someday items. Someday items also get a special checkbox made from a dotted line, to distinguish them visually.

If you add a date to a task, it also disappears when you choose to hide future items. Until, that it, the future date comes around, and the task magically reappears on your main list. Look for an app that supports “start dates” if you like this feature.

Things’ implementation of do-it-later lists is great, and the big advantage is that you can organize these tasks into projects, like any other, and yet still hide them.

How to use a do-it-later list in Reminders or any other app

Things’ handling of do-it-later items is great, but you can still keep a do-it-later list in a simpler app. For instance, in Apple’s own Reminders app, you can just create a special list that you use as a do-it-later list. Then, whenever you want to defer an item to your do-it-later list, just move it to this list.

On the Mac and the iPad, you can just drag-and-drop the task to your do-it-later list. On the iPhone, you have to enter the task’s edit mode by by tapping the task, then taping the little i button, then selecting the list you want send it to. That’s a pain, but then, Reminders on the iPhone is almost nothing but pain.

The disadvantage of this method is that tasks have to be manually moved back to their original list when you want to “reactivate” them. The advantage is that you can user it in any app ever, even a plain old text note-taking app.


Do you have a favorite To Do workflow? Sound off in the comments below!