They’re called photo vault apps, and they recently became big news when it came out that teens were using them to hide photos and documents on their phones. The intent is to keep private photos, documents, and even your browser history away from prying eyes. But some teens have used it as a way to hide questionable content from their parents. A group of teens in Colorado is even facing felony charges after allegedly using these apps to hide nude photos of underage peers. (read the story here)
Photo vault apps look like a calculator app (or other common utility) at first glance. Most even function as calculators. But when you type in your code, they reveal hidden files, notes, contacts, passwords, and even a browser that doesn’t track your search history.
There are some legitimate uses for photo vault apps, for example, to add an additional level of security when storing passwords. We carry our phones everywhere, and a little extra security can enhance peace of mind. However, parents in particular should be aware that these apps exist and could help your children hide illicit or dangerous behavior.
To see what these apps look like on your child’s phone, check out this Buzzfeed article.