We all have things on our phones that we want to keep away from prying eyes. You can always add some form of biometric authentication to make sure no one else unlocks your device, and yet there are certain apps we want to bury deep down.
This could include banking apps that contain sensitive information or regular social media apps that you don’t want to keep checking every few minutes.
OxygenOS had one of the best implementations of all Android skins when it came to hiding certain apps behind a password. Unfortunately, the way OxygenOS 12 handles privacy features has completely upended the way you access and interact with the hidden space on your OnePlus phone.
In this guide, we’ll explore how to hide apps on OxygenOS 12 and access them later when you need them.
What happened to your hidden apps?
In previous iterations of OxygenOS, you could hide apps and access them with a simple right swipe on the app drawer. This brought up a hidden space that you can protect using a password or PIN.
This way, accessing your hidden apps took almost no effort as they were hidden just a swipe away. For better or worse (mostly for worse), OxygenOS 12 uses a completely different system launcher that no longer has the hidden space to the left of your app drawer.
If you’ve recently updated your OnePlus phone and haven’t been able to find your hidden apps in the usual place, you have nothing to worry about. The feature has not been removed and none of your apps have been deleted. The way you access them has simply changed, significantly.
How to hide and access apps in OxygenOS 12
In addition to the slew of new features in OxygenOS 12, OnePlus has taken a more streamlined approach to privacy, putting most of the key privacy-oriented features like hidden apps, Private Safe, and App Locker in one section.
To access and use the hidden app space in OxygenOS 12, you must first create a privacy password.
- Navigate to Settings > Privacy and press on Hide apps under the Privacy section.
- Here you will be asked to add a six-digit PIN to access the privacy features along with a passcode that you will need to enter every time you want to access your hidden apps. The access code must start and end with # and can be up to 16 digits long.
- Once you’ve set up both your privacy and passcodes, you can start selecting the apps you want to hide.
Any apps you have hidden will no longer appear in the app drawer or even in the search results.
To access your hidden apps again, you need to enter the passcode using the phone app. This will bring up a folder containing all the apps you’ve stacked away.
At first glance, this seems like a more secure way to protect your sensitive data. However, most users have not been happy with the extra friction that OnePlus has added in the ColorOS-inspired update. To make matters worse, you won’t be able to access the hidden space with any third-party dialer apps, so you might have to find alternative ways to hide apps on Android.
The hidden apps also behave a little differently in OxygenOS 12. First, they will disappear and leave no trace in the recent app switcher the moment you exit the app or switch to another one. There is also an additional option to disable notifications from your hidden apps under privacy options.
Double down on your privacy
Several Android manufacturers have amazing privacy options that you can use to keep sensitive data to yourself. Android has been slowly but steadily emphasizing privacy, and when OEMs like OnePlus adapt these features to their devices, you should strive to make the most of them.