What the Tech? How to Find Your Children’s Hidden Phone Apps

Now that kids are back in school and spending more time with friends, you can almost bet they’re sharing some tech secrets they’ve picked up over the summer.

One smartphone trick that’s been making its way across social media for the past year is how to hide certain apps from their phone screen.

Parents who forbid the use of certain apps such as Snapchat and TikTok or anonymous apps such as YikYak and Yolo will never see those app icons on the screen. Here’s how they’re hiding apps they don’t want their parents to see:

● Open the Apple “Shortcuts” app and tap the plus sign to add a new shortcut
● Choose “scripting”
● Under “Open App”, tap the app and choose the app you’d like to hide.
● Select “Add to Home Screen”
● You can change the name of the app that will appear on the screen such as “music”
● Tap at the top where it shows an icon and “shortcut name” is shaded gray
● Choose a color for the app (we’ll choose red)
● Tap on Glyph which gives you many options for the appearance of the app icon
● Choose the “Play” button triangle and tap done
● On the next page, tap the menu option at the top right and select “Add to Home Screen”
● This will place that app icon on the home screen

For anyone just glancing at the screen and swiping across the pages, the newly created icon will appear as a music player. When tapped, it opens Snapchat.

Users can also hide an entire page of apps by placing them all on one page, holding down the small circles on one of the pages, and then tapping them.

By removing the checkbox on any of those pages, it will not be displayed when you swipe across the pages of apps.

For parents who want to see which apps are on an iPhone, swipe left past the last page to the App Library. Here you can browse through all the apps, search or see them listed in alphabetical order.

Since the Shortcuts update came in late 2019, many kids (and adults) are still learning about hiding apps like this.


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