How to Hide Apps on Your iPhone (& Find Them Later)

Sometimes you need to hide apps on your iPhone from others who might snoop. Or from yourself, if there’s a game you’re particularly addicted to. To start, hide the app on your iPhone by using app folders. Next, hide it from iPhone Search and in your iPhone’s App Store purchase history. You can even get rid of Apple’s pre-installed apps while you’re at it. Here’s how to hide apps on your iPhone using each of these methods. And how to find hidden apps on your iPhone—just in case you hide them too well.

Related Video: How to Hide Purchases from Family Sharing

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iPhone and iPad model don’t matter, you can hide apps on an iPhone 8 or iPhone XS or even an iPhone 6 or iPad Air. And these tips for hiding apps will work for anyone using iOS 10 all the way up to iOS 12. Use these tips in combination to hide apps more effectively.

How to Hide Apps on iPhone by Using App Folders

The best way to hide apps in a folder is to fill the first pages of the folder with apps that you’re not trying to hide.

  • Choose a folder that already exists on your iPhone (preferably a boring one, like Utilities) or create a new app folder
  • Press and hold the app icon you want to hide until all your app icons wiggle.
  • Hold and drag the app you’re hiding into the folder where you’re hiding it.

  • Add up to nine apps so that the first page of your folder contains only apps that you’re fine with people seeing.
  • Now drag an app to the right so that a new page within the folder will be created. (Apps on the first page of a folder are visible from the iPhone’s Home screen.)

  • Fill this second page with apps and hide just one or two apps among them so it’s not obvious. 
  • If you really want to bury those apps deep, you can create up to 12 pages in a folder as long as each page has at least one app. That means you could have a folder with 11 pages of apps you only sometimes use, and hide your app or apps on the 12th page.

This method obviously doesn’t completely hide apps on your iPhone, but it sure makes it hard to accidentally come across them.

How to Hide Apps from iPhone Search

Even if you hide apps deep in a folder on your iPhone, someone who is determined to snoop could quickly find your hidden apps using Search. That's why it’s good to know how to hide apps from iPhone Search as well.

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Siri & Search

  • Scroll down the screen and select the app you want to hide

  • Swipe left to toggle off Siri & Suggestions
  • Swipe left to toggle off Show App

  • Back in the Siri & Search menu, the app name will now have the word Off under it.

  • Repeat for any other apps you want to hide from iPhone Search.

To unhide an app in iPhone Search, go back to Siri & Search in the Settings app, tap on the app, and toggle Siri Suggestions back on.

Related: How to Make a Private Photo Album to Hide Pictures on iPhone

How to Hide Apps on iPhone from Your App Store Purchase History

If you have Family Sharing enabled, anyone in your Family Group can see and download the apps you’ve purchased and downloaded. If you want to keep some of your apps private, you can hide them from your App Store purchase history.

  • Open the App Store.

  • Tap on the profile icon or your photo in the upper right corner.
  • Tap Purchased.

  • Find the app you want to hide, swipe left on it, and tap Hide.
  • Repeat for any other apps you want to hide.
  • Tap Done in the upper right corner.

Note: This will not delete or hide the app on your iPhone or iPad. You also can’t hide app subscriptions from the Family Organizer in Family Sharing, even if you hide the app from Purchases.

To view your hidden app purchases:

  • Open the App Store.
  • Tap on the profile icon or your photo in the upper right corner.
  • Tap on your Apple ID. You may need to enter your Apple ID password.
  • Tap on hidden Purchases.

How to Hide Apps That Come Pre-installed on iPhone

Since iOS 10, Apple allows users to hide most of the Apple apps that come pre-installed on your iPhone. Apple stock apps are hidden the way third-party apps are deleted. But you’re actually just deleting the app’s icon, because the app’s data is not removed.

  • From Home screen, tap and hold the app you want to hide until all your apps start wiggling.
  • Tap the X in the corner of the stock Apple app icons you want to delete.

  • If there is no X, the app can’t be deleted.*
  • Tap Done in the upper right corner when you are finished deleting apps.

  • If you decide you need any of these apps in the future, simply download them from the App Store to get them back.

*While you can delete some apps, such as the iPhone Calculator and Apple Music apps, others, such as the App Store and Camera apps, cannot be deleted.

How to Find Hidden Apps on iPhone

As long as an app is downloaded on your iPhone, and not hidden from Siri & Search, you can use Search to quickly find a hidden app on your iPhone. You must type the app’s full name if you want to find out which folder it’s in.

  • From any Home screen, swipe down from the middle of your screen to open Search.

  • Type in the full name of the app you’re looking for (ignore the suggestions that appear under Applications until you have entered the full name)
  • If your app hasn't appeared yet, tap Search.
  • The app should be the top result.
  • If app is hidden in a folder, the name of the folder will appear to the right of the app icon. Tap the icon to open the app. Or open the folder on your Home Screen to find the app there.

  • If the app is not on your iPhone, you will see View to the right of the app icon. Tap that to download the app from the App Store.
  • If the app doesn’t show up, double check that you got the app name and spelling right.

If you still can’t find your hidden apps, check out this article on finding missing apps.

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Conner Carey is a writer & joyous creator; she works with online businesses to develop their brand and as a creative consultant to help artists of all kinds get unblocked. You can reach her at connercarey.com (coming soon) or @connerleecarey on Instagram. She’s currently garage-selling all of her stuff to hit the road in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi. Follow their adventures on instagram @georgiatheRV.