How to hide your apps in iOS 9 without a jailbreak

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I promise, there's a folder between those two app icons.
I promise, there's a folder between those two app icons.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Every once in a while, you might have an app or two that you really don’t want to show off. Whether it’s a racy game or two or dating apps you don’t want your children seeing when you hand them your phone to keep them occupied, being able to hide those apps from general view is a handy thing.

Until now, you had to jailbreak your iPhone to make that happen. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, and you can–thanks to the fine folks over at Redmond Pie, who originally found this tip–hide apps on your own iPhone, with no jailbreak required. It’s a bit involved, and requires that you change your wallpaper to something boring, like white or grey, but it works.

Here’s how.

Set the wallpaper

First up, grab either a white wallpaper or a gray one, depending on your tastes. Boring, sure, but needed to pull this trick off.

use as wallpaper

Save your chosen wallpaper to your Camera roll (tap and hold on your iOS screen, then choose Save Image) and then set it as your wallpaper for your Home screen (head into your Camera Roll, tap on the wallpaper and then the Share rectangle – choose Use as Wallpaper).

still set

Tap on the Still button at the bottom of your screen, then Set. Choose Set Home Screen to use this wallpaper on the screen with all your icons. You can keep whatever cool lock screen image you use.

Accessibility settings and folder creation

reduce transparency

Head into your Settings app and tap General, then Accessibility, then Increase Contrast. If you chose the white background, make sure the toggle is OFF. If you chose the gray one, however, toggle Reduce Transparency to ON.

folder name

Next, create a folder with the apps you want to hide. Simply tap and hold on one of the apps to make your Home screen do the wiggle dance, then drag one app on top of another. You’ll make a folder that way, and you’ll want to make the folder name blank. You can’t do that with spaces, so copy the following blank characters (without the quotes) into your folder name: “⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀”.

Create blank icons

You’ll need a couple of blank icons to place on the first “page” of your now blank folder. Download App Icons Free from the App Store and install it on your iPhone.

Photo Camera Roll

Launch App Icons Free, tap Create Icon, then Go to Link. Next, tap the Photo button at the bottom, then choose Camera Roll. Select the same color photo from your Camera Roll as you chose for your wallpaper, then hit the Choose button; your new icon will turn that color. In the URL field at the top, type in a period. In the Go to Link button at the bottom – tap the pencil-style Edit button, then paste in the same blank characters from the folder above.

icon maker blank

Finally, hit Install in the upper right, then Install again (at the bottom). You’ll be taken to a web page with instructions to tap the Share button, then Add to Home Screen. Do that. Leave all the options as they are, and hit Add in the upper right. Because this new icon is the same color as your wallpaper, it will blend in – you might want to tap and hold any other icon to get the little X in the upper left-hand corner of each app icon so you can find it. Tap and drag it to your hidden folder.

Final touches

To make the folder completely blend in to your wallpaper, you’ll need to move the apps you want to hide to the second “page” of the folder. Open the folder with a tap, then tap and hold on the app icons in it. The icons will start to wiggle; tap and drag the apps you want to hide over to the right inside the folder and they’ll move to the second page. Do this with all the apps you want to hide while leaving the blank icon you just created on the first page. Click the Home button to stop the wiggling.

notification badge

Be sure to clear out any notifications if your hidden apps have them enabled, or the hidden folder will still be easy to spot with the big red badge number there. You can always disable them for that specific app in the Notifications pane of the Settings app, too.

Now you’ve got a secure folder you can hide all your weed apps in (or other apps you don’t want immediately visible). It’s not foolproof, but it’s a nice, easy way to make this happen without having to figure out how to jailbreak your iPhone.

Source: Redmond Pie