password protect files

If you find you’re lending your device to family members or friends, you may want to password-protect files and apps on your device to prevent them from prying into your personal files or opening your personal apps.

Unfortunately, there’s no built-in way to password protect your photos, videos, apps, and files on Android devices. But you can use an app to do this. Today, we’ll show you how to use the free “Private Photo, Video Locker” app (also called “Calculator”) to password protect files and apps on your Android device.

Set The App Password

When the app opens, you’ll be asked to set the app password. Tap “OK” to close the dialog box. Then enter the password using the Calculator once, and then again when asked.

Set the app password

Set a Recovery Email

Next, you’re asked to enter a “Recovery email“. Type in the email address you want to use to recover your password if you forget it, or tap on an email in the “Registered e-mails” list.

Tap the check mark when you’re done.

Set the Password Recovery email

Password Protect Photos & Videos

You can password protect photos and videos by hiding them in the Calculator app. We’ll show you how to password protect photos, but the procedure is very similar for videos. We’ll point out the differences.

Add Photos To Be Protected

To add photos to be protected in the app, tap the “Pictures” folder on the “Vault” screen. If you’re adding videos, tap the “Videos” folder.

Tap the Pictures folder

Tap the plus button in the lower-right corner of the screen.

Tap the plus button

Then, tap “Hide Photos” on the “Import Files” dialog box. If you’ re adding videos, tap “Hide Videos“.

Import Files dialog box

The app finds the albums on your device’s internal storage and on your SD card, if there’s one in your device. Tap on the album that contains the photos you want to protect.

Tap on a photo album

Lock Images

The album opens and all the photos in the album display. Tap the photos you want to protect. To select all the photos in the current album, tap the double check marks icon.

Select all photos

To protect the selected photos, tap the lock icon.

Tap the lock icon

Delete The Original Files From The SD Card

If the photos you’re protecting are on the SD card, you have to grant the app permission the first time to delete the files from your device. Tap “Set” on the “Delete the Original Files” dialog box and select the root of your SD card.

Tap Set to move photos from SD card into Calculator app

Unprotect Images

To unprotect photos you’ve added to the app, open the “Pictures” folder again on the “Vault” screen in the app. Then, tap the edit button.

Tap the edit icon to unprotect photos

To select certain photos to unprotect, tap on them. To unprotect all the photos in the “Pictures” folder, tap the double-check marks icon.

Select all protected photos

Then, tap the unlock icon to unprotect the photos.

Tap the unlock icon

Choose a Location For The Unprotected Files

The photos you chose to unprotect will be copied to another location on your device. On the “Choose Unhide Folder” dialog box, select the location you want to use.

Choose Unhide Folder dialog box

Once the photos are copied to the unhide folder, they are removed from the “Pictures” folder in the app.

Photos removed from Pictures folder in Calculator app

Password Protect Files Of Other Types

You can also password protect files of other types, such as text files or documents (Word or PDF files, for example).

Add Files To Be Protected

To password protect files of other types, open the app and tap the “Files” folder on the “Vault” screen.

Tap the Files folder in the Calculator app

Tap the plus button in the lower-right corner of the screen to add files.

Tap the plus button to add files

On the “Import Files” dialog box, tap “Other Files“.

Tap Other Files on the Import Files dialog box

Choose The Location Of The Files To Be Protected

The “Open From” menu displays, allowing you to choose from the internal storage, the SD card, or other storage options or apps. Select the location where the files you want to protect are stored.

Select a location on the Open From menu

Tap the folder where your files are located.

Select the folder containing the files to add

Select a File To Be Protected

To select a file, tap and hold on it until you see a check mark. You can only select one file at a time.

Long press on a file to add it

Once you’ve selected your file, tap “Open“.

Tap Open to add the selected file

Give Permission To Delete Files From The SD Card

If the files you’re protecting are on the SD card, you have to grant the app permission to delete the files. Tap “Set” on the “Delete the Original Files” dialog box and select the root of your SD card.

The selected file is added to the “Files” folder in the app and removed from its original location. Repeat the process in this section for each file you want to add.

Tap Set to remove the original files from the SD card

Unprotect Files

To unprotect files you added to the “Files” folder, open the app, enter your password, and tap on the “Files” folder. Then, tap the edit button.

Tap the edit icon to select files to unprotect

To select a certain file to unprotect, tap on it. You can select multiple files.

To select all the files in the “Files” folder, tap the double-check marks icon.

Select all protected files

To unprotect the selected files, tap the unlock icon.

Tap the unlock button to unprotect the files

The files you chose to unprotect will be copied to another location on your device. On the “Choose Unhide Folder” dialog box, select the location you want to use.

Choose Unhide Folder dialog box

Once the files are copied to the unhide folder, they are removed from the “Files” folder in the app.

Files removed from the Files folder in the Calculator app

Password Protect Apps

The Calculator app also allows you to password protect apps. If someone else uses your phone, you can be assured that they will not be able to open apps you’ve locked.

Open App Lock

To password protect apps, open the Calculator app and tap the menu button.

Tap the menu button on the Vault screen

Tap “App Lock” on the pop-up menu.

Tap App Lock on the menu

Set Permission For App Lock

The first time you open the App Lock feature in this app, you’ll see the “Permission Request” dialog box. Tap “Go To Settings“.

Tap Go To Settings on the Permission Request dialog box

The “Usage Data Access” screen in the “Settings” app opens. Tap “Calculator“.

Tap Calculator for Usage Data Access

Tap the “Allow usage tracking” slider button so it turns blue. Then, tap the back arrow.

You should be returned to the Calculator app. If not, use the back button on your device to return to the app or open the app again.

Turn on Allow usage tracking

Lock Apps

Once you’ve allowed usage tracking for the Calculator app, you’ll see a list of apps on the “Applications” screen in the app. To lock an app, tap the lock icon to the right of that app. You can lock as many apps as you want.

Tap the lock icon for an app

A locked app is indicated by a read lock icon. To unlock an app, simply tap the red lock icon so it turns gray and displays unlocked.

Locked apps

Now, when you open any app you locked, enter the password you applied to the Calculator app to open the app.

Access a locked app

Prevent The Calculator App From Being Uninstalled

You can prevent other people from uninstalling the Calculator app while they’re using your device. If you see a “Security Reminder” dialog box when you open the app or when you switch back to the app, tap “Settings” on the dialog box.

Click Settings on the Security Reminder dialog box

If you don’t see the “Security Reminder” dialog box, you can still turn the “Calculator App Protection” setting on. On the “Vault” screen, tap the settings (gear) icon in the upper-right corner of the dialog box

Tap the Settings icon on the Vault screen

Tap “Calculator App Protection“.

Turn on Calculator App Protection

Then choose the “Start Protection” slider button.

Turn on Start Protection

Select “Activate” on the “Device administrator” dialog box.

Tap Activate on the Device administrator dialog box

Finally, tap the back arrow twice to return to the app.

Now, anyone using your device won’t be able to uninstall the Calculator app and access your protected files.

Tap the back arrow twice to return to the Vault screen

What other apps do you use to password protect your photos, videos, files, and apps? Let us know in the comments.

Lori Kaufman
Freelance technical writer living in the Sacramento, CA area. A gadget and tech geek who loves to write how-to articles about a wide range of topics. Loves watching and reading mysteries, cross stitching, attending musical theatre, and is an avid Doctor Who fan.