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What is the Android Files Safe folder and how do you use it?

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Way back on Android 8, Google introduced a protected folder in the Files application that password protects all files inside. The protected folder is called Safe folder and it is built-in and free to use.

If you’re unsure why you might need such a file, consider this: You have sensitive documents on your phone.

Maybe they were sent to you from your place of employment, or maybe they are travel documentation, bank documentation, pictures of your driving license or your COVID vaccine card.

Whatever it is you want to protect from prying eyes, this folder is where you want to store it.

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Interestingly, Google Photos has a similar feature, called Locked Folder, where you can password protect photos so that only those with the password can access them. This is the same thing, just in a different app.

Let me show you how to use Safe folder in Android Files app.

What is the Android Files Safe folder and how do you use it?

Requirements

All you need is a device running at least Android 8 – which should cover pretty much everyone – as a bare minimum of devices use an older version of Android. That is it. Let’s protect some files.
One thing to keep in mind as you follow along is that screenshots have been disabled for certain secure Android components. This means that I will not be able to share photos with you for each step of the process. However, I will do my best to explain everything so you don’t need pictures.

Open your app drawer by swiping up on your home screen. Find and tap the icon for Files.

The file launcher in Android 13.

The Filer app launcher is available from the app drawer.

Image: Jack Wallen

Tap Secure Folder near the bottom of the Files app.

The secure folder icon in Android files.

Access the secure folder from Files.

Image: Jack Wallen

In the resulting window, you will be given the option to lock the folder with either a PIN code or a pattern. On this screen, tap either PIN or Pattern to make your selection.

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After choosing an option, you will be asked to enter either the PIN or the pattern for the secure folder. After setting the lock, tap OK when prompted. Secure Folder is ready to use.

Now that you’ve set up your secure folder, how do you use it? It’s actually quite simple… once you know how.

Open the Files app and navigate to a file you want to place in the secure folder. Once you find the file, long press it to select it. If you want to move multiple files, you can tap to select as many as needed.

Menu Android 13 Files.

Moving a file to the secure folder in Android Files.

Image: Jack Wallen

Once you’ve selected the file(s), tap the menu button with three dots at the top right of the window, then tap Move to Secure Folder. You will be asked for either your PIN or pattern. After successful authentication, the file will be moved to the secure folder.

To view or use files in the Secure Folder, simply open Files, tap the Secure Folder icon, enter your PIN or pattern, and those files are ready for access.

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And that’s all there is to protecting files in the Android Files app. This is a great way to protect sensitive information on your phone. In conjunction with the locked folder in Google Photos, you can keep all the files you need to be protected from prying eyes.

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