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

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


Back in Android 8, Google introduced a secure folder in the Files app, with a password protecting access to any files inside. This secure folder is called the secure folder and is built-in and free to use.

If you’re not sure why you might need such a file, consider this: you have confidential documents on your phone.

They may have been sent to you from your place of work, or they may be travel documents, bank documents, pictures of your driver’s license, or COVID vaccination cards.

Whatever you want to protect from prying eyes, save it in this folder.

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Interestingly, Google Photos has a similar feature called “Locked Folder” where you can password protect images so that only those with the password can access them. It’s the same thing, just in a different app.

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

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


The only thing you need is a device running at least Android 8, which should cover pretty much everyone since the minimum number of devices are running an older version of Android. That’s all. Let’s protect some files.
When following the instructions, be aware that screenshots are disabled for some secure Android components. This means that I won’t be able to share with you the visuals for each step of the process. I will, however, do my best to explain everything in a way that you don’t need images.

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

File launcher in Android 13.

The Files app launcher is available from the app drawer.

Image: Jack Wallen

At the bottom of the Files app, tap Safe Folder.

The secure folder icon in Android Files.

Accessing the Safe folder from Files.

Image: Jack Wallen

In the window that appears, you are given the option to lock the folder using a PIN or pattern. On this screen, tap a PIN or pattern to make your choice.

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Once you’ve selected an option, you’ll be prompted to set a PIN or pattern for the secure folder. Once you have successfully set the lock, click OK when prompted. The Safe folder is ready to use.

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

Open the Files app and navigate to the file you want to put in the safe folder. Once you find this file, press and hold to select it. If you want to move multiple files, you can click to select as many as needed.

Android file menu 13.

Moving a file to a safe folder in Android Files.

Image: Jack Wallen

With the file(s) selected, click the three-dot menu button in the upper right corner of the window, and then click Move to Safe Folder. You will be prompted to enter a PIN or pattern. After successful authentication, the file will be moved to the Safe folder.

To view or use the files in the Safe folder, you simply open Files, click on the Safe folder icon, enter your PIN or pattern, and those files are ready to be accessed.

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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. Combined with a locked Google Photos folder, you can save every file you need to protect it from prying eyes.

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