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Does Your Teen Use Hidden Ghost Apps?

3D smartphone rendering with a projected ghost above the screen  

Vault apps are also known as ghost apps. Anyone can download and use these apps on their smartphones. Vault apps have recently become popular among teens. Having additional layers of privacy on a person’s phone comes with upsides and downsides. Particularly for the parents or guardians of teenagers, extra privacy on behalf of teens is controversial.

What Are Ghost Apps?

There are many different apps that teens use including popular social media apps like Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and more. Besides the pre-installed camera apps that come with iPhones and Androids, for example, teens can download vault or hidden apps. Namely, picture vault apps are apps that allow teens to hide photos. Teens may store nude photos, inappropriate memes and content, pictures of drug paraphernalia and even pictures of themselves drinking and doing drugs.

Signs That Your Child Has Hidden Apps

Many teens use password protection on their phones so that only they can easily access the phone. Just because a teen has a phone password setup does not mean they have hidden apps. Some actual signs that a teen has hidden apps include:

  • Having duplicate apps like a second calculator on their phone
  • Being secretive or suddenly shutting off the phone if parents are around
  • The sudden presence of unusual new apps on a teen’s phone
  • Teens not sharing phone passwords with their parents

Popular Ghost Apps

One of the easiest ways to hide apps on mobile phones is to download vault or ghost apps. Parents should make sure certain parental controls are in place before their teens are given phones. Depending on the manufacturer, there are particular parental locks that parents can use to prevent their teens from downloading apps without the parent’s permission.

KYMS and Other Calculator Apps

The kyms app is a media vault application that protects photos. The kyms app is stylized as a secret calculator app otherwise known as a smart hide calculator. Other calculator apps include:

  • Secret calculator vault
  • HiCalculator
  • Secret Calculator Photo Album
  • Secret Album: Calculator Vault

Keepsafe and Other Photo Vault Apps

The Keepsafe app is a secret photo vault application that protects an individual’s private photos. The Keepsafe company also has a private internet browser to protect a person’s browsing history. Other photo vault apps include:

  • Private Photo Vault
  • Gallery Lock
  • PhotoVault
  • Safe Gallery
  • FotoX
  • Lock Photo Vault Video Safe
  • GalleyVault
  • Photo Locker

Kik Messenger and Secret Message Apps

Kik messenger is a messaging service that some teenagers use to send instant messages to one another. Kik is separate from the messaging services built into iOS and Android systems. By using a separate messaging system like Kik, teens can keep messages secret or more private. Other secret messaging apps include:

  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp


AppLock is also known as secret Applock that allows teens to put a password or lock on individual apps. Thus, if a parent wants to access their teen’s apps, they must know the password for that specific app or they cannot gain access.

Other Apps to Consider

Besides photo vault and secret apps, one of the most popular apps among teenagers is Snapchat. Snapchat involves messaging, sharing photos and short videos with friends that can disappear after a set amount of time. Additionally, Instagram now features messaging where teens can exchange and store photos. Some of the most common apps that teens use may have inappropriate content in which parents are not aware of.

What Parents Can Do

How can parents find hidden apps? There are several steps that parents can take to control what apps their teen has access to. However, one of the most important things that parents can do is to talk to their teens about digital dangers. Having an open and effective line of communication is critical so that teens do not feel the need to hide their private lives from their parents. Importantly, being non-judgemental can help teens feel comfortable sharing more and hiding less.

Become a Digitally Informed Parent

Parents can download apps that monitor their teen’s phone. Some of the best apps to monitor a child’s phone include:

  • mSpy
  • MamaBear
  • The Phone Sheriff
  • Mobicip
  • The Spy Bubble

If a teen does have ghost apps installed that parents discover, the storage size of the ghost app will give it away. A calculator app will be one of the smallest apps on a smartphone.

The easiest way to deter the use of ghost apps is to have a discussion about family privacy rules and set clear boundaries with teens. A discussion about the repercussions of having inappropriate content stored digitally should occur well before teens have access to their own phones.

If you find your teen is hiding a substance use disorder, consider contacting Next Generation Village. Call today to speak with a representative about how professional addiction treatment can help your teen develop a healthier lifestyle. Take the first step toward that healthy future, call today.


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