Decoy and Vault Apps


Vault apps and Decoy apps both serve to fulfill the same goal, hiding content on a mobile device either on a tablet or smartphone. Kids and teens typically will use these types of apps to hide material from parents, teachers, and peers. Of concern, is content in these apps relating to cyberbullying and sexting.


The follows material will briefly describe what these apps are and how to identify them.

Vault Apps

Don’t attempt to hide what they are. The app icon is usually displayed with some sort of secure symbol. In addition, the app is named something like “vault” or “secure.” Then attempting to open the app requires a password to be entered before access is granted. This app functions much like a typical folder on a computer where any sort of digital file can be stored, just in this case a password is required to open the folder.

Decoy Apps

Utilize slightly more secretive methods as they attempt to hide what they are. One common type of decoy app is the decoy calculator. The app icon is typically displayed with a usual calculator icon. The app is also called something other than any suspiciously secretive words; something like “calculator” will be the name. Attempting to open the app will display a working app that is congruent with the app name. So a decoy app named “calculator” will open up to a working calculator. Once the app is open certain buttons, patterns and codes within the app if entered correctly will open the vault component of the app. In the case of a decoy calculator app, everything works just like a calculator but pressing something like 5+6-3% will open the storage component as with vault apps.

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Apple iOS (iPod, iPad, iPhone)

Android (smartphones & tablets)