How to find hidden apps on your child’s device.

iphone ScreenOne the local cases of kid’s sending pics on their device included kids using an app that looked like a calculator app.  Another popular method for kid’s to share pics and information in secret is to hide apps on their phone.

One way to find what apps have been purchased and are on a phone or device is to look in the app store at the apps purchased.
Within the app store you can pull up a list of purchased apps.  The apps will then show whether they are hidden are not.  (There is a place to also see apps that are not on this device also.) Choose the Not on this phone to see the apps that aren’t on the device.  Looking through all is a way to see what apps are on the current device (the app has Open after the name to allow you to open it directly from All Purchases).  – You can also install apps that haven’t been added to the device from this pIMG_3101art of the store.


The most recent case in the news was students sharing pictures through an app that looked like a calculator and included a secret section for picture sharing.  The pictures involved were not legal in most cases and were being passed around like trading cards.IMG_3104

I’ve never seen these apps on my children’s devices and hope to never see them in person, and there is a log of debate about what to do in the event that you find this on your child’s device. Do you delete it?  Report it?  Was it a one time thing or something they are engaging in frequently?  Personally I’ve never had to find out what I’d do, but I like to think I’d do the ‘right’ thing. What is the right thing though?  Keep in mind that getting caught is punishable by being added to the sex registry for life and possibly other things…  We are talking permanent record here.  The other issue to keep in mind is that if you delete it, there is still a record in the send folder of the device that sent it to your device.

I did tell my boys in high school to immediately report any text they received with inappropriate pictures to their counselor so that it could be dealt wIMG_3104ith and they wouldn’t be liable.  I then gave them a lecture about being on the registry for life….  I still have no idea if that’s the right choice, but that was my decision as far as how to deal at the time.  In the case of hidden apps on devices though, the user of the device is making an effort to ‘get away’ with it and knows what they are doing.  I suspect at that point my child wouldn’t see electronics bought by me ever again, locks on our router and more….

I should say though I personally haven’t searched my kids devices for hidden apps. I feel I would only look in the event I felt a virus had gotten onto the device…. but that’s just my family and so far my children have my trust.


What are your thoughts?  Would you check for deleted apps? What would you do if your child received inappropriate pics?