My Secret Folder Keeps Your iPhone's Personal Bits Safe and Sound
My Secret Folder is like a wall safe for the private data you have stored on your iPhone: Photos, websites, notes, contacts, whatever. It disguises itself as a normal folder, it's password-protected, and it'll snap photos of anyone trying to pry inside. What you consider to be your private info worthy of such security is up to you, but whatever it is, My Secret Folder will keep it locked up.
The problem with an iPhone is that it begs to be shared. You've got photos on it, movies, videos, email, great apps and super games you want to share -- so you hand over your iPhone, and as your boss is flipping through the photos of your weekend bicycling adventure, up comes the slightly risque photo of your girlfriend frolicking on the trail.
Or whatever. Who hasn't ever taken a photo on their iPhone that was fine for many situations but embarrassing for others? Or far worse. I'd be willing to bet that 50 percent of college students have photos and videos on their phones that they don't want any of the relatives to see when they come home for Thanksgiving break.
What to do?
Enter My Secret Folder
At first, My Secret Folder seems like an app that's simply made for people who do bad things and make dubious choices: Why do you need a "secret," password-protected place on your iPhone to store stuff? Must only be for pornography, right?
Not so fast. I already implied that some regular college-aged drunken partying and funky dance moves caught by iPhones might be worthy of storage in a secret, password-protected place, but there are others.
For instance, some parents are always ready, it seems, to bore you with hundreds of photos of their children. Most photos of children are pretty innocuous, but some people could use a way to get them out of their camera rolls and store them securely. First off, maybe they don't want to share all their intimate moments with their colleagues and want to maintain a professional appearance. Second, it only takes about 12 seconds to quickly forward a photo on someone else's phone to yourself -- or anyone else with a cell number or email address. Third, what about those cute bathtub photos with the bubbles and bright bath toys and happy babies? Some of these photos have successful angles (and bubbles) that hide private parts, but not all. Probably fine, but not everyone is rational. And fourth: Who knows when you're going to be kidnapped and the kidnappers will then have photos of your family to threaten you with? I'm just saying. I've seen it in movies.
Meanwhile, what about joke photos that you received from the guys you play poker with? Some of them are pretty freakin' hilarious, right? But maybe they aren't something a teenager or wife needs to see. Your choice: Guard your phone 24x7 (mostly impossible), delete them immediately, or save them securely for your next poker party. Or whatever.
Now, what if you really are doing something nefarious? If you're into corporate espionage, I'd say you need a better plan than some app from the App Store. Maybe, though, you're taking photos of potential presents you want to buy for your family for the holidays. You need a way to hide some of this stuff. My Secret Folder works great for these sorts of things, particularly photos and videos.
But It Does So Much More
In addition to providing a lockable storage vault, My Secret Folder even has a feature that takes a snapshot of anyone who successfully enters the right code -- as well as those who enter the wrong passcodes. If you let the app use location services, it will also record the iPhone's location.
In the case of one customer referenced by the makers of My Secret Folder, someone stole his iPhone, then tried to break into this app. Unfortunately for the thief, there's another handy feature you can enable: email notifications. If someone tries to enter the app, My Secret Folder will fire off an email with a photo and the information surrounding the login attempt. Nice. (Apparently the guy was able to get his iPhone back using this information.)
Meanwhile, there are also stories about snooping wives ... caught in the act ... and snooping parents or teenagers. As for the spousal issues, all that sounds like a bunch of personal problems to me. As for the teenager issues, I'm not sure any teenager needs to have a right to privacy surrounding electronic devices. Sorry. There are too many freakish prosecutors who can bust 14-year-olds for child porn because a girlfriend sent a dumb picture. Or vice versa. Heck, turns out our congressmen can't even be trusted. The point being, if you're a parent, you need to be aware that apps like My Secret Folder exist. You can't protect everyone from themselves, but you can try to make sure they make good choices.
OK, getting off that soap box, here's another cool feature of My Secret Folder: It's even got a decoy mode, so if you think you've busted into the app, you might not have busted into all the layers. Devious, I know. (Parents, take note. Sorry teenagers, had to rat you out here on this one, too.)
Avoiding the iCloud
One of the features of iCloud that I'm still puzzling over is the automatic feature that moves your photos around. If I take a photo with my iPhone, it can be uploaded to the Apple iCloud in the sky (my account) and then shared with my family members and such. Again, not all photos need to shared. My Secret Folder lets you take photos and video from within the app, meaning that you won't have to worry about taking photos and then hurriedly moving them out of your Camera Roll or Camera app and off your iPhone.
Again, for most people, most of the time, all this subterfuge isn't necessary. Personally, I'd rather tell someone that they can't have my iPhone or hold it or look through my photos -- because I can't even remember what's on there. I'm fine with saying "No" and leaving a little bit of disappointment and mystery in the air.
How Does It Work?
My Secret Folder is pretty intuitive. The app boasts an icon design that looks a lot like the regular Apple iOS folders. Instead of being named something ominous like "My Secret Folder," the app icon is just named "My Folder." Innocuous enough, right. That should stop most prying eyes from diving right into it. The next layer of security is the passcode -- create a numbered PIN or use dots. Either way, a correct passcode will open up your Library, which consists of your content, which you can import from other apps on your iPhone or create from within the app. The Library elements are: Photos/Videos, Bookmarks, Notes and Contacts.
Bookmarks are for websites you want to hang onto (like, for Christmas presents you're still think about buying for your loved ones). You can browse the site from within the app, or launch it into Safari, which of course, gives you a potential trail from within Safari.
Notes are notes. If you need a secret note, you can take them in the app.
Contacts: If you've got a secret society of stone masons and you need to keep their contact information handy (and somewhat secure), you can do it.
All-in-all, it's a handy little app and seems to do what it says it does. The only potential problem that I can see right now is if you forget your password: There doesn't appear to be any sort of password recovery mechanism. I can understand how that would be problematic, of course. What good would having an email recovery system be if the app just emailed you a passcode to your email, which would likely be on your phone anyway. And if you had another email address that you didn't use on your phone, you'd have to remember to access that -- but not on your phone -- and you'd probably just forget that passcode, too. (The app is for the masses -- such a feature would have to somewhat bulletproof.)
In any event, with My Secret Folder, you can hide things to your heart's content. Just know that secrets with digital trails tend to come out eventually, with or without secret folders.