Google is reportedly working on a ‘Private Space’ feature that will add support for hiding apps securely on Android smartphones. Expected to arrive in an upcoming version of the company’s mobile operating system, the feature is expected to allow users to hide apps and files from other users safely. Samsung has offered a similar feature — Secure Folder — for the past six years. Google adding native support with Private Space will allow other phone makers to offer the same functionality on their phones.

Development of the feature was previously spotted by Mishaal Rahman on the first beta for the upcoming Android 14 QPR2 release, and the second beta version contains even more details about the feature. In an Android Police report, Rahman states that the feature can be spotted in the latest beta version, under the Security & privacy option in the settings app.

Currently in development, the feature allows Android users to create a new Android user profile on the phone that can be locked with a user’s biometrics or using their password or PIN. Users who have tried Android’s ‘Work Profile’ feature might be familiar with this functionality.

Notably, Android will hide not only the presence of these apps but also the contents of their notifications once the profile is locked. This can come in handy if you want to hand your phone over to a family member, while preventing access to certain apps or other content.

According to Rahman, Google is also developing the ability to show these apps only when searching for the words “private space” in the search bar. This would prevent other users from knowing whether you have enabled the Private Space feature in the first place.

Samsung has offered support for the same functionality in the form of Secure Folder on its smartphones since 2017. This feature also creates a separate profile, allowing users to access a separate set of contacts, files, photos and apps in an isolated container that can be protected using a password, PIN or their biometrics.

The development of the Private Space feature, however, suggests that Google will eventually allow smartphone makers to offer support for Samsung’s Secure Folder functionality on their handsets. Rahman points out that the feature could make its way to Android 15, adding that he could not enable all Private Space features on the latest beta as it is still in development.

Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

Catch the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360, at our CES 2024 hub.