What you need to know
- The Files by Google app has gained a new feature called Safe Folder.
- Safe Folder lets users hide and protect their personal files with a 4-digit PIN.
- The popular file manager app now has over 150 million monthly users.
Back in June, an APK teardown of the Files by Google app revealed that it could soon offer a "Safe Folder" to allow users to hide and protect their files with a 4-digit PIN. The feature has started rolling out in beta today and will become more widely available in the coming weeks.
Pranay Bhatia, Product Manager, Next Billion Users, wrote in a blog post:
In many places around the world, sharing a personal device with spouses, siblings or children is often a cultural expectation, especially for women. Sharing a device can be beneficial, but it comes with the risk that others might access your personal files.
Building privacy features that make sense for different needs is a top priority for us as we continue to work towards a more inclusive internet. To keep personal content more safe, we're launching Safe Folder, a new feature in Files by Google.
The Safe Folder feature is compatible with devices running Android 8.0 and above. To get started, open the Files by Google app on your phone and tap on Browse at the bottom of the screen. Next, scroll to "Collections" and tap on Safe Folder. Enter your 4-digit PIN and tap on "Next" to confirm your PIN by re-entering it. To finish the setup process, tap "Got it" on the "Remember your PIN" screen.
The Safe Folder is locked as soon as you move to a different app, which ensures the contents of the folder cannot be accessed even when Files by Google is in the background. If you switch back to the Files by Google app, you will be asked to re-enter your PIN to access the Safe Folder.
Along with the new Safe Folder feature, Google has also announced that its Files by Google app now has over 150 million monthly users. The file manager app, which was originally called Files Go, launched in 2017 to help users in developing countries like India, Brazil, and Nigeria free up space and manage content on their devices.