Files by Google launches privacy-driven ‘safe folder’


Today, Google launched a new Safe Folder feature in its Files app that now has over 150 million users worldwide and cleaned more than 1 trillion files since launching in December 2017. This feature will be initially available to more than 2 million users with the rollout gradually expanding to all of Files’ users over the next few weeks.

Safe Folder is a secure 4-digit PIN-encrypted folder that helps people easily store important documents, images, videos and audio files, keeping their personal files safe from being opened or accessed by others. The folder won’t allow users to take screenshots or screen recordings of its contents. It’s also locked as soon as users switch away from the app, so none of its contents can be accessed when the app is in the background, and will ask for their PIN again on reentry.

Files was initially created for people with low phone storage, many of whom live in countries like Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Brazil. The Safe Folder feature has been built as people in these countries also frequently share their device with friends and family members. “The practice of device sharing is universal in places where access to smartphones is more limited, often strengthened by cultural norms around sharing of resources,” said Joris van Mens, Product Manager at Google. “While privacy looks different for each person, this feature is one way we’re providing greater controls for people to manage their personal content, even when sharing devices.”

Files’ new “Safe Folder” feature enables users to store important files in a PIN-encrypted private folder and protect them from privacy intrusions


Files continues to help people free up space, manage content and share files. Since launch, the app has helped its users:

  • Delete over 1 trillion files, which would take over 30,000 years if users were to clean a duplicate, old meme or junk file manually every second.
  • Save 400+ petabytes of space on people’s phones — that’s around 1,400 years of nonstop HD video recording.
  • Free about 12GB of space every second, equivalent to 5,000 photos per second.

Files is available on the Google Play Store in 80 languages for all phones running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and higher, while the Safe Folder feature will be available for Android 8.0 (Oreo) and above. For more information, visit

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