How to Spot the Decoy App
Secret messaging apps are a scourge that is plaguing the keeper’s of mischievous children and dishonest adults alike. However, because secret messaging apps are so widely known, they have lost some of their allure to those that want to keep things a secret.
These days if a parent or a spouse spots an app like Kik, Yik Yak, or Omegle, they can easily guess that there are not too many innocent conversations going on in there. For the most popular secret messaging apps, it is as simple as Googling how to find the hidden messages in it to crack the code.
Of course, keeping secrets is a market that is constantly evolving, and the next evolution was decoy apps. These are separate apps that allow you to hide secret messaging apps, or anything else you don’t want seen, under a different icon or makes it invisible altogether unless certain criteria are met.
Decoy apps come in two varieties: invisible and disguise. Invisible decoy apps are just what they seem. They take an app icon and make it completely invisible, not just on the desktop of a mobile phone, but inside the app list as well. Some programs will reveal the app when you hold down a certain portion of the screen while others will have an app you can open that ends up on a black screen. There you will have to hold down a certain area and the app will present itself.
Alternatively, disguise apps are much simpler and infinitely easier to see through. This takes the icon of an app and replaces it with something else. Two popular options are baseball or shopper, which are used to cover up the suspicious app.
Look Out For The Generic
You know how there are a lot of oddly named apps out there in the mobile world? There is a reason for that. People overlook generic things. If it has a generic name like “Baseball” and a bland icon, people won’t be downloading it. However, that is the perfect disguise for a decoy app. If you see something generic like “Baseball,” “Shopper,” “Restaurants,” or “Calculator,” go ahead and try opening it.
Suspect Expired Subscriptions
One common trick to further disguise a decoy app is to make it seem like an app that the user downloaded awhile ago and utterly forgot about. The easiest way to do that is to show a screen that simply says the subscription has expired. If you are a parent and pay for your child’s cell phone bill, you would probably remember paying a subscription at some point, making this screen particularly fishy. Furthermore, very few apps actually have a subscription fee. It isn’t a great business model so all subscription expired pages should be suspect.
Investigate Black Screens and System Errors
Another common way for a decoy app to hide things from prying eyes is to open to an error screen or more baffling, a black screen. Either will quickly make any prying eyes move on thinking the app crashed or hoping to quickly close it in case it causes some other problems with the phone. However, in both cases all you need to do is to tap around the screen. Yes, it sounds silly, but these types of security screens require the user to tap or hold their finger on a specific area in order for the real app to be revealed. Try tapping in the bottom or top centers or in the corners until you are satisfied that the app really does have an error or believe that it just crashed to a black screen.