Now, PIN Protection Available for Confidential Android Files via Files by Google

The Files by Google app normally provides many benefits to Android users. For instance, it gives the users very good flexibility to manage files while at the same time freeing up a lot of space on their phones. Before this, this app was known as “Files Go,” which was introduced for the “Next Billion Users” in developing countries. Now, it looks like the app is getting a new feature. In this feature, one can set a 4-digit PIN for the folder within the app, also called “Safe Folder,” and lock the folder. Once the user opens any other app, this folder would get automatically locked. The files within this “Safe Folder” can be obtained only via the Files by Google app. 

Google states that this sort of feature would be useful for people who tend to share their Android devices, especially women. This could also be due to a “cultural expectation,” notes Google. Many people across the world have a habit of passing on their Android devices to others, mostly kids, who may share unwanted files with others or accidentally delete them. 

Google has conducted some research in this regard. Take the case of Shaina, a lady in Bangladesh, who hands over her phone to her kids after school, both for learning and playing. Shaina worries that some of her important files could accidentally get shared or deleted. Then there is Rashid’s case, a father in India, who fears storing his private data on the phone as his kids use his phone. Owing to the same, he cannot keep important documents on his phone, even if they are required for any job applications. 

“Safe Folders” like these ensure that these kinds of untoward incidents do not occur. It also offers a technique to save sensitive or private photos.

However, there seems to be a little danger here. According to Android Police, once the secure files are transferred to folders of the ‘Files by Google’ app, they disappear completely from other folders of the phone, such as the Gallery or any other file folders. Thus, one must be careful not to uninstall the app or delete the app data from their phones. In case any user fails to take these precautions, he/she would end up losing his/her private data permanently. The same problem is bound to happen if anyone forgets the PIN assigned to the folder. Then the folder cannot be opened. Thus, it is always better to keep a PIN that one can easily remember. 

Sometime last year, Microsoft had bought about a similar feature called “Personal Vault” to OneDrive. In this functionality, along with PIN protection, the user can also secure files within his/her Personal Vault via biometric security, which means the folder can also be protected via facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, and a two-factor authentication (2FA) code. According to XDA, one can secure documents within the cloud by making use of Microsoft’s implementation while, with Google’s latest feature, one can protect secure files within a device only. 

Google has announced that the Safe Folder feature would be arriving in the beta version of the Files by Google app today itself. According to Android Police, the feature is expected to roll out in version 1.0.323 of the app. Google proudly states that the app has recorded over 150 million active users every month all over the world. 

Image source: TheVerge

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