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How to Rescue Your Photos From the My Secret Folder and Other Iphone Apps

Bill has been an information systems professional for more than 30 years. He enjoys writing about cooking, local history, and technology.

My Secret Folder's Crowdfunding Page

My Secret Folder's Crowdfunding Page

Hidden Photo App Stopped Working After an Update?

"My Secret Folder" app stopped working after the iOS update to version 11 a few years ago and will no longer let you retrieve your files via the app. This article will show you how to recover those files using other means.

Red Knight Interactive, the creators of the app, issued the following statement.

"This is a frustrating and heartbreaking end for the My Secret Folder application, as the company no longer has the time, money, and resources to develop an update for the application that will support Apple’s new 64-bit only iOS 11."

I created this article to show a workaround for "My Secret Folder" but it will work for other hidden photo apps as well. More recently, the "Calculator+" app stopped working after the iOS 14.6 update. Follow these instructions to recover images and videos from that and other apps.

How to Rescue Your Files for Free

Don't despair. There is a way to recover your files from hidden image apps for free. The methods shown below are for PC but will work on Mac with some modifications that are probably obvious to Mac users.

What you will need:

  1. A PC or Mac that has iTunes installed.
  2. Your iPhone or iPad that has the hidden photo app containing your files.
  3. iExplorer software for PC or Mac as appropriate (it's a free download)

Getting Started: Connect Your Device to the Computer

Going forward I will refer to iPhones but these instructions are the same for iPads.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer via the USB cable.
  2. Launch iTunes.
  3. Click on the device icon as circled in the screenshot below.
Click on the device icon

Click on the device icon

Make a Backup of Your iPhone

(See photo below)

Make sure "This Computer" is checked and "Encrypt iPhone backup" is NOT checked.

Click the "Back Up Now" button and wait for it to complete. It can take several minutes depending on the size of the backup and the speed of your computer.

Backup the device

Backup the device

Extract the Hidden Folder Files From the Backup

If you haven't already installed iExplorer on your computer, do so before proceeding. The link for the free download is above.

  1. Launch iExplorer on your computer.
  2. Click on "Continue in Demo Mode"
  3. Find the device name in the list on the left side.
  4. Expand the choices by clicking on the arrow to the left of the device name.
  5. Click on "Backup" to see if this is the most recent backup.
Find the most recent backup of your device

Find the most recent backup of your device

Find the My Secret Folder App

When you have found the most recent backup,

  1. Expand Backup
  2. Expand Backup Explorer.
  3. Click on "App"
  4. Scroll down to find "".
  5. Double-click "".


If you have the "Lite" version of My Secret Folder, look for "".

If you have an older version, try looking for "com.brightai.SecretFolder".

A reader (KylaWitch) reported that she was able to find her notes in "App/ support" and then a folder called "SecretApps.sqlite". She was able to view the content in Windows Notepad.

If you use the "Calculator+" app, you can find the content under xyz.hypertornado.calculator/Library/Data.

If you use Photo Vault try "com.galaxystudio.privatediskfree".

For other apps not listed you will probably have to check each folder in the backup to find what you're looking for. If you do, please leave a comment so that I can add it to the list.

Double-click "Library" to see the files.

Double-click "Library" to see the files.

Depending on the App, you may have to look in "Documents" or "Library/Data" or other sub-folders to find the content.

Click "Export" and choose to export everything or just the selected files.

Click "Export" and choose to export everything or just the selected files.

Choose a location to save the files.

Choose a location to save the files.

Your Files Have Been Rescued

I've noticed that video files are saved with their proper file extensions but on my PC, the photos are saved without an extension. Renaming them and adding ".png" did the trick for me. If that doesn't work, try ".jpg".

Some applications will open an image file even if it has the wrong extension, some won't. If you still can't view them and have a Windows-based PC, try downloading the freeware program Irfanview, which can work with many types of image files. It will open the file and rename it with the correct extension.

I've installed the "Lock Photos Secret Photo Vault" app by Mo Wellin from the App Store as a replacement for My Secret Folder. The free version works well but it plays a commercial each time you open it. After a few times, I decided to spring for the $2.99 for the upgrade which has no commercials. I chose this app because of the reviews but there are other similar apps available.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2017 Bill Yovino


Bill Yovino (author) on September 11, 2020:

Hi Mike, I suggest you examine every folder and sub-folder.

Mike on September 10, 2020:

I have iexplorer4 I am trying to search for a secret folder on here but I don’t see it under the names you gave it’s name is secret folder app by easy tiger I downloaded it from App Store onto iPad Pro 12.9 . Any ideas?

Bill Yovino (author) on September 04, 2020:

Hi Ravinder, I haven't encountered that before. iExplorer is safe. I would try doing another backup first. Google the text of the error message and see if you find anything,

Ravinder Singh on September 04, 2020:

hi bill

i did new back up unencrypted as u suggested but when i try to open it with iexplorer it says back up is damaged.and ask me to update back up through iexplorer

is it safe plz

Ravinder Singh on September 01, 2020:

thanks Bill

i will try and let you know

Bill Yovino (author) on September 01, 2020:

Now that you have your phone restored, perform an un-encrypted backup to your local computer, not to iCloud which is automatically encrypted.Hopefully that will enable you to follow the instructions above. If not, see if there are any earlier backups available.

Ravinder Singh on September 01, 2020:

Hi Bill

Actually when at first I tried to open calculator + after long time yesterday , I was just crashing as soon as I tap it to open . So I deleted it and reinstalled it in the hope that it could fix the problem . But problem was still there. So I formatted my phone and restored it from old back up on iCloud only in phone from 24th august . I got the software back with my 4 gb data but app is still not working . So all I want is to get my 4gb of data files out of this calculator + thing because developer is not responding either . I emailed him but he never responded . Bill Please guide me


Bill Yovino (author) on August 31, 2020:

Hi Ravinder, Are you working with a local copy of the un-encrypted backup? Unfortunately I don't have a device available that I can test with at this time.

Bill Yovino (author) on July 12, 2020:

@Dave. If you updated the app before doing the un-encrypted backup that could be your problem. If you have an older backup you might be able to restore an iPhone and then do another backup as un-encrypted. This is just speculation on my part. You'll need to find someone who is more familiar with iPhones.

Dave on July 11, 2020:

Yes sure, I backed up without encryption. I thing I found the folder itself but its totally empty. I guess backup is not saving those files.

Is it possible to downgrade the firmware without jail braking the phone? cause I thing it may help.

Also I have some old backup of my phone, can resorting the old backup help?

Bill Yovino (author) on July 11, 2020:

Hi Dave,

Just to confirm, was your backup done with Encryption disabled? I'm not familiar with that particular app but it should work the same way. The folders will be different than the ones I mentioned. I would make sure to check every folder in every directory and sub-directory.

Dave on July 11, 2020:

Hi Bill, i have the same issue. after upgrading to IOS 13.5.1 my secret vault - SL (by BP Mobile) is not letting me in. I have backed up my Iphone and as indicated folders in the article are not in my list I searched in all folders but still there is nothing. I even exported the whole backup and searched through the video files but could not find my documents. In the Setting/Storage I can see that documents are still there but could not find how to download them. any hint what can i do?

Bill Yovino (author) on June 02, 2020:

Hi Edgar. If the backup you did was un-encrypted you should be able to follow these instructions to access the files. If not, you can try backing up your new phone in iTunes as an unencrypted backup, but I don't know if that will work. The issue is that when iOS went from 32 bit to 64 bit those older apps stopped working.

Edgar Vazquez on June 02, 2020:

Bill I hope all is good at your end. I just upgraded from iphone 7plus to iphone 11 which also means and iOS upgrade to 13.4.1, when I copied one iPhone to the other My Secret Folder app stop letting me get access to my files. In fact I entered my app's password and does not do anything. I first backed up my old iphone thru itunes, Should I restore my new iphone with old iphone's back up in order to see if those files appear? Any help would be appreciated.

Bill Yovino (author) on April 22, 2020:

Hi Georgiana, that is beyond the scope of this article (and my knowledge). If your boyfriend hasn't gotten his hands on your iPhone, you probably don't need to worry. Apple has iPhone pretty much locked down. Here is a good article.

Nene on December 11, 2019:


Lorie on August 10, 2019:

Hello Bill! Thank you so much! You made my gloomy days!

Jo on July 11, 2019:

Hi Bill, I've downloaded iExplorer and done a back up of my Ipad. I can't access photos that are in the Photo Vault app, which is no longer supported by Apple. I went through your instructions, step by step, however the app doesn't show up. I've looked through so many folders and I'm unable to locate these items. Any other suggestions? Thank you!

Bill Yovino (author) on July 09, 2019:

@Broderick - I haven't done much with Calculator+. If you have a valid unencrypted backup on your computer, try examining other folders. It seems that the developers use multiple folder names

Broderick on July 09, 2019:

I followed all the instructions but i could not locate any file using either name xyz.hypertornado... as i was using the calculator+ app. Any other suggestions?

Adrianne on June 09, 2019:

I have the version lock photos secret too by Mo but how do you get videos to export?

Bill Yovino (author) on May 13, 2019:

@Neil. I'm glad it worked and thanks for the tip about unencrypting using i-Explorer. I wasn't aware of that. I'll have to give it a try.

Jack (me) on March 25, 2019:

Hi bill I’ve tried this and still can’t find the files is the for the photo vault app by Mo Wellin ?

Bill Yovino (author) on January 05, 2019:

@Singh V - I would try to drill down to every folder in the backup.

Singh V on January 05, 2019:

@Bill Yovino

Hi Bill, No, there is only a “Export “ button. And no other photo of thumbnails or any file names above it.

Does it mean,I am missing something? Can you please help me to recover the pictures. Thanks

Bill Yovino (author) on December 27, 2018:

@Singh V - When the "Export" button is displayed on the screen, can you see the photo thumbnails and filenames above it?

Bill Yovino (author) on December 27, 2018:

@Saeed. If you have the backup on your Mac you should be able to follow the steps above to extract the photos. Restoring the app to your phone won't help as the problem is with the app not working with recent iOS versions.

Saeed on December 27, 2018:

I am using secret file lite in my mac i did the back up and did the factory reset but after restore my back everything was fine but the photos inside the secret file lite app were not back i tried lot didn't get. Can you please help me how to get back.


Singh V on December 26, 2018:

Hi Bill, Thanks for reply! I have already find a folder under APP

"com.iwinni.mysecretphoto" having folder Documents, having file "SecretData.sqlite". this file is showing size of 68.6 mb. i have export this file to my PC, But not able to open it. Other folder Library having two folders Preferences and Cookies which having 3 files with PLIST as file type appears containing no data.

Actually, i had 5-6 separate folders in this app having Pictures.So i am not sure if those suppose to be see here under Documents folder OR Secretdata sqlite file is having everything in it OR I have lost everything in it as well. Is there any chance i can recover my data?

Also, i have tried with new backup of my phone having IOS 11.0.3 on PC and with two existing backups of iPhone as well saved on my Mac before upgrade to IOS 11.0.3. but no luck.

Please help! Thanks

Bill Yovino (author) on December 26, 2018:

Hi Singh V. I'm not sure but it is worth a try.

Singh V on December 25, 2018:

Will it work for a app named My secret photo(a puppy with a lock, as a app icon)?

Bill Yovino (author) on December 20, 2018:

@Jordan. The iCloud backup is likely encrypted and won't work. If you still have the app on your phone, then do an un-encrypted backup to your computer and try the above steps.

Jordan on December 20, 2018:

Can you rescue from an iCloud backup?

Bill Yovino (author) on December 15, 2018:

Hi John Michaels. Do you see the thumbnails within the iExplorer app? You can try exporting them and using Irfanview (free download) to open them. Irfanview will open media files even if the file type is incorrect.

John Micheals on December 14, 2018:

Hi Bill,

I have found the files however when I try to open them on Mac it reads “file may be damaged or use a file format that preview doesn’t recognize. I have tried opening with other apps and nothing seems to work, any advice?

Bill Yovino (author) on December 12, 2018:

Enelokir - The only way is to perform the steps listed above, starting with an un-encrypted iTunes backup to your computer.

Enelokir on December 12, 2018:

I’ve got the “secret vault lock photos photo” app and I know my pw for the first log in, then I have a another pw for a folder in my videos that I’ve forgotten, I’ve tried to retrieve the pw by tryin to keep dialling the wrong pw but nothing happens and have problem to get in touch with the app-support so could you please help me if possible ?

Slim on December 09, 2018:

@Bill. I have never backed up iPhone using iTunes with encryption on, it is always off. This encryption I believe is within the app itself, given one needs a passcode to open and access the files inside it.

Bill Yovino (author) on December 07, 2018:

@Slim. Are you sure that the backup was created with the Encryption box unchecked? If not, do another back-up from your phone with "This Computer" checked and "Encrypt iPhone Backup" unchecked. If that was done previously, then I would keep checking the other folders in the backup for the unencrypted files.

Slim on December 07, 2018:

I managed to export the folder with the photos, which was at it.ideasolutions.mediasafe with the export folder standing at 2gb. I can see many fines with extensions .jpg.encrypted... .mp4.encrypted but even renaming to end in .jpg or .mp4 did not allow to view the files in photoshop, paint or other imaging app. My app remains in waiting to download mode on my iPhone and can't be updated at I get a message that 'app is no longer in the App Store'.

So I am still stuck on what to do. You have helped a great deal (80%) and maybe may know what to do with the remaining 20%.

Bill Yovino (author) on November 16, 2018:

@KylaWitch. Check to see if you have any other (older) unencrypted backups on your computer. You can also try backing up the phone again.

KylaWitch on November 16, 2018:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for all your help. Sorry, I have read by through my comments and I think I haven't actually explained what happened very well, so here goes.

I backed up my iPhone before doing the latest update. I then did the update and my phone crashed in the middle of it, after talking to apple support and running through a few options, the only solution was to take it back to factory settings and then restore from the backup. I did this. I did not realise that the company that run my SecretApp was having issues affording upgrading to the apple updates so when I restored my phone and clicked on the app, it tells me that this app is no longer available in the app store and I cannot access it.

I then googled it and found the crowdfunding page, with links to your page. I have downloaded iexplorer but nothing in my previous back up seems to be my photos and notes from this app. None of the names mentioned in this thread are there and I have been through anything else that looked like it could be it and there is no information. iexplorer says that my back up does not have encryption.

A friend of mine has an iPhone on an earlier update so I could restore my backup to that and I thought that might work and make it so as my SecretApp would reopen. However, there also seems to be a lot of warnings that putting SecretApp on a new device would lock it forever.

I am absolutely lost without the photos and notes I have lost (including some photos of my Mum who passed away and various passcodes) so any advice about what I can do is gratefully appreciated. This is not my area of expertise I'm afraid.

Many thanks for reading and considering, it is much appreciated.

Bill Yovino (author) on November 13, 2018:

@Tony999 - You may have iCloud backups enabled.

KylaWitch on November 12, 2018:

Thanks Bill,

My back up did have encryption disabled - it shows that. I think I will have to try going through all the apps but there are lots of them and none of them seem to make any sense in terms of 'belonging' to the secret app.

tony999 on November 12, 2018:

Thank you for your solutions, Bill

But i cannot backup on itune because the back up now button 's grey out. How can i fix it?

Bill Yovino (author) on November 11, 2018:

Hi KylaWitch,

I would try backing it up to your computer again, making sure that you have encryption disabled. You can try clicking on the various app names and see if any of them contain the content you're looking for.

KylaWitch on November 11, 2018:

Hi Bill,

Hoping you can help - I have SecretApp on my iPhone and had no idea it wouldn't work with the new iPhone back up. I have downloaded iExplorer but cannot find it listed in the apps under either of the names you have mentioned, nor any other name that makes any sense.

Can you help?

Thanks in advance.

Bill Yovino (author) on November 07, 2018:

@papagore - If you have the un-encrypted backup on your computer, you don't need the app to retrieve the content.

papageore on November 06, 2018:

bill I have the data backup but the app is no longer on my phone can this still be done

Bill Yovino (author) on October 23, 2018:

@Fulbio - If you're talking about the iExplorer app, click on "Continue in Demo mode" like it says above. There is no cost to following these instructions.

Fulbio on October 23, 2018:

It’s very annoying that every single time I go into the app I get presented with the DONATE page. I’ve donated already $10 and keeps on coming up. Is there a way to make it STOP?

Bill Yovino (author) on October 21, 2018:

Hi Alex,

I'm glad it helped you. Thanks for the comment.

Alex on October 21, 2018:

OMG!!! Thank you so much for that!!

I thought I will never recover my information!!


Bill Yovino (author) on July 28, 2018:

Muhammad - Try looking in other folders for the videos. You may just be seeing the thumbnails.

Muhammad Adnan khan on July 27, 2018:

sir i did it i rescue my photos by the above given method thanks , but the problem is in videos file which are showing less than 1MB and didn,t open in my computer. plz help

Muhammad Adnan khan on July 27, 2018:

yes sir i did it , the method u have given above work good i rescue my photos but the videos file are not opening showing error and also videos size are showing less than 1Mb.. so what to do now,.thanks

Bill Yovino (author) on July 27, 2018:

Muhammad - If you have an iTunes backup of your iPhone (or iPad) on your computer you should be able to recover your files.

Muhammad Adnan khan on July 27, 2018:

sir i really need help , i update an app(vault lock) now it need payment to open i just want to transfer my data pleaseee help

Bill Yovino (author) on July 26, 2018:

Design88 - Which app is that?

Bill Yovino (author) on July 26, 2018:

Jian-zz. Did you do a backup to your computer in iTunes? on July 26, 2018:

My Device wont show up when I open iExplore :(

design88 on July 25, 2018:

i did everything and not encrypted. the folder is empty. i have the calculator+ app. the name is in iexplorer please help

Bill Yovino (author) on July 18, 2018:

Hi Brady. Are you sure the backup was not encrypted? Are you able to open the SecretFolder.sqlite folder?

Brady on July 18, 2018:

Thanks Bill, I had ‘MyFolder’ by Red Knights. I followed the instructions but when I expand the ‘Library’ folder I get a file ‘SecretFolder.sqlite’ of 61kB size.

I have a ‘Documents’ folder which appears to be empty and a ‘Preferences’ folder with a small file in? Is there still a chance I can recover?

Garrett on June 21, 2018:

Mac. And yes it’s a normal laptop. Never had any issues viewing any files before. It’s obviously something to do with my secret folder. Damn app. Luckily it’s just nudes, so I’ll survive without them. Probably for the best anyway.

Bill Yovino (author) on June 21, 2018:

@Garrett - Mac or PC? Are you able to view .png files on your computer?

Garrett on June 21, 2018:

Right. So I did everything correctly. It was fairly easy. And so were your instructions. As I mentioned, everything other folder works. I found the correct my secret folder folder and it shows all of my images and photos... they just aren’t visible. They show blank pages that say cached images as if they didn’t load properly. And again, there is no export button so I can’t even download them to see if they’ll show up properly or not.

Bill Yovino (author) on June 20, 2018:

No, it should create another backup. You can check the date in iExplorer.

Garrett on June 19, 2018:

Initially it was set to encrypt, but I backed it up again afterwards without encryption. That should overwrite the initial backup right?

Bill Yovino (author) on June 19, 2018:

@Garrett- I haven't come across this issue before. Are you sure that the backup was done with Encryption disabled?

Garrett on June 19, 2018:

No, never deleted. As I mentioned all my files are listed, but they just show blank pages not actual images. So obviously I’m in the right folder and they’re there, just not visible. Also how would I export them anyway? I see no option.

Bill Yovino (author) on June 19, 2018:

@Garrett - Depending on which version of the app you have, the app's filename in the backup can be different. I would try looking at the others. You did the un-encrypted backup to your computer in iTunes, right? I hope you didn't delete and re-install the app before backing it up - that would be unrecoverable.

Garrett on June 18, 2018:

Everything works except for the my secret folder section.

Bill Yovino (author) on June 18, 2018:

@Garrett - Have you tried the other folders? (Library, Documents)

Garrett on June 18, 2018:

Not in the app folder itself. All “blank page” icons all titled as cached images.

Bill Yovino (author) on June 18, 2018:

@Garrett - Do you see any thumbnails in the iExplorer? (Like above)

Garrett on June 17, 2018:

Hi Bill,

I tried your method and it did work... kinda. All of my files show, but they all display blank pages. They say cached photos/videos, but don't actually show photos or videos. I tried the app update as well, but it still shows the stupid "developer needs to update this app to work with ios11" message. Any other tips? I also noticed that there was no export option for me either.

migsgreen on June 08, 2018:

Thanks bill

Bill Yovino (author) on June 06, 2018:

@migsgreen - The instructions are shown above under "Make a backup of your iPhone".

Bill Yovino (author) on June 06, 2018:

@Shadd - Don't restore your phone. Use the procedures show above to extract the files from the backup.

Shadd on June 06, 2018:

I have the backup from maybe 3 months ago. Will that revert my phone to the state it was at the time of the backup?

migsgreen on June 06, 2018:

Thank you Bill.

Embarassing I know, but I am so not tech savy.

How do I do an un-encrypted back up of my iPhone?

Thanks again

Bill Yovino (author) on June 05, 2018:


I think that is a known bug of the new app. If you still have your unencrypted backup on your computer you're okay. Check with the app developer's website:

Do you still have the unencrypted backup?

Shadd on June 05, 2018:

I was able to recover everything and everything was fine for a few months. I just got a new phone today and now when I go to the app it doesn’t recognize my password. Help!!

Bill Yovino (author) on June 02, 2018:

@migsgreen - I think it depends on which version of the MySecretFolder app you have. Readers have told me that they were successful with notes but I've not been able to do it. Have you tried upgrading the app? They have a new version that should recover your files. Make sure to do an un-encrypted backup of your iPhone to your computer before trying to update the app.

Bill Yovino (author) on June 02, 2018:

@Abdul salam - You will need to find an un-encrypted backup of your phone in order to rescue the files.

migsgreen on June 02, 2018:

hello, can you extract "notes" from mysecretfolder also?

Abdul salam on June 02, 2018:

unfortunately I have lost the rv app as I format my I phone. Can i have back the app with all the data..

Bill Yovino (author) on May 24, 2018:

@magnet43 - Are you sure you're expanding the correct application?

Contact me through the author contact link above. I'll try to help. Provide as much information/screenshots as you can.

Bill Yovino (author) on May 24, 2018:

@Jerome - If you haven't deleted the old app on your iPhone, you can perform a backup to your computer and then follow the instructions above. If you mean that this is a new phone and your files are on the iPad, backup the iPad to your computer, rescue the files as shown above and then copy them to the iPhone,

magnet43 on May 24, 2018:

Hi Bill,

Ive followed all the instructions you provided (on mac) till i get to the section where you mention library. when i click on library, it expands again and shows preferences and cookies which are expandable too. I looked through to no avail and it truthfuly id frustrating when i know i am close. could you elaborate on what to do to access the files using the programe you provided. Many thanks in advance.

Jerome on May 23, 2018:

Hey there,

What can I do if my phone is iOS 11 and my back up isn’t on the device it is on iCloud backup?

I have an iPad with the older software but it won’t let me restore the iPhone back up to the iPad.

Any ideas?

Bill Yovino (author) on May 02, 2018:

I'm glad it helped, Roberto. Thanks for the feedback!

Roberto Oviedo on May 02, 2018:

Very helpful!!

I tried it with othert apps and worked as well.


Bill Yovino (author) on April 15, 2018:

@Hajar - Wenn Sie ein iTunes-Backup auf Ihrem Computer haben, können Sie die Dateien retten.

Bill Yovino (author) on April 15, 2018:

@JJ People have told me that they were able to rescue notes but I wasn't able to get it to work. Red Knight has come out with an update for the app. You may want to try that.

JJ on April 12, 2018:

Hi Bill,

Do you know if this works to recover the "notes" files? I can't seem to find the files as I had important notes written down. The pictures worked fine though.

Bill Yovino (author) on March 18, 2018:

@Nick Ryan. Glad it worked, thanks for the update!

Nick Ryan on March 16, 2018:

Worked a treat.

Thanks Bill

Bill Yovino (author) on March 10, 2018:

Nick - Yes, it will work with My Disk App. It will show up in the backup as com.galaxystudio.privatediskfree