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A non-technical friend has asked me to solve a problem for him. He has bought an Android phone (Galaxy S5) for his daughter, but he's very nervous about giving her such unfettered access to the Internet. So before he hands it over to her, he wants to install MobileSpy, so he can monitor her internet usage. At the same time, he does not want her to know that this app is installed on her phone. But MobileSpy is not a hidden app; if she would open the "Applications" menu, it would be sitting there, staring her in the face. And that would be awkward. So he wants to rename the app to something really boring and non-eye-catching. Not just in the "launcher" home page, but also in the "Applications" menu.

Easier said than done.

I have Googled around and most solutions I found required rooting the phone; he understandably does not want his daughter's new phone rooted. I found one site that claims to have a non-root solution, but the 3rd party apps that it relies on are extremely buggy, and one of them was identified by Chrome as malware when I tried to download it.

Most of the answers I found online are pretty old, so I'm hoping someone will have developed something a little more reliable for renaming apps.

I am not any kind of Android expert, so please don't assume any basic knowledge when you answer.

DISCLAIMER: I personally do not think this is a good approach to managing one's children's Internet usage, and I have said so to my friend. He is nonetheless pretty resolute about this, so here I am asking on his behalf. That said, let's keep the answers to the technical rather than interpersonal advice.

Thanks!

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Some Launchers like Nova Launcher supports HIDE APPS and RENAME APPS

To Hide Apps in Nova Launcher:

  • Go To 'Nova Settings.'

  • Than Go to 'Apps And Widget drawer'.

  • Click on 'Hide apps' and Check the apps you want to hide.

Rename Apps in Nova: * To rename app you have to long press the app you want to rename and than edit app option.

  • But if you open the native Android "Applications" menu, that will still reveal all your installed apps. – Shaul Behr Jun 21 '15 at 19:52
  • But here chances are less..What if she will click on renamed app (accidentally)? she will know that it is an spy app. – Ash-Ishh.. Jun 22 '15 at 6:06
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This guide shows in a very lucid way the steps required to rename apps. Note that it requires .NET framework so make sure you have latest version.

I also found an app called ApkRenamer which claims to rename the APK.

An APK is equivalent of EXE in windows. You need to get the apk of Mobile Spy (which I presume the company gave you when you have purchased the app).

In case you don't have:

  • Download and open X-plore from Play store.
  • There will be a section called App manager. Click it → swipe right.
  • Choose a folder where you want to save your APK (anywhere on SD card)
  • Swipe left → browse to Mobile Spy → long press it
  • Choose Copy → click OK

Now you have the APK file of your app Mobile Spy. After you have renamed the APK by any way, click it to install it and choose OK when prompted to replace app.

In case you get an error of conflicting signs -- you need to uninstall your current Mobile Spy app and install the edited one.

  • Thanks! I had already found the same guide you mentioned (see my question) but the APK renaming apps he recommended there were out of date or buggy. I did not find that ApkRenamer app in my searches though, so hopefully that will do the trick! – Shaul Behr Jun 21 '15 at 15:31
  • For the record, I totally agree about the unfettered internet usage. I wouldn't even consider getting smartphones for my kids (which luckily is culturally consistent with the rest of our community here) - my argument with my friend is about concealing the monitoring software from his daughter, which could be catastrophic if it is discovered. If I were to do that to my kids, I would be open about the fact that I'm monitoring their usage. – Shaul Behr Jun 21 '15 at 15:34
  • No dice. ApkRenamer resets the app name; it doesn't allow you to choose the new name. :-( – Shaul Behr Jun 21 '15 at 19:51
  • Can you please elaborate what you mean by "resets"? Something like - "I opened and renamed the app. However, after saving (or exiting) and rebooting, the app still shows the real name." or "After reboot, the name resets to previous real name" I will presume the second one for now. – Abhioxic Jun 22 '15 at 15:46
  • Wait a sec, you havent told that your phone isnt rooted? In any case, do you have any rooted device (with xposed installed) in your convenience? Also note you can actually very easily rename apk. Its in Android Manifest.xml under android:label . But its not quite newbie friendly. – Abhioxic Jun 22 '15 at 16:06

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