Apple recently removed an app from the App Store that allowed users to hide sensitive photos and videos behind what was otherwise a fully functioning calculator app, according to a report from Business Insider. The app was called Calculator%, and as you might expect, proved to be incredibly popular among teenagers intent on hiding certain content from the prying eyes of parents, teachers, and even friends.
While the App Store has a number of apps that essentially offer the same type of functionality, Calculator% began making waves and attracting attention this month after word spread that the app was part of an investigation spearheaded by the Durham Police.
While specifics regarding the investigation remain unclear, a spokesperson told BI:
The Calculator app is essentially a secret photo album that children can use to hide photos or videos from their parents. The photos are hidden from view behind an icon that looks like a calculator. We would urge parents to be vigilant and discourage their children from using such an app.
What makes the removal of the app all the more curious is that it’s not exactly new to the App Store. Far from it, it’s been around for quite a few years and even prompted an Alabama district attorney back in 2015 to post a Facebook video warning parents about the app. Moreover, Calculator%’s true purpose was never a secret as the developer touted its functionality in the app description itself.
For what it’s worth, there are any number of apps that keep sensitive photos hidden behind a passcode, but it seems that Calculator% stands out on account that it’s core functionality is not readily apparent when casually looking at the app icon itself.