The Apple Photos app has a built-in “Hide” feature, but it doesn’t prevent people who have access to your phone from snooping. If you want to make sure your private photos and videos remain truly private, we have better advice.
How to hide photos and videos in the Photos app
When you take a photo on your iPhone or iPad, it ends up in your photo library next to your other photos. If you take your phone out often to show photos of your cute cat, you may not want others to see photos or videos while you are browsing.
To prevent photos and videos from appearing in your normal library, you can use the “Hide” option in the iOS Photos app. This hides the photo or video from the main view of the library under the “Photos” tab. It will not appear when you navigate, nor will you receive recommendations “for you” based on it.
Follow these steps to hide a photo or video:
Find the photo or video you want to hide.
Tap “Share” in the lower left corner.
Scroll down and press “Hide”.
The photo is now hidden. Everything you hide appears in an album called “Hidden” under the “Albums” tab of the Photos application. Scroll to the bottom of the list and you will see it under “Other Albums”.
The problem of hiding things in the Photos app
When you use the method described above to hide a photo or video, it offers very little protection. You cannot “lock” the hidden album, or even hide a photo behind a Face or Touch ID, or an access code.
The biggest problem is that all of your hidden media is accessible in one place. Anyone who has access to your unlocked phone can open your hidden folder with a few clicks.
All that the “Hide” function does is organize your main library. It allows you to keep certain photos without deleting them entirely. Although many iPhone and iPad owners adopt this trick, you may want to avoid it if you really want to hide your private media.
If someone else can access your unlocked phone and you are concerned about privacy, do not use the “Hide” feature. This is ideal if you want to store your library, but you don’t want to make it an easy-to-find repository of your most embarrassing media.
Apple could improve this if the “Hidden” album was locked behind a password or password, as well as the option to require Face or Touch ID to access it.
We hope that something similar will be introduced in iOS 14, or a future version of Apple’s operating system.
How to hide photos in the Notes app
Apple includes a Notes app, and one of its most notable features is the ability to lock individual notes. This means that you can add media to a note and then add a password. You can also require Face or Touch ID to unlock password-protected notes. Also, after you’ve locked a photo or video in a note, you can delete it from the main photo library.
First, you need to send the photo or video to Notes; Follow these steps:
Find the image or video you want to hide with Notes. (You can select multiple files.)
Tap the Share icon in the lower left corner.
Scroll through the list of applications and tap “Notes”. (If you don’t see it, press “More”, then select “Notes” from the list of applications that appears.)
Select the note in which you want to save the attachments (by default, this will be a “New note”), then type a text description in the field below.
Press “Save” to export your multimedia content to Notes.
Now follow these steps to lock the note you just created:
Launch the Notes app and find the note you just created (it should be at the top of the list).
Swipe left on the note title to reveal the Padlock icon.
Tap the padlock icon to lock the note. If you have not locked a note before, you will be prompted to create a password and activate Face or Touch ID. You will use this password for all locked notes, so make sure it is something you will remember or store it in a password manager.
From now on, to lock or unlock the note, tap it, and then allow access with your password, facial recognition, or fingerprints.
There are also limitations to this method. For example, you cannot share attachments from Photos to an existing note that is locked, even if you manually unlock it first. This makes it difficult to use a single note for all of your hidden content.
However, you can create a folder (for example, “Private” or “Hidden”) in the Notes application and insert all private notes in it. While not ideal, this method offers more security than Apple’s unsecured “hidden” album.
If you use this method, don’t forget to go back to your photo library and delete all the photos you have hidden in Notes!
Use Secure Notes in your password manager
Some applications, such as password managers, are designed for security. They facilitate the use of unique credentials on the web by remembering a single master password. Most password keepers also store more than passwords.
This includes, but is not limited to, banking information, scanned copies of important documents, birth certificates and even photos or videos. This method is similar to storing your private media in Notes, except that you are using a third-party application or service instead.
Any password manager that lets you add attachments to notes should do the trick. However, your mileage may vary depending on the video content due to the amount of space required. For the password manager to use, see Last pass, 1Password, Dashlane, or Bitwarden.
Keep in mind that many password managers sync via the web, which means your hidden content will be downloaded from the Internet. Of course, it will be protected by your master password, which is more secure than syncing with iCloud Photos or any other online photo service.
Hide photos and videos in a File Locker app
You can also use a dedicated file locker to hide the images or videos that you prefer to keep private. These applications are designed specifically for privacy. They offer simple password or password locking and an area in which you can store files. You open the app, unlock it with your password or password, then you can access all the media you have stored there – it’s simple!
File lock, Private photo bank, Keepsafe, and Secret Apps Photo Lock are just a few of the many file locker apps available in the App Store. Choose the one you trust. Make sure it has decent reviews and doesn’t lock too many features behind in-app purchases.
Again, remember that if you use this method, you should always delete the media you want to hide from the main library of the Photos app after storing it in a file locker.
Remember to delete these photos from your phone
Rather than keeping private photos and videos locked on your device, you may want to consider storing them elsewhere. They might be safer on your personal computer than on your phone. That way they won’t be easy to find if you leave your phone unattended.
The easiest way to do this is to simply move them from your device. If you have a Mac, you can do it wirelessly via AirDrop. Find the photos you want to move, press Share, then select “AirDrop” followed by your Mac to start the transfer.
You can also connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac or Windows computer. Select “Trust” to approve the device, then import your images in the same way as you would from a digital camera.
macOS Photos automatically prepares to import media when you connect an iPhone. If you have a Windows 10 computer, use an equivalent photo app to do the same. Older versions of Windows charge your iPhone like an old removable drive, making it easy to import your photos.
If you don’t want to have to import manually, you can use a service like Google Photos or Dropbox instead. Remember that there is an inherent risk every time you upload images. Additionally, you need to determine if you trust a company like Google with your most private data.
And again, don’t forget to delete your source photos or videos after moving them.
Keep your phone safe
It is important to make sure that other people cannot easily unlock your phone, especially if you store private photos in the standard “Hidden” folder in the Photos app. You can add a password to protect it. Just go to Settings> Face ID and password (or Settings> Touch ID and password, on older devices and the iPad).
Also, avoid leaving your phone unattended, and if you do, make sure it’s locked behind a password that only you know.
Here are other ways to maintain a higher level of security for your iPhone: regularly review its security and privacy settings and after a few basic iOS security rules.