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How to hide private photos and videos on iPhone or iPad

How to hide private photos and videos on iPhone or iPad

Hide photos and videos in the Photos application

When you take a photo on your iPhone or iPad, it arrives in the photo library along with the other photos. If you take out your phone many times to display photos of your cute cat, there may be photos or videos that you don’t want others to see while browsing.

To prevent photos and videos from appearing in your regular library, you can use the «Hide» option in the iOS Photos app. This hides the photo or video in the main library view on the «Photos» tab. It will not be displayed while browsing and you will not receive «For you» recommendations based on it.

Follow these steps to hide a photo or video:

  1. Find the photo or video you want to hide.
  2. Tap «Share» in the lower left corner.
  3. Scroll down and tap «Hide».

The photo is now hidden from view. Everything you hide appears in an album called «Hidden» in the «Albums» tab of the Photos app. Scroll to the bottom of the list and you’ll see it under «Other albums.»

The "Other albums" menu in the Photos app.

The problem of hiding things in the Photos application

When using the method described above to hide a photo or video, provide very little protection. You can’t «lock» your hidden album, or even hide a photo behind a Face or Touch ID or password.

The biggest problem is that all hidden media can be accessed in one location. Anyone with access to your unlocked phone can open your hidden folder with just a few taps.

The only thing the «Hide» function does is tidy up your main library. Allows you to keep a few photos without deleting them completely. 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 has access to your unlocked phone and you are concerned about privacy, please do not use the «Hide» feature. It is ideal if you want to tidy up your library, but do not want to turn it into an easy-to-find warehouse for the most embarrassing environments.

Apple could improve this if the «Hidden» album is locked behind a password or password, along with the option to request Face or Touch ID to access it.

Hopefully something similar will be introduced in iOS 14 or in a future version of Apple’s operating system.

How to hide photos in the notes application

Apple includes a Notes app and one of its great features is the ability to lock individual notes. This means you can add media files to a note and then add a password. You can also request Face or Touch ID to unlock password-protected notes. You can also delete a photo or video in a note after deleting it from the main photo library.

First, you need to send the photo or video to Notes; follow these steps:

  1. Find the image or video you want to hide with Notes. (You can select multiple files).
  2. Touch the Share icon in the lower left corner.
  3. Scroll through the list of applications and tap «Notes.» (If you don’t see it, tap «More» and then select «Notes» from the list of apps that appears).
  4. Select the note where you want to save the attachments (by default, it will be a «New note»), then enter a text description in the field below.
  5. Touch «Save» to export your media content to Notes.

The "Save to:" option in Notes.

Now, follow these steps to lock the note you just created:

  1. Launch the Notes app and find the note you just created (it should be at the top of the list).
  2. Swipe left on the note title to display the lock icon.
  3. Touch the lock icon to lock the note. If you haven’t locked a note before, you’ll be asked 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 save it to a password manager.

From now on, to lock or unlock the note, tap it, and then allow password, face recognition, or fingerprint access.

The "This note is locked" screen in the Notes application.

This method also has limitations. For example, you can’t share attachments in Photos to an existing note that is locked, even if you manually unlock it in advance. This makes it difficult to use a single note for all hidden content.

However, you can create a folder (for example, «Private» or «Hidden») in the Notes application and put private notes there. Although not ideal, this method offers more security than Apple’s unprotected «Hidden» album.

A "new folder" is created in the Notes application.

However, if you use this method, be sure to return to the photo library and delete the photos that you have hidden in Notes.

Use Secure Notes in the password manager

Some applications, such as password managers, are designed with security in mind. They make it easy to use unique credentials on the web by remembering a single master password. Most password managers 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 it uses a third-party application or service instead.

Any password manager that allows you to add attachments to notes should do the job. However, your mileage may vary depending on the video content, due to the space required. When it comes to the password manager to use, check LastPass, 1 Word, Dashlane or Bitwarden.

Keep in mind that many password managers sync across the web, which means that their hidden content will be uploaded to the Internet. Of course, it will be password protected, which is more secure than syncing with iCloud Photos or any other online photo service.

Hide photos and videos in a File Locker application

You can also use a dedicated file cabinet to hide images or videos that you prefer to keep private. These applications are specially designed for confidentiality. They provide a simple password or password lock and an area where you can store files. Open the app, unlock it with your password or password, then you can access any media you have stored there – simple!

Folder lock, Private photo safe, Keep it safe Yes Secret Photo Lock applications are just a few of the many file storage apps available in the App Store. Choose one you trust. Make sure it has decent reviews and doesn’t block too many features behind in-app purchases.

Remember again that if you use this method, you still need to delete the media files that you want to hide from the main photo library library after storing it in a file cabinet.

Consider deleting those photos from your phone

Instead of keeping private photos and videos locked on your device, we recommend saving them elsewhere. Maybe it would be safer on your home computer than on your phone. This way, they can’t be easily found 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 through AirDrop. Find the photos you want to move, tap Share, then select «AirDrop» followed by 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, and then import the images in the same way as with 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 application to do the same. Older versions of Windows charge your iPhone like a simple old removable drive, making it easy to import photos.

Select your phone under "Devices" in the Photos app on macOS.

If you don’t want to import manually, you can use a service like Google Photos or Dropbox. Keep in mind that there is an inherent risk every time you post images online. You should also think about whether you trust a corporation like Google with the most private data.

And again, don’t forget to delete the source photos or videos after you move them.

Keep your phone safe

It’s important to make sure that other people can’t easily unlock your phone, especially if you store private photos in the standard «Hidden» folder in the Photos application. You can add a password to protect it; go to Settings> Face ID and password (or Settings> Touch ID and password, on older devices and iPads).

Also, avoid leaving your phone unattended, and if you do, make sure it’s locked with a password only known to you.

Other ways you can maintain a higher level of security for your iPhone include review security and privacy settings regularly and a few follow basic security rules for iOS.