Learn How To Make Your Photos Private in Android Phone

The front door of a modern smartphone is protected by a passcode or biometrics such as a fingerprint, but that’s all by default. If your phone is stolen and the lock isn’t on, the thief will have free reign over everything on it, from your contacts and emails to your images.

Photos present a unique challenge in this regard because they are among the most shared items from our mobile devices. We’ve all been in situations where we want to share a hilarious cat meme with a friend or coworker, but we’re also hoping that they won’t swipe right and see the photo of the hairy mole we sent to our doctor that morning.

While avoiding allowing other people touch your phone is one approach, the good news is there’s an even better way to ensure that your extremely personal images stay secret. Fortunately, Google and Samsung are aware of this, and both include a feature that allows you to hide photos even farther in their respective photo programs.

Tips for keeping private pictures on your Android device

Google Photos is preinstalled on the vast majority of new Android phones, and for those who don’t, it’s a breeze to get it from the Play Store. Because it makes use of the Google cloud storage you probably already pay for to manage your Gmail messages and Google Drive files, it’s one of the best photo apps for your Android phone.

To ensure that your most private photographs remain hidden and accessible only from your device, Google introduced the Locked Folder function two years ago for Google photographs. More recently it’s expanded that to sync this encrypted folder securely to Google Photos on the web, and even over to Google Photos on Apple devices. As of this writing, this feature was not yet available on all accounts. Photos in your Locked Folder will be removed from Google Photos in the cloud and saved solely on your device until the feature becomes available; they will be deleted if you uninstall Google Photos, and they will not be transferred to your next device automatically.

Before we go any further, it’s important to note that your Locked Folder uses the same authentication method as your primary device lock screen, so it won’t help you hide photos from anyone who can unlock your device. For example, the same passcode or fingerprints that unlock your phone will also unlock the Locked Folder.

To begin, check the Play Store for the Google Photos app if you haven’t previously done so.

Secondly, launch the Google Photos app.

Third, choose “Library” from the menu on the right side of the screen.

In the fourth step, pick Utilities from the menu.

Option 5: Pick If a banner pops up, select “Set up Locked Folder” to get started. If not, go farther down and click Locked Folder.

Select the Configure button (6th step).

Seventh, use the provided instructions to verify your identity using a fingerprint or PIN.

Here’s Step 8: If you haven’t added any content to your Locked Folder yet, you’ll get a screen that reads “Nothing here yet.” Select photos from your main library, then click the Move option to send them to the private folder.

Step 9: You can view the pictures that are currently stored in your Protected Folder. To add more pictures to your Protected Folder, click the plus icon in the top right corner. Pictures can also be transferred to the Protected Folder by right-clicking on them in the main gallery and selecting Move to Locked Folder from the context menu.

Select your profile pictures in the upper-right area of the Google Photos app, then go to Settings > Backup > Back up Locked Folder to back up the photos in your Locked Folder safely. Keep in mind that this update was only released on August 29, 2023, and that not everyone may have access to it just yet.

Open the Google photographs app, navigate to Library > Utilities > Locked Folder, and authenticate with your fingerprint or passcode to gain access to the photographs in your Locked Folder in the future.

Keep in mind that Android prevents you from taking screenshots in the Locked Folder to safeguard your privacy and security. If you try to capture a screenshot when the Locked Folder is visible, all you’ll get is a black screen. Such conduct is to be anticipated.

Displays on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy A54.
Right: Galaxy S23 Ultra, left: Galaxy A54 Digital Trends, Andy Boxall

Where can I put pictures on my Samsung phone?

Many Samsung users prefer the Gallery app, which is understandable for those carrying a Galaxy S23 Ultra or Galaxy Z Flip 5 with their specialized cameras, even though Google Photos can be installed on a Samsung smartphone in the same way it can be installed on any other Android device.

Fans of Samsung devices are in luck, since the Samsung Gallery app offers a Secure Folder option for hiding private photos.

If you haven’t previously, turn on Secure Folder as the first step. You’ll find this option in the “Secure folder” submenu of the “Settings” menu. To safeguard your private documents, you’ll need to log in with your Samsung account and select your preferred locking method.

The second step is to open the Samsung Gallery app.

How to enable photo hiding using Secure Folder on a Samsung device.
Third, choose Pictures from the bottom menu bar to view all of your images, or Albums to view only the albums from which you can make selections. Transferring an entire album to your private folder is another option.

Fourth, while viewing the photo or photos you wish to conceal, click the three dots in the top right corner, and then click Edit. Pressing and holding the first photo, movie, or album you wish to conceal will bring up the editing screen.

How to enable photo hiding using Secure Folder on a Samsung device.
The fifth step is to choose the media files you want to transfer to your Secure Folder. From the Albums tab, you can also choose to select a complete album.

Sixth, click the “More” link that appears at the end.

How to enable photo hiding using Secure Folder on a Samsung device.

Select Move to Secure Folder, then provide a PIN or fingerprint to verify your identity.

Keep in mind that the Secure Folder is a distinct, encrypted storage space, and as such, the transfer of your items there may take some time. If you swipe down from the top of the screen, you can see your notifications and see how far along it is.

After step 8, the transferred items shouldn’t appear in the primary Samsung Gallery app anymore. To access them, launch the Samsung Gallery app from within the Secure Folder app.

Keep in mind that your Secure Folder content is not replicated or backed up on the cloud. Until early 2021, Samsung users could save copies of their Secure Folder data in the Samsung Cloud. If you’re using One UI 5 or later and want to transfer your Secure Folder to a new Samsung phone, you can use Smart Switch. However, before adding photos to your Secure Folder, we recommend making a separate backup of them elsewhere, just in case.

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