Your iPhone has a powerful feature that can keep your secrets hidden from other people, and you’ll never have to worry about sharing or showing something embarrassing or incriminating again.
No matter who you are, you probably use your iPhone’s Photos app a lot, because whatever you take a photo or video of with the stock Camera app — and many other camera apps — ends up there. And the chances of you having an image or video that you don’t want anyone to ever see are high.
It could be evidence to implicate you in cheating or lying, photos of your stool to show your doctor, raw or sexualized selfies, screenshots of credentials or tax documents, spy photos, stored nude sexts, or practically anything else.
Because it’s easy to accidentally add one of your photos or videos just for you when you’re sharing an album with iCloud friends, texting a group of pictures, playing an AirPlay slideshow, or viewing your Photos widget on the home screen or lock screen, Apple has included a tool to protect you from ever happening: the Hidden Album. It’s been around since iOS 10, got a great upgrade with iOS 14, and got even more secure on iOS 16.
While there are useful features for Photos such as the new crop tool, bulk image editing, live text in videos, visual search, and geotag editing, the hidden album remains one of the most important as it maintains the privacy and security for your most personal moments. . Hell, you could even hide all Photos content if you want.
Hide photos and videos on your iPhone
To hide a photo or video in your iPhone’s Photos app, open it, tap the ellipsis icon (•••) in the top section, choose “Hide,” then select “Hide Photo” hide’ or ‘Hide video’ in the actions That appear.
You can also hide multiple photos and videos at once. From a grid view on the Library, Albums, or Search tab, choose “Select” at the top, choose all the content you want to hide, tap the ellipsis icon (•••) in the bottom section, choose “Hide”, then select ” Hide [#] Photos,” “Hide [#] Videos” or “Hide [#] Items” of the actions that appear.
Locate the hidden album on your iPhone
You can find your hidden album at the bottom of the Albums tab when pictures and videos are hidden. By default, you can see the album, which indicates how many photos and/or videos are in the folder.
Lock the hidden album on your iPhone
Since anyone with access to your iPhone can find and browse your hidden album, Apple added a new feature to iOS 16.0 and later to lock the folder behind biometric authentication. When enabled, no one can break into your hidden album unless they can crack your passcode.
To enable biometric authentication protection, go to Settings -> Photos, then enable the “Use Face ID” or “Use Touch ID” switch. Enabling this switch will also lock all your recently deleted images and videos behind biometrics. The switch can’t be turned off without biometrics or a passcode, so someone borrowing your iPhone can’t go there and quickly turn it off to take a look at your protected media.
Find your hidden album at the bottom of the Albums tab to try it out. When locked, it will no longer show how many photos and/or videos you have in the album. Tap it and then use your face or fingerprint to bypass the lock and view your secret contents.
If biometrics don’t work for you at the time, or if someone else has your iPhone and tries to access your private media, Face ID or Touch ID will fail. Tapping “Try Face ID Again” or “Try Touch ID Again” will give you another chance, but it will default to “Enter Passcode”.
If you’re using a four-digit or six-digit passcode, it’s not impossible to crack and get in. So if someone manages to unlock your iPhone with a cracked passcode, they can also unlock your hidden photos and videos. Consider using a longer passcode or an alphanumeric code to improve security.
Hide the hidden album on your iPhone
If you want to go a step further in keeping your private photos and videos out of sight, you can hide your hidden album, available since iOS 14. Go to Settings -> Photos, then disable the “Show hidden album” switch. This will not delete any of your hidden content; it will just hide the folder from view. Whenever you want to view your secret media again, just go back to this menu and turn the switch back on first.
Unfortunately, anyone with access to your unlocked iPhone can find and enable the Show Hidden Album toggle, so it’s vital to also use the toggle that enables biometrics. That way no one will do much good by making the album visible, unless that someone is you.
View your hidden album on other devices
It’s important to note that anything you hide in your Hidden Album will also be hidden on all of your other Apple devices, as long as they have iCloud Photos enabled. On an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings -> General -> iCloud Photos to make sure it’s enabled. On a Mac, go to Photos -> Settings in the menu bar, choose the “iCloud” tab and make sure iCloud Photos is checked.
Use the same process above to view photos and videos on your iPad. On a Mac, you can find the Hidden album under Photos in the sidebar or via View -> Photos -> Hidden in the menu bar. If you don’t see the album, go to View -> Show Hidden Photo Album in the menu bar to make it visible.
The biometric authentication switch doesn’t sync with your other iCloud devices, so you’ll need to manually enable security on each device. For iPad, use the same steps above. On a Mac, go to Photos -> Settings in the menu bar and make sure the “Use Touch ID or password” or “Use password” box is checked.
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