The Simple, Most Important Photo Feature You Need to Implement Right Now on Your iPhone « iOS and iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

The Simple, Most Important Photo Feature You Need to Implement Right Now on Your iPhone « iOS and iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

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 someone something embarrassing or embarrassing again.

No matter who you are, you probably use your iPhone’s Photos app a lot, since everything you take a photo or video of using the Camera app — and many other camera apps — lands there. And chances are you have a photo or video you don’t want anyone to ever see.

It could be evidence implicating you in cheating or lying, pictures of your poo to show your doctor, unedited or sexualized selfies, screenshots of login information or tax documents, spy photos, saved nude sexts, or practically anything else.

Since it’s easy to accidentally include one of your just-for-you photos or videos when sharing an album with iCloud friends, texting a group of photos, AirPlaying a slideshow, or viewing your Photos widget on your Home screen or lock screen, Apple has included a tool to protect you from that ever happening: the Hidden album. It’s been around since iOS 10, got a fantastic upgrade with iOS 14, and became even more secure on iOS 16.

Although there are useful Photos features such as the new clipping tool, bulk photo editing, Live Text in videos, Visual Look Up and geotag editing, the Hidden album is still one of the most important because it maintains privacy and security for your most private moments. Hell, you can even hide everyone Image content if you want.

Hide photos and videos on iPhone

To hide a photo or video in the iPhone’s Photos app, open it, tap the ellipsis icon (•••) in the top area, select “Hide” and then select “Hide Photo” or “Hide Video” from the actions that appear up.

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You can also hide multiple photos and videos at the same time. From a grid view in the Library, Album, or Search tab, select “Select” at the top, select all the content you want to hide, tap the ellipsis icon (•••) in the bottom area, select “Hide” and then select “Hide [#] Photos,” “Hide [#] Videos” or “Hide [#] Items” from the actions displayed.

Find the hidden album on iPhone

You’ll find your hidden album at the bottom of the Albums tab when photos and videos are hidden. By default, you will be able to see the album, which will tell you how many photos and/or videos are in the folder.

Lock the hidden album on iPhone

Since anyone with access to your iPhone can find and browse your hidden album, Apple included a new feature on iOS 16.0 and later to lock the folder behind biometric authentication. With it enabled, no one will be able to break into your hidden album unless they can crack your password.

To enable biometric authentication protection, go to Settings -> Photos, then turn on the “Use Face ID” or “Use Touch ID” switch. Turning on this switch also locks all recently deleted photos and videos behind biometrics. The switch can’t be disabled without biometrics or a passcode, so someone borrowing your iPhone can’t go over 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, use your face or fingerprint to bypass the lock and see your secret content.

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If biometrics aren’t working for you at the moment, or if someone else has your iPhone and is trying to access your private media, Face ID or Touch ID will fail. Tapping “Retry Face ID” or “Retry Touch ID” will give you another chance, but it will default to “Enter password.”

If you use a four-digit or six-digit password, it is not impossible to crack it and get in. So if someone manages to unlock your iPhone with a cracked passcode, they will also be able to unlock your hidden photos and videos. To increase security, consider using a longer password or an alphanumeric one.

Hide the hidden album on iPhone

If you want to go the extra mile to keep your private photos and videos out of sight, you can hide your hidden album, available since iOS 14. Go to Settings –> Photos, and turn off the “Show hidden album” switch. This will not delete any of your hidden content. it will just hide the folder from plain view. Whenever you want to see your secret media again, go back to this menu and turn the switch back on first.

Unfortunately, anyone with access to your unlocked iPhone can find the Show Hidden Album toggle and enable it, so it’s important to also use the toggle that enables biometrics. That way, showing the album won’t do anyone much good unless it’s 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 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 –> Preferences in the menu bar, select the “iCloud” tab and make sure iCloud Photos is checked.

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To view photos and videos on iPad, use the same process above. 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 show it.

The biometric authentication switch doesn’t sync with your other iCloud devices, so you’ll need to enable protection on each device manually. For iPad, use the same steps above. On a Mac, go to Photos –> Preferences in the menu bar and make sure “Use Touch ID or Passcode” or “Use Passcode” is checked.

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Cover image and screenshots by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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