The Photos app will finally allow you to lock your Hidden photos album with your passcode or biometrics, fulfilling a feature request made at least five years ago.
Previously, marking a photo as Hidden simply removed it from the main camera roll and placed it in a separate bucket accessible via the albums list. However, prying eyes could simply tap on it to reveal them.
In the meantime, an entire ecosystem of third-party'secret folder' apps has sprung up to address this shortcoming, allowing secure photos to be protected by Face ID or Touch ID. Competing manufacturers, such as Samsung, ship Secret Folder apps as stock apps to meet this need.
With iOS 16, Apple has finally closed the feature gap.
Locked Hidden Photos
You will no longer require a separate app with iOS 16. The Photos app will automatically lock the Hidden and Recently Deleted albums. By default, access to these albums will require Face ID, Touch ID, or your iPhone's passcode.
This feature was not mentioned during the main WWDC keynote. The addition of shared iCloud photo libraries for families was highlighted. Users will be able to create a family library with up to five other people in iOS 16 to automatically share photos with each other. The Camera app will even let you send photos directly to the shared photo roll (a switch UI will allow you to disable this for each photo taken as a personal snap).
Beginning this fall, all iPhone users (iPhone 8 and later) will be able to download iOS 16. A developer beta is now available.
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Sometimes you don't want certain photos taken on your iPhone or iPad to be visible in your Photo Library, but you also don't want to delete them completely. As a result, Apple's Photos app includes the ability to hide specific photos from the main library.
Prior to iOS 14, this option would hide photos from the Photos and For You sections of the Photos app, but they would still appear in the Albums section under an album called "Hidden," which wasn't exactly a discreet way of storing private photos.
With this in mind, Apple has added an option in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 that allows users to literally hide the Hidden album from the Photos app. The steps below walk you through the process of hiding a picture and then making sure the Hidden album is hidden in the Photos app.
Once you've completed the steps, the Hidden album will no longer appear in the Photos app; however, you'll still see it when you use the image picker in third-party apps, so it's not completely hidden from prying eyes.
How to Hide a Photo
- On your iPhone or iPad, open the Photos app.
- In the top-right corner of the screen, tap Select.
- Tap the images you want to conceal.
- In the bottom-left corner of the screen, tap the Share button. (It resembles a square with an arrow pointing out.).)
- Select Hide from the Share Sheet's actions menu.
- To confirm, tap the prompt at the bottom of the screen.
Again, this hides the photo from the general album view, but it is prominently placed in an album called "Hidden.". In iOS 14, you can hide the "Hidden" folder.:
How to Hide Photos' 'Hidden' Folder
- Launch the Settings app.
- Scroll down and select Photos.
- Make sure the switch next to Hidden Album is set to grey OFF.
If you ever want to see your Hidden album again, go to Settings -> Photos and then toggle the switch next to Hidden Album to the green ON position.
Although the album is hidden in the Photos app, it may appear in the photo picker of third-party apps. At best, this makes it more difficult for casual snoopers to come across your private photos.