iPhone users have been asking for the possibility of protecting sensitive photos with passwords for a long time, and iOS 16 finally delivered the feature. This is one of the many novelties in iOS 16 that Apple didn’t have time to discuss on stage. Here’s how to lock your Hidden photos album with Face ID, Touch ID, or iPhone’s passcode.
In previous versions of iOS, marking a photo as Hidden merely removed it from the main camera roll, and put it in a separate bucket available in the albums list. But prying eyes could just tap on it to reveal them.
An entire ecosystem of third-party ‘secret folder’ apps have cropped up in the meantime to address this shortcoming, allowing secure photos to be protected by Face ID or Touch ID. Competing manufacturers like Samsung ship Secret Folder apps as stock apps, specifically to address this need.
Apple has finally closed the feature gap with iOS 16.
Locked Hidden Photos
With iOS 16, you will no longer need a separate app. The Photos app itself will automatically lock the Hidden album and the Recently Deleted album. By default, these albums will require Face ID, Touch ID, or your iPhone’s passcode in order to gain access.
How to Lock Hidden Photos on iPhone with a password
- Start the Settings app and go toPhotos.
- Turn on the toggle button for “Use Face ID” to lock the Hidden album with Face ID.
- Optional: Disable the “Show Hidden Album” option if you don’t want the Hidden album to appear under Albums.
- Navigate to the Photos app, tap Albums, and scroll down to the bottom of the screen. A lock icon will now appear in front of the Hidden and Recently Deleted album.
That’s it. Open the Hidden album and it will ask for Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode authentication to show the album contents.
Why should I protect photos with a password on iPhone?
Using passwords to hide away photos on iPhone and iPad is usually associated with the NSFW content that you wouldn’t want others to see while handling your phone. That’s probably why some iPhone users will be excited to hear about iOS 16 finally supporting password protections for photos.
But there’s a more valid reason to want to protect photos. We routinely take pictures of personal documents that might contain sensitive information. The kind of information you wouldn’t want anyone to see and potentially share or delete while using your handset. Maybe it’s work secrets that you have to hide.
You might think that data is safe, as the phone is always locked with a PIN/Face ID combo. The photos are safe under the screen lock. But once you hand it over to someone, they have access to the Photos app and its contents.
Protecting photos with passwords is the simplest thing to ensure that kids don’t accidentally remove any pictures or videos from your device before you can back up the data.
See also: How to Isolate, Copy & Share Subjects from Photos in iOS 16
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