How to hide and lock private photos or videos on your iPhone and iPad

6 min read

Imagine this: You're sitting at a family dinner when your aunt asks to see pictures from your last vacation. Excitedly, you hand over your iPhone and scroll through the first pictures of sandy beaches and ocean views. A flash of concern crosses your mind as you remember the highly confidential work images mixed in with your photo album. "If only I could hide those photos," you think, wanting to protect your privacy without spoiling the shared joy of your vacation snaps.

It's not hard to imagine this situation, is it? Fortunately, there are simple solutions to keep your precious photos on your iPhone private. Organizing and protecting our photo gallery has become increasingly important in today's world, where we carry our lives in our pockets.

So, let's explore how to hide photos on an iPhone, protect them from prying eyes, and help you maintain a tidy photo album.

How to create a hidden album on iPhone

Did you know there's a secret little corner on your iPhone where you can tuck away your most personal photos and videos? On iOS 16 and beyond, you can safely relocate these photos to a special Hidden album within your Photos app, which is guarded by Face ID or Touch ID. The best part? Anything you place in the Hidden album will vanish from your main library and other albums. Yet, you can always bring them back into the light when you want to.

Here's how to hide pictures on iPhone:

  1. On your iPhone, open the Photos app.
  2. Find the pics you want to hide.
  3. Next, tap the Select button at the top-right corner of the screen to open up the multi-selection menu.select pictures to hide
  4. Tap on every picture you want to hide.
  5. Then, tap the three-dots icon displayed in the bottom-right corner.
  6. Choose Hide. The selected photos will be moved to the Hidden album.

Now you know how to create a hidden album on an iPhone, but how do you find these hidden photos?

How to find your hidden photos on iPhone

As mentioned, when you choose to hide a photo or video on your iPhone, it gets moved to a Hidden album. These items then won't show up in regular places like your Library or Home Screen. With iOS 16, this album is automatically locked. If you're using iOS 14 or newer, you can choose to hide this album. Plus, if you're using iCloud Photos, hiding a photo on one device hides it on your other devices, too.

Here's how to find the hidden photos and videos on your iPhone:

  1. On your iPhone, open the Photos app.
  2. Tap the Albums tab at the bottom.
  3. Scroll down and see the Hidden album under Utilities. 
  4. Then, tap the Hidden Album. As you can see, the album is visible, but you won't be able to see what's in it until you use Face ID or Touch ID to unlock it.
create Hidden album

Tip: Simply tap the three dots on the photo, then tap Unhide to remove the photo or video from your private album.

How to hide the Hidden album on iPhone

Want more privacy? The good news is that you can make the iPhone Hidden album on your iPhone completely invisible. While this album normally appears as a protected folder in the Utilities section, you can hide it with a little tweaking.

Here's how:

  1. On your iPhone, go to the Settings app > Photos.
  2. Scroll down and turn off the Show Hidden Album option.

Show Hidden Album in Photos

Note that turning off the Hidden album means that it will not be visible in the Photos app. To turn on the Hidden album, follow the same steps and toggle the Show Hidden Album switch to the on position.

Hide the Photos app

Another method to protect your photo gallery from prying eyes is by hiding your Photos app. Maybe you want to hide it to keep your personal snapshots just that – personal, to make your Home Screen tidy, or to keep a surprise party plan under wraps. It's all about enjoying your privacy without the fuss.

First of all, you need to remove the app from the Home Screen, then – from Search. 

Here's how to hide the Photos app from the Home screen: 

  1. Locate the Photos app on your Home Screen. Tap and hold it until a menu appears.
  2. Next, tap Remove App. 
  3. Tap Remove from Home Screen.

Remove Photos app from Home Screen

Here's how to hide the Photos app from Search: 

  1. On your iPhone, go to the Settings app > Siri & Search.
  2. Scroll down to find the Photos app. Tap on it.
  3. Then, turn off all options, including Show Suggestions from Apps, Suggest App from Home Screen, Show App in Search, Content in Search, and Suggest App from Home Screen.

Note that if you delete the app from the Home Screen and hide it from Search, the app won't be disabled. You can still find it in the Applications library. 

Lock photos on iPhone with Notes

Maybe you hoped for a way to password-protect your photos. While you won't be able to do that in Photos, there is a workaround in the Notes app. You can insert a photo into a new note, and then you can add a password to the note. Sadly, this only works for still pictures. And you can't save live photos or videos into Notes.

How to lock private photos using Notes

Before you can lock photos in the Notes app, you need to make sure that you have turned on the lock feature.

Here's how to turn on password protection for your notes:

  1. On your iPhone, go to the Settings app > Notes > Password.
  2. Set and verify the password you want to use for your notes.

After you turn this feature on, you can begin adding pictures to a password-protected note.

Here's how to lock a picture with a password:

  1. On your iPhone, open the Photos app and find the photo you want to lock.
  2. Tap Share > Notes.
  3. You can choose to save it to a new or an existing note.
  4. Then, tap Save.
  5. In the Notes app, open the note with the photo.
  6. Tap Share > Lock Note.
  7. Enter your password.
  8. Do not forget to go back to the Photos app and delete the photo from your Camera Roll.

Also, make sure that you also delete your photo from the Recently Deleted folder.

How to move the photos you locked in Notes back to your Camera Roll

  1. Open the note where you saved your photo.
  2. Tap View Note.
  3. Enter your password to see the note content.
  4. To move your photo back to your Camera Roll, tap and hold this photo. Then, choose Share > Save Image.

Tip: Think your passwords are unbreakable? Install Secrets and let it check them. This app is a reliable password manager for your Mac and iPhone. As mentioned, it can also check your passwords for security. From the menu, choose Item > Vulnerable logins > Check selected logins or all logins.

Secrets app

You can also use Secrets to safely store notes, credit card numbers, banking details, and other confidential information.


Why can't I hide my iPhone photos?

Prior to the iOS 16 update, you could hide private photos on iPhone using the Share button. Tapping the Share button revealed the Share menu where the Hide button for finding photos resided. 

That's not the case anymore. Now, the Hide button in the Photos app can be accessed using the three-dot button in the bottom right corner.

Master iPhone privacy with Setapp

Now you know how to use the "Hide Photo" feature on your iPhone. Note, however, that if someone knows all the information we have discussed in this article, then they know enough to access your hidden photos, unless you lock photos in the Notes app and password-protect them. 

Speaking of passwords, we recommend you try Secrets to make sure you have strong security for your sensitive information. The app is available on Setapp, a curated collection of 240+ Mac, iOS, and web apps that are sure to help you supercharge your workflow.

Setapp offers a wide range of tools to help you improve your iPhone. One app you can try is Launcher with Multiple Widgets. It allows you to customize your Home Screen and Lock Screen with widgets for quick access to your favorite apps and websites. Another app is Session, a Pomodoro timer that helps improve focus and productivity. And if you need to edit documents on the go, Nitro PDF Pro is a great option. It lets you highlight, comment, sign, and even edit text and images in PDFs. Give these apps a try for seven days free and enhance your iPhone experience!

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