How to hide photos and videos on Android smartphones

We all have "sensitive" photos and videos that no one else should see, and Google has released a feature in Google Photos that helps us protect them: it's the "locked folder"

Our smartphones contain a priceless treasure: our photos, our videos, our memories. A treasure that, sometimes, must be protected from prying eyes. There are in fact photos and videos that we could define "sensitive" and that no one should ever see, at least not without our consent. Google has just released a new feature in the Google Photos app that helps us protect these files and our privacy: it's the "locked folder".

Thanks to the locked folder you can hide photos and videos on Android smartphones, putting them in a part of the phone inaccessible to others: to see the contents of the locked folder you must in fact unlock the smartphone with your fingerprint, face, PIN or any other security method set in the phone. So even if your smartphone is stolen, those who have it in their hands cannot access the photos and videos moved to the locked folder. Here's how to create a locked folder in Google Photos, how to use it, and what changes for the photos and videos placed in it.

How to use the locked folder in Google Photos

The first thing to do is to create the locked folder where to place the photos to be hidden, by opening the Google Photos app and going to Collection > Utilities > Locked Folder. Google Photos will tell us that the folder is empty and invite us to select photos to move to the protected area.

After creating the locked folder we can easily transfer other photos and videos to it at any time: this option will appear for each photo in the gallery, along with those for adding the photo to an album, moving it to archive, deleting it etc etc...

Note, however, that any related photos (such as copies or edited versions) will not be moved automatically to the locked folder: they will have to be moved manually.

What happens to the files in the Locked Folder

The photo and video files placed in the Locked Folder won't show up in the Photos grid, among memories, in searches, in albums, and won't even be findable by third-party apps that have permission to access the phone's gallery.

If we do data transfer from one Android phone to another, via cable or via cloud, the photos and videos placed in the Locked Folder won't be moved. If we uninstall Google Photos, or delete its data to make room in the phone's memory, the photos and videos in the locked folder will be deleted.

The locked folder, then, is a very useful feature to protect privacy, but we must learn to use it properly, or risk losing part of our precious "sensitive" memories.