How to hide photos on your iPhone so that snoopers can’t find them

Hiding photos on your iPhone is easy, especially after the iOS 16 update. You can hide any photos and videos you want to keep without the risk of others seeing them. And you don’t need to download a third-party iPhone app to do this.

Smartphone tracking is a real thing. Friends, family members, or strangers can search for texts or photos on your iPhone. And there are legitimate cases of hiding photos from others. The good news is that you can easily hide photos on your iPhone. The bad news is that it all depends on your password.

Research shows that people regularly steal their loved ones’ phones for various reasons. That’s why there may be times when hiding photos and videos from your loved ones makes sense. Like photos of Christmas gifts you wouldn’t want your kids to see. And if they have access to your iPad with iCloud Photos enabled, they certainly can.

With that in mind, the following instructions apply to both iPhone and iPad. And you can hide photos inside the Photos app on Mac.

How safe are hidden photos on iPhone?

We’ve had the option to hide photos from the main gallery since iOS 14. But only iOS 16 provided the password protection needed to hide photos as well. Otherwise, anyone familiar with iOS could go to that folder.

Unfortunately, your lock screen password (and Face ID/Touch ID) locks the iPhone’s Hidden and Recently Deleted folders. If you’re trying to hide photos from someone who knows the password, the default iOS method won’t do you much good. However, it will protect those images from everyone.

The first thing you need to do is enable Face ID/Password protection in iOS 16. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Go to Settings app
  2. Scroll to Pictures menu
  3. Turn on Use Face ID setting

This is the only way to password protect your iPhone photos. You’ll lose that protection if you turn off Face ID in the top menu. Don’t assume that the screen lock password will stay in place. On the contrary, this is a problem that Apple may one day fix.

Use Face ID to password protect photos you want to hide on iPhone.
Use Face ID to password protect photos you want to hide on iPhone. Image credit: Chris Smith, BGR

How to turn on and off the Hidden Photos folder on iPhone

The Hidden folder in your Photos app is where you’ll find all of your hidden photos and videos. Whether it is on or off on your iPhone, you need to know how to turn it on and off. It’s because you can turn off the Hidden folder on your iPhone after You have hidden photos. That way, others can’t find the folder even if they know your iPhone password.

To enable or disable the hidden menu, you need to go to the same “Settings” application.

  1. Scroll to Pictures menu
  2. Enable or disable Show hidden album setting

You can still hide photos on iPhone if the Hidden folder is turned off. But you won’t be able to see them until you turn it on.

How to hide photos on iPhone

Now that you’ve password protected your Hidden Photos folder and chosen whether you want to turn it on or off, you can start hiding pictures.

Here’s how it works.

  1. Open Pictures app
  2. Choose: photo(s) and/or video(s) you wish to hide; you can select multiple items.
  3. Tap three points the button
  4. Tap hide

Another method consists of tapping three points button when you’re viewing a photo or video and then click hide version

How to hide a single photo on iPhone.
How to hide a single photo on iPhone. Image credit: Chris Smith, BGR

How to view hidden photos

If you need to view hidden photos, you need to activate the Hidden folder. Once that’s done, here’s how you view the photos.

  1. Go to Pictures app
  2. Tap Albums:
  3. Scroll down until you find it Hidden volume
  4. Click it and authenticate Face ID: or your password

When you’re in the Hidden folder, you can browse images and videos as you normally would in your Photos app. And this is where you can display content using the same three-dot menu.

The location of the hidden folder.  A lock next to it indicates that it is password protected.
The location of the hidden folder. A lock next to it indicates that it is password protected. Image credit: Chris Smith, BGR

One more thing

If you’re backing up photos from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac, you’ll want to make sure your imports don’t contain hidden photos.

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