You wouldn’t freely share your home address or phone number with just anyone, and the same instinct for privacy should extend to your photos. Most people have a few photos they’re willing to share with others, while the rest are destined to remain in a private collection to shield the privacy of you and your family. Every so often, you may hand over your phone so your boss, co-worker, or best friend can see your cat doing something cute — but in that moment, there’s no guarantee your viewer will stop there.
It’s up to you to protect the privacy of your photos at all times and make sure random folks can’t continue to swipe and check out the rest of your photos. Because the temptation may be overwhelming, you can hide photos on your Android device — either in the device settings or using a third-party app. We show you how it’s done.
Hide photos on your Android phone
While there’s no built-in secure way to hide photos on an Android phone or tablet, many Android device manufacturers offer native privacy features that help you to easily shield photos and other files from prying eyes. The archive function in Google Photos can also come in handy for this purpose. The example shown below is with the latest version of Google Photos using Android 10 on an LG V40 ThinQ.
Archive photos in Google Photos
If you use Google Photos on your Android phone, then you can employ the archive function to hide any photos you’d rather people didn’t accidentally stumble onto from the main feed. Don’t worry about losing your precious pictures — these photos will still be accessible via the Archive, in albums, and via search.
- Find the photos you want to archive and hover over either the date (to choose all) or over the first image (to select non-consecutive images) and then tap the circle at the upper left of each thumbnail of the photos you want to hide. Each hidden photo will have a checkmark.
- Tap the three vertical dots at the top right of the screen and choose Move to Archive from the drop-down menu.
- You will get a notification that your selected photos have been archived. You can Undo this action immediately if you change your mind.
You can still access these photos by tapping the Library icon at the bottom right of the screen and then tapping on the Archive button. To put them back into the main photo feed, tap and hold to select, then tap the three vertical dots at the top right and tap Unarchive.
Hide photos on a Samsung phone
If you have a Samsung phone, like the Galaxy S20, there’s a robust, secure mode to keep your private photos and videos private.
- Open the Settings and tap on Biometrics and security then find the Secure Folder option and tap on it.
- It may prompt you to sign in to your account and agree to the terms.
- Now you can configure your Secure Folder and decide whether it should appear in the app drawer, how to access it, whether it should lock automatically when the screen turns off, and various other options.
- We recommend locking it with your fingerprint and setting it to lock automatically when the screen turns off.
- Open the Gallery app and find a photo you want to hide.
- Tap and hold to select it and tap the three vertical dots at the top right.
- Choose Move to Secure Folder from the drop-down list.
If you ever want to unhide photos, simply find them in the Gallery app in the Secure Folder, tap and hold to select, then tap the three vertical dots at the top right and choose.
Best Android apps for hiding photos
If your phone or tablet doesn’t have a built-in security option for hiding photos, then your best bet is to download and install one of the best photo hiding apps. There are a few that we recommend.
LockMyPix protects your personal photos with a private, encrypted, and secure photo and video vault. Complete with military-grade AES encryption, this app provides complete control over who has access to viewing your media. You have many different login options for your vault. Some of these options include a PIN, face recognition, fingerprint, password, or pattern. These options all ensure a steady, intense watch over anyone who tries to access your vault. Users can even use the Fake Vault option to create a decoy vault for even higher security. This second vault offers a separate PIN and unlimited storage.
Vaulty is a highly recommended and free Android app that hides your photos and offers a few extra services available as in-app purchases. The app allows you to secure photos and videos in a vault that is only accessible using a PIN or password. It comes with a backup feature that automatically encrypts and saves your photos to the cloud. To up your security, you even have the option to create several different vaults for your pictures and videos, each with its own unique password. Vaulty even includes a mugshot feature that will snap a photo of intruders who try to break into your vault.
Gallery Vault is another simple and highly used Android photo-hiding app, that is comparable to a secure locker. It lets you choose the photos and videos you want to protect and guards them with a PIN, fingerprint, or passcode. It also encrypts your photos. The one downside with this app is there’s no online backup. Your files will stay on the device. Gallery Vault offers Micro SD card support and a fake passcode option that leads to a decoy vault. The app also offers a hidden icon that disguises the app itself. You can even set up notifications to receive and trespassing.