We’re all adults here, right? So let’s get real. Sometimes we take and/or download photos we’d rather not share with anyone else. We don’t want someone looking over our shoulder and slapping us in the head after what they just saw. We need to hide these sacred images to view them later when nosey people aren’t lurking around, looking for an excuse to pop us in the head again.
In situations like these, to avoid potential conflict, the ability to hide photos on your phone becomes invaluable, especially if you have children or friends who use your device often. Here, we’ll detail how to hide your images on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch — the methods are near identical. We even have a few third-party apps we’d suggest for those photos you really don’t want getting out.
Use the Photos app
The quickest way to hide photos on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch is to use the native Photos app. It essentially removes the selected images from all available views within the Photos app, but it doesn’t tuck them away in a locked vault. Anyone with access to your device can still tap the Hidden folder listed under Utilities in the Albums tab and see what you’re hiding. You can even access them on a Mac.
How to hide photos
Step 1: Tap to open the Photos app.
Step 2: Tap on the Album that contains the photos you need to hide. If the app opens to Library by default, skip this step.
Step 3: Tap the Select button located in the top right corner.
Step 4: Tap on every Photo you need to hide.
Step 5: Tap the Share icon displayed in the bottom left corner. It resembles a box with an up arrow.
Step 6: Scroll down and tap the Hide option on the pop-up menu.
Step 7: Tap the Hide [#] Photo(s) option on the pop-up menu. This option will read differently based on the number of photos you selected to hide.
The selected photos will now “move” to the Hidden album listed under Utilities on the Albums tab.
How to unhide photos
Step 1: Tap to open the Photos app.
Step 2: Tap the Albums tab listed at the bottom.
Step 3: Scroll down and tap the Hidden folder listed under Utilities.
Step 4: Tap the Select button displayed in the top right corner.
Step 5: Tap on every Photo that you want to unhide.
Step 6: Tap the Share button located in the bottom left corner. It resembles a box with an up arrow.
Step 7: Tap the Unhide option on the pop-up menu. The photos will then “move” back to their original destination. Alternatively, you can tap Add to Album to move them to a specific album.
Use third-party apps
As previously stated, using the Photos app isn’t the most secure way to hide photos. No matter how much we’d like to believe that the device in our pockets is secure, the truth is, it’s not. Thankfully, there are a number of apps that can do a better job of hiding your photos and videos, thus rendering them inaccessible to prying eyes or otherwise.
Many third-party apps allow you to set up passcodes or other security measures, making your photos harder to access. Below are two of our favorites, which are both free to download but do offer optional paid premium services.
Private Photo Vault
Private Photo Vault lives up to its name. The app allows you to lock away your photos behind a PIN, Touch ID, or Face ID so that only you, or someone you trust, can view them.
When you first use the app, you’re prompted to import photos from the Photos app or use your camera to take snapshots. After that, the app prompts you to delete the now-hidden photos from the Photos app. You can add photos from the native app or the camera at any time by tapping the big blue Plus icon in the bottom right corner of any album.
What’s interesting about this app is that it includes a built-in web browser. Tap the Web tab at the bottom and enter any URL in the address bar on the following screen. The idea here is to privately download images from the internet and store them securely in one of the app’s galleries.
While the app provides basic features for free, you’ll need the premium version to access everything it has to offer like unlimited photo albums, wireless photo transfers, a break-in report for when others attempt to access your hidden photos, and the ability to create a decoy password. Unlike the next app on our list, premium features are a one-time purchase of $5.
Keep Safe Photo Vault
Keep Safe helps millions of people easily and securely stow their photos by locking them behind a PIN code, Touch ID, or Face ID. Overall, it provides three means to hide your photos: Pull them from the Photos library, take a snapshot by accessing the camera, or capture a video using the camera.
At first glance, you might not see a difference between this app and any other standard photo app. You can select a photo and share with others, move it to a specific album, post it to Facebook, and so on.
What differentiates it from Apple’s proprietary Photos app is that you can restrict access to pictures or albums that you don’t want just anyone to see if they’re scrolling through your phone. Restricted albums are password protected with your personal combination of letters and numbers. These albums will have a blurred cover image too. Even more, you can toggle on a decoy vault and create its own PIN or Pattern.
You’ll get the capacity to secure albums at no cost, but there are so many additional features worth paying for in their subscription offerings. Premium features include securing up to 10,000 items, freeing up space on your iPhone, recovering deleted items, and removing advertisements. The prices are $10 per month, $24 per year, or $150 for a lifetime. Yikes.