If you’re anything like us, you love showing off photos you’ve taken with your phone, but there are times when you’ll want to keep certain pictures away from others, because they’re personal or, well, inappropriate. It’s situations like these when the ability to hide photos on your phone becomes invaluable, especially if you have children or friends who use your device often. We’ll detail how to hide your personal images on your iPhone below and even suggest a few apps for some added security. If you’re looking for more helpful iOS tips, we’ve got a guide for that.
Kyree Leary also contributed to this article.
Hiding photos on your iPhone using built-in features
The quickest way to hide photos on your iPhone is also the easiest, as it doesn’t require any additional software. This method works with the iPad and iPod Touch as well. Keep in mind, however, that this only keeps photos from appearing in the Moments, Years, and Collections views. Hidden photos will still be visible when browsing your Albums. If you’re using iCloud Photo Library, any photos hidden on your iPhone will also be hidden on other devices, including the iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, and iCloud.com.
Step 1. Open the Photos app.
Step 2. Next, tap Select in the upper right corner of your screen and choose which photo(s) you’d like to hide. You can also do this for each photo manually when you are looking at a preview of a single photo.
Step 3. Tap the Share icon in the bottom left corner. On the bottom of the resulting menu, press the Hide button, which looks like two rectangles overlapping slightly with a line through them.
Step 4. Finally, tap Hide Photo to confirm your decision. Hidden photos will be placed in a new Album folder called Hidden.
Unhiding photos on your iPhone using built-in features
Making photos visible again is just as easy as hiding them, and can be done directly on your iPhone. Doing so also affects your iCloud Photo Library.
Step 1. Open the Photos app and go to Albums.
Step 2. Tap the Hidden folder — depending on how many albums you’ve created, you may need to scroll to find it.
Step 3. Select the photo(s) you want to make visible the same way as before.
Step 4. Tap the Share icon and select Unhide, which will have replaced the Hide button and looks very similar, but the line is now behind the two rectangles. If you unhide all of the photos in the Hidden folder, the folder will be automatically removed. Hiding photos again will make it reappear.
Hiding photos on your iPhone using apps
The first method we described may be the easiest way to hide photos on your iPhone, but it’s by no means the most secure. Thankfully, there are a number of apps that can also hide your photos and videos, thus rendering them inaccessible to prying eyes. Many of them allow you to set up passcodes or other security measures, making them harder to access. Below are two of our favorites, which are both free to download.
Private Photo Vault
Private Photo Vault lives up to its name. The app allows you to lock away your photos so that only you, or someone you trust, can get to them. Both the app and whatever albums you make within it can be fortified with a password, and you can even set up a decoy password to ward off anyone trying to gain access without your knowledge. To get your photos into the app, you can import and export images from Photos app, sync them with iTunes, email or text images, and carry out a host of other actions. Private Photo Vault features a private browser, too, which you can use to download images directly to the app. Best of all, if someone other than you or a trusted friend tries to break into your vault, the app will notify you. It even provides a photo of the person who tried to access your stash and their GPS location.
Keep Safe helps millions of people easily and securely stow their photos. The app lets you import images from the Photos app, and locks your snapshots behind either a PIN code or Touch ID. After storing them in the app, you can delete them from your phone to free up additional space. You can also create and name albums, take new photos using the app’s camera feature, and share photos with others. A feature known as Safe Send even allows you to share photos for a limited window of time. The app is free, but opting for the premium version ($24/month) nets you some extra features, including the ability to set individual passcodes and recover deleted items. There’s also a feature called Secret Door, which makes Keep Safe appear as an entirely different app until specific actions are taken to reveal it.