How to Hide Photos On iPhone

Keep your pictures private

Photo of a man hiding phone screen from an angry woman

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Most people have at least a few photos on their phones that they want to keep hidden from prying eyes. In an age of hacks of celebrity photos and massive data breaches, protecting your privacy – and the privacy of others – is ultra important. Luckily, there are lots of secure ways to hide photos on your iPhone.

The instructions in this article apply to iPhones running iOS 12 and iOS 13.

How to Hide Photos on iPhone Using the Photos App

The Photos app that comes pre-installed on every iPhone has built-in tools to help you hide photos on your iPhone (or iPod touch or iPad). To hide a photo on your iPhone using the Photos app, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Photos app to open it.

    Screenshots of the iOS Photos app
  2. Find the photo you want to hide.

  3. Tap the photo (you can also select multiple photos by tapping Select).

  4. Tap the action box (the square with the arrow coming out of it).

    • If you're using iOS 12, swipe across the bottom row and tap Hide.
    • If you're using iOS 13, swipe up on the list of options and tap Hide.
    Screenshots of hiding pictures in the iOS Photos app
  5. Tap Hide Photo. The photo disappears.

How to Unhide or View Hidden Photos on iPhone

Now you've got a hidden photo. But what if you want to see that picture again? To view hidden photos, or to unhide photos, follow these steps::

  1. Open the Photos app.

    Screenshots of the Hidden album in the iOS Photos app
  2. Tap Albums.

  3. Swipe down to the Other Albums section and tap Hidden.

  4. Tap the photo you want to unhide.

    Screenshots of unhiding photos in iOS Photos app
  5. Tap the action box.

  6. Tap Unhide.

  7. Your photo will be returned to your Camera Roll and other albums, and can now be viewed again.

There is one huge downside to hiding photos on the iPhone this way. The Hidden photo album can be seen by anyone using your iPhone. The photos in it aren't protected in any way (they're just not in your normal photo albums). Anyone can open the Photos app and view the photos in the Hidden album it. Luckily, there's another app that comes with every iOS device that can help.

How to Hide Pictures on iPhone Using the Notes App

The Notes app pre-installed on iPhones may not seem like a place to hide private photos, but it is – thanks to the ability to lock notes. This feature lets you lock a note with a passcode that must be entered to unlock. You can put a picture into that Note and then lock it. Here's how to use Notes to hide pictures on the iPhone:

  1. Open Photos and find the photo you want to hide.

    Screenshots of hiding a photo in the iOS Notes app
  2. Tap the action box.

    • In iOS 12, tap Add to Notes.
    • In iOS 13, tap Notes.
  3. In the window that pops up, you can add text to the note if you want. Then tap Save.

  4. Go to the Notes app.

    Screenshots of hiding a photo in the iOS Notes app
  5. Tap the note with the photo in it.

  6. Tap the action box.

    Screenshots of hiding a photo in the iOS Notes app
  7. Tap Lock Note and, if prompted, add a password. If you use Touch ID or Face ID, you can lock the note using that.

  8. Tap the lock at the top right corner so that the icon appears locked. The picture will be replaced by a This note is locked message. The note and photo can now only be unlocked by someone with your password (or who can trick Touch ID or Face ID, which is very unlikely).

  9. Go back to the Photos app and delete the photo.

Third-Party Apps That Can Hide Photos on iPhone

Besides the built-in apps, there are third-party apps in the App Store that can also hide pictures on your iPhone. There are too many apps to list them all them here, but here are some good options for hiding your private photos:

  • Best Secret Folder: An alarm sounds when an unauthorized person tries to access this app. It also tracks failed logins and takes photos of people who fail to unlock it four times. Free with in-app purchases.
  • Keepsafe: Protect this app with a passcode or Touch ID, then add photos to it, use the built-in camera to take photos, and even share photos that expire after a set time. Free, with in-app purchases
  • Private Photo Vault Pro: Like the other apps, secure this with a passcode. It also offers break-in reports with the photo and GPS location of the intruder, as well as an in-app web browser for downloading photos directly. US$3.99
  • Secret Calculator: This secret photo vault is tricky — it's hidden behind a fully functional calculator app. Besides that sleight of hand, you can protect the contents of the app with a passcode or Touch ID. $1.99
  • Secret Photo Album Vault: Another app with a built-in camera (you can add photos from other sources, too). Secure it with a passcode or Touch ID and get break-in alerts with a photo of the intruder. Free, with in-app purchases.