How to Hide Photos on iPhone

Keep your pictures private

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. Fortunately, there are lots of secure ways to hide photos on your iPhone.

The instructions in this article apply to iPhones running iOS 14, iOS 13, and iOS 12 .

How to Hide Photos on iPhone Using the Photos App

The Photos app that comes preinstalled 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.

  2. Locate the photo you want to hide and tap it. You can also select multiple photos by tapping Select first.

  3. Tap the Action icon (the square with the arrow coming out of it).

    The iOS Photos app with an image selected and the action icon highlighted
  4. If you're using iOS 13 or iOS 14, swipe up on the list of options at the bottom of the screen and tap Hide. If you're using iOS 12, swipe across the bottom row of options and tap Hide.

  5. In the confirmation screen, tap Hide Photo. The photo disappears.

    The iOS Photos app Hide option

How to Unhide or View Hidden Photos on iPhone

Now you have a hidden photo. To view hidden photos, or to unhide photos, follow these steps::

  1. Open the Photos app and tap Albums.

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

  3. Tap the photo you want to unhide to select it.

    Photos app path to unhide an image
  4. Tap the Action icon.

  5. If you're using iOS 13 or iOS 14, swipe up on the list of options at the bottom of the screen until you see Unhide. If you're using iOS 12, swipe across the bottom row of options until you see Unhide.

  6. Tap Unhide.

    The Action button and Unhide option in iOS Photos

There is no confirmation screen for the Unhide action, but the photo returns to its original album in Photos where it can be viewed again.

There is one huge downside to hiding photos on the iPhone this way. The Hidden photo album can by 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 who can access your iPhone can open the Photos app and view the photos in the Hidden album. Fortunately, 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 that is preinstalled 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 view it. You can put a picture into a Note and then lock it. Here's how to use Notes to hide pictures on the iPhone:

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

  2. Tap the Action icon.

  3. In iOS 14 and iOS 13, tap Notes. In iOS 12, tap Add to Notes.

  4. In the window that pops up, you can add text to the note if you want. Then tap Save.

    Adding a selected photo to a Note in iOS
  5. Go to the Notes app.

  6. Tap the Notes folder with the photo in it.

  7. Tap the note with the photo to open it.

    The Notes showing a note with a photo in it
  8. Tap the Action icon.

  9. Tap Lock Note and, if prompted, add a password. If you use Touch ID or Face ID, you can lock the note using that.

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

    The Lock Note feature in iOS
  11. 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 hide pictures on your iPhone. There are too many apps to list them all them, 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. $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.