How to Hide Pictures on Your Phone

Show what you want and keep the rest private

secret photos

image credit: Emilija Manevska/Moment/Getty Images

The chances are pretty good that you have at least a few photos on your phone that you 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, lots of tools can keep your private photos hidden on both iPhone and Android.

How to Hide Photos on iPhone Using the Photos App

The iOS has tools that hide your private photos, but at least one has a major drawback (more on that in a minute). Not surprisingly, the built-in Photos app has one such feature. To hide a photo using the iPhone Photos app:

  1. Tap the Photos app to open it.
  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).
  5. Swipe across the bottom row of the menu and tap Hide.
  6. Tap Hide Photo and the photo disappears.

To view or unhide hidden photos:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap Albums.
  3. Tap Hidden.
  4. Tap the photo you want to unhide.
  5. Tap the action box.
  6. Tap Unhide in the menu that pops up.

There is one tremendous downside to this approach: 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 removed from the normal photo albums). Anyone can open the album and view the photos in it. Luckily, there's another app that comes with every iOS device that can help.

How to Hide Photos on iPhone Using the Notes App

The pre-loaded Notes app may not seem like a place to hide private photos, but it is – thanks to locked notes. This feature lets lock a note with a passcode that you need to enter to view. Here's how to use Notes to hide and protect a photo:

  1. Open Photos and find the app you want to hide.
  2. Tap the action box.
  3. Tap Add to Notes.
  4. In the window that pops up, add text to the note if you want and tap Save.
  5. Go to the Notes app.
  6. Tap the note with the photo in it.
  7. Tap the action box.
  8. Tap Lock Note and, if prompted, add a password.
  9. Tap the lock icon 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 pretty unlikely).
  10. Go back to the Photos app and delete the photo (and make sure to fully delete it so that it can't be recovered).

How to Hide Photos on iPhone with Third-Party Apps

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

  • 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 Download at the App Store
  • 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 Download at the App Store
  • Private Photo Vault Pro: Like the other apps, you can 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 Download at the App Store
  • Secret Calculator: This secret photo vault is tricky—it's hidden behind a fully functional calculator. Besides that sleight of hand, you can protect the contents of the app with a passcode or Touch ID. $1.99 Download at the App Store
  • Secret Photo Album Vault: Another app with a built-in camera (you can add photos from other places, 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. Download at the App Store

    How to Hide Photos on Android

    Hiding photos on Android is more complicated than on the iPhone. That's due to the great variety in apps and features available on different Android devices from different manufacturers. Unlike the iPhone, where every device comes with the same included apps, Android devices vary pretty drastically. So, there's no single app or feature guaranteed to be available to every Android user. Instead, your best bet is to get an app that's specifically designed to hide photos.

    How to Hide Photos on Android with Third-Party Apps

    Just like on the iPhone, all kinds of useful Android apps let you hide your private photos in secret file vaults. There are many more apps than just these in the Google Play store, but start here protecting your pictures:

    • Keepsafe: The Android version of the iPhone app mentioned earlier. You get the same set of features here (except for iPhone-specific ones like Touch ID), plus cool twists like locking the app by placing your phone face down. Free, with in-app purchases Download at Google Play
    • Hide Something: Keep public and private photo galleries in a single app. A fake mode can hide the private galleries and the app won't show up in recently used app lists for added privacy. Free, with in-app purchases Download at Google Play
    • Photo Locker: Lock individual folders at different levels of the filesystem, so you can seem to only have one locked folder when there are more hidden inside it. Paid upgrades let you hide the entire app. Free, with in-app purchases Download at Google Play
    • Private Photo Vault: After importing photos, you secure this app with a password or a PIN. It takes photos of people trying to break into the app. Even sneakier, it includes a decoy mode where, after entering a special password, it displays a different set of photos than the ones you're hiding. Free, with in-app purchases Download at Google Play
    • Vault: Besides protecting photos and videos, this app secures things like text message conversations and call logs. It also includes an in-app private web browser to download of photos and videos. Free, with in-app purchases Download at Google Play