Last month at its Google I/O 2021 developer conference, Google announced plans to add a locked folder to Google Photos. At the event, Google revealed that Locked Folder is coming to Pixel phones first, with more Android phones getting the new feature later this year. The company now has started to deploy Folder locked as part of June Pixel feature removal. In this article, you will learn how to hide your sensitive photos and videos using the locked folder in Google Photos on Android.

Use Locked Folder in Google Photos on Android (2021)

Before we begin, it should be mentioned that Locked folder is only available on Pixel 3 series and later now. Therefore, you won’t find the feature in the original Pixel and Pixel 2 series. With that out of the way, here’s how you can use the new locked folder in Google Photos.

Set up locked folder in Google Photos

1. You need to set up the “Locked Folder” first to start using it. To do this, open Google Photos, switch to the “Library” tab in the bottom navigation bar and tap on the “Utilities” section.

2. Once there, scroll down until you find the new “Locked Folder” option. You’ll find the locked folder in the “Organize your library” section.

3.Now you need to confirm your device screen lock to access the locked folder. After successful authentication, you will get access to the feature and can start moving your sensitive files to this folder.

Move photos or videos to a locked folder

After setting up the locked folder, you are ready to move your sensitive media to hide it from prying eyes. To move photos and videos to the locked folder in Google Photos, select the media and tap the vertical three-dot menu (More) in the upper right corner and choose “Move to locked folder”. When the confirmation prompt appears, tap “Move” to hide your photos and videos.

Save photos directly to a locked folder

If you have a Pixel smartphone, you can even save new images or videos directly to the locked folder. Here’s how:

1. Open the Pixel Camera app and tap the folder icon in the upper right corner.

2. Now you will see two options – Photo Gallery and Locked Folder. Tap “Locked Folder” to set it as the default destination for your images and videos.

3. And that’s it. Images taken with Locked Folder enabled will automatically be hidden in your regular gallery. However, you have a “Move” option in the preview in case you want to quickly move the image to your gallery.

Google Photos Locked Folder Limitation

That said, there is one key limitation in the Google Photos Locked Folder feature that you should be aware of before using it – all hidden images are stored locally. You cannot sync hidden files on your devices with Google Photos. As a result, you cannot save sensitive images to the cloud as soon as you move them to the locked folder. If you’ve backed up before, Google Photos will delete cloud backups of those files.

Google has taken this measure to prevent accidental exposure of your sensitive photos and videos. Additionally, the company will also automatically remove these hidden media from your existing memories and no longer show them on Google smart displays. This is something you need to keep in mind before using the locked folder in Google Photos.

Alternatives to Google Photos Locked Folder

Although Pixel phone owners can now hide photos and videos in Google Photos, we don’t want other Android users to leave their sensitive media exposed to nosy individuals. Well, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some popular alternatives to Google Photos locked folder that you can use to hide photos or videos on any Android phone:

  • KeepSafe Photo Vault

If you’re a longtime Android user, you must have come across Keepsafe in the past. It is one of the best apps to backup personal photos or videos on Android. It is easy to use, supports pattern, PIN and fingerprint authentication. You can then organize your media in a clutter-free folder grid. When it comes to security features, you get access to fake login PINs, break-in alerts, cloud backups, and more.

To download (Free, in-app purchases start at $0.99)

  • 1Gallery

The second app I would recommend for hiding photos or videos on Android is 1Gallery. It secures your private media files in an encrypted folder instead of just using the .nomedia extension to make the media unscannable. This means that your media will remain safe and hidden even on an Android phone with root privileges. You can use PIN, pattern and fingerprint authentication to access the locked folder. The app also has a minimal and clean user interface which is a bonus.

To download: (Free, Offers in-app purchases)

While these are probably the best apps to hide photos and videos on Android, you can check out other apps for this purpose in our linked article.

Hide sensitive photos or videos in Google Photos

This is how you can use the new Locked Folder feature in Google Photos to hide your private photos and videos. If you have a Pixel phone, update the June Pixel drop feature to start using the feature immediately. In the meantime, if you hate waiting, you can also check out the Secure Folder in Google’s Files app to hide sensitive files.