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Smartphones & gadgets

Privacy tip: Hide your photos and videos in secure folders

In one form or another, we all share the contents of our devices with other people. Whether it’s the immediate family we live with or our contacts of social media, the world’s population has never been more of an open book than today.

Of course, not everyone is totally on board with this way of thinking. Social media platforms have cynically exploited user data to the point where a growing number of people are working to remove their online footprint. Tap or click here to see how to delete yourself from the web.

But you don’t have to go too far if you just want to keep some private items hidden. Files like photos and videos can actually be hidden in folders on your smartphone — regardless of what kind of system you have. Here’s how.

How to create hidden folders on iOS

Apple gives users the ability to create hidden folders that are invisible to anyone using your phone but you. They’re removed from your main albums and galleries, and getting to them requires digging deep through multiple folders and categories.

Related: Tap or click here to see the best tips and tricks for using iOS 13.

Better yet, if you have a lock on your device, the only one that will be seeing these photos is you. Here’s how you can hide them:

  1. Launch the Photos app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the album that you want to see.
  3. Tap Select in the upper right corner.
  4. Select the photos and videos you want to hide.
  5. Tap the Share button.
  6. Choose Hide from the Share Sheet menu.
  7. Confirm that you want to hide the photo(s) and video(s).

To find your hidden photos and videos, scroll down to Other Albums and tap Hidden. The photos you’ve hidden from view will be stored here. You can also unhide a file by tapping the Share button and selecting Unhide.

How to create hidden folders on Android

Android has several different versions for different models of smartphone, so not every process will be the same. Here’s the most common way to hide your files via Google Photos on the vanilla version of Android:

  1. Open the Google Photos app on your smartphone.
  2. Select the images that you wish to hide.
  3. Tap the three-dot icon in the top right-hand corner.
  4. Tap Move to Archive in the drop-down menu.

Just like with iOS, this hides them in a separate folder (called Archive, in this case). You can access this from your main Google Photos menu, but the contents of this folder will not be included in any of your other feeds.

How to create hidden folders on Google Pixel

Google Pixel has a little bit more in-depth of a process for hiding files. This is due to the way Pixel phones structure their file storage.

  1. Open the Files app on your device.
  2. Tap the three-line icon in the top left-hand corner.
  3. Select the name of your device from the menu.
  4. Tap the three-dot icon in the upper right-hand corner.
  5. Choose New Folder.
  6. Enter .nomedia as the folder name.
  7. Tap OK.

Now, you’ll have a new folder to hide your files in. Here’s how to move them:

  1. Open the Files app on your device.
  2. Tap the three-line icon in the upper left-hand corner.
  3. Tap Images from the menu.
  4. Open the folder where your pictures are stored. This usually falls under Camera.
  5. Tap and hold on the photo or video that you wish to move, and tap on other items you want to move after choosing the first.
  6. Tap the three-dot icon in the upper right-hand corner.
  7. Tap Move to.
  8. Tap the three-line icon in the upper left-hand corner.
  9. Select the name of your device in the menu.
  10. Tap the .nomedia folder that was created.
  11. Tap the Move button in the bottom right-hand corner.

All the files you select will be moved to this hidden folder that won’t show up in your feeds.

How to create secure folders on Samsung phones

Samsung gives users the power to actually hide their files in secure, password-protected folders. This is the most robust way to handle your private files safely.

  1. Open the Settings app on your device.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Biometrics and security.
  3. Tap Secure Folder.
  4. Follow the instructions that appear and enter your Samsung account information.
  5. Set up your Secure Folder, including security type, auto-lock, and whether you want the Folder to be hidden.
  6. When the Secure Folder is created, open the Gallery app.
  7. Tap and hold the items you want to move to the Secure Folder.
  8. Tap the three-dot icon in the top right-hand corner.
  9. Choose Move to Secure Folder from the drop-down.

Once you’re finished, your secure folder will be located in your App Drawer for easy access. You don’t have to keep it hidden at all since it’s password-protected. Impressive, Samsung. Impressive, indeed.

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