If you want to hide private photos and videos on your iPhone, you’ve got a handful of options available to you. The easiest way to hide private content is via the Photos app itself. Apple has offered the ability to hide photos and videos in the Photos app for quite a few years now, and while it doesn’t offer any kind of password or biometric protection like some third-party alternatives, it is a free and easy option perfect for most iOS users.
Here, we talk you through the various ways to hide photos and videos on your iPhone, including the Photos app, Files app and third-party alternatives available on the App Store.
Hiding content in the Photos app
To hide photos and videos in the Photos app for iOS:
- Open the Photos app.
- Select the photo you’d like to hide. You can also select multiple items at once by tapping the Select button in the top-right.
- Tap the Share button, and tap Hide.
- Confirm that you want to hide the content from all libraries and albums.
Your photos and videos should now be hidden from view, but don’t worry, you can still find them by heading to the Album tab and scrolling down to the Hidden album (it’s right at the bottom).
If you want to unhide the content at any point, follow these steps:
- Open the Photos app.
- Locate the photo or video you’d like to unhide in the Hidden album.
- Select the content you’d like to unhide.
- Tap the Share button, and tap Unhide.
Your previously-hidden photos and videos should now be visible in your gallery and any albums they may have been in beforehand too.
Hiding content in the Files app
If you don’t like the idea of leaving all your hidden content in a Hidden album that’s easy to find, you’ve got another option available: the Files app.
Introduced in iOS 11, the Files app provides a way for iPhone and iPad users to access documents from apps and cloud storage services like iCloud and Google Drive. It’s a great way to manage files on your iPhone back up important files to cloud storage services, but can also double up as a great place to hide private photos and videos.
Why? Because you can save the content to the Files app and delete it from the main Photos app, away from prying eyes. You’ve just got to make yourself a folder in the Files app - possibly within another folder to further secure the content - and transfer your content from the Photos app.
You can hide private content in the Files app by following these steps:
- Open the Photos app.
- Select the content that you’d like to transfer to the Files app. You can select multiple items at once by tapping the Select button in the top-right.
- Tap the Share button, and tap Save to Files.
- Select the storage location - this could be your iPhone or a cloud storage service - and find where you’d like to create the new folder. This can be within an existing folder - just tap the arrow button next to an existing folder.
- Create a new folder (the icon in the top-right) and give it a name.
- Tap the newly created folder, and tap the Save icon in the top-right to move your content to the Files app.
- Open the Files app and locate your new folder.
- Confirm that all the content you selected is present.
- Head back to the Photos app and delete the photos and videos you’d like to keep private.
- Go to the Albums tab and tap Recently Deleted.
- Tap Select in the top-right, and tap Delete All to permanently delete the content.
Your photos and videos should stay accessible via the Files app while being deleted from your Photo library.
Of course, you’ve always got the option of downloading one of the many hidden photo apps available on the App Store - but which should you choose?
Secret Photo Vault, at £3.99/$3.99 on the App Store, provides a clean and secure way to hide your private photos and videos. As well as being able to create custom folders (and even slideshows) from within the app, the integrated camera allows you to take photos and store them directly in the app - no need to delete them from the Photos app separately.
Private Photo Vault Pro is another solid paid option at £3.99/$3.99, and while it doesn’t allow you to take photos directly from the app, it does let you password protect individual albums as well as the app as a whole. Oh, and it’ll also take a photo of anyone that tries to break into the app without your knowledge!
If you don’t want to pay for the pleasure, you’ve always got free apps like Best Secret Folder. It’s more limited than the premium options mentioned above, but it’ll password-protect your private content and will let you know if someone has tried to unsuccessfully gain access to the app.
For more on how to protect your content, take a look at how to password protect iPhone apps and folders.