You should really be using the 'Hide Photo' feature on your iPhone

iPhones come with so many new features these days, it can be hard to keep track ... and sometimes to even know they exist. We hear ya. But those features can be extremely useful.

All this brings us to the “Hide Photo” feature on your iPhone. Yeah, you should be using it, and not just because it’s there. We can think of multiple reasons (some obvious, some less so) that you’d want to hide photos, and we’ll show you how to do just that a little later.

But first, why hide photos?

We’ll begin with the most obvious reason: Nudes. Yours? Someone else's? There’s nothing wrong with that at all. A lot of us take them! But do you really feel comfortable knowing you’re an accidental iPhone misplacement away from a total stranger having access to your intimate pics? 

I lose my iPhone probably twice a day, and I barely ever leave home. On the chance that you lose your phone, you want to make it as difficult as possible for people to find those pics. 

Maybe you’re not worried about losing your phone, or about strangers looking at your photos. Maybe you’re more concerned about showing your friends some cool photos you just took and accidentally scrolling by a pic of your butthole! I mean, it happens. But you don’t have to worry about that if you use the “Hide Photo” feature. You can scroll with peace of mind.

Nudes may not be the only photos you want to hide. (Maybe you don't take them at all, and that's fine too!) But consider the other possibilities. For holidays, birthdays, or any special gift-giving occasion, you may have taken a picture of something you want to give to somebody else. And if you’re hanging out with that person, you don’t want them to accidentally find their present on your phone when it was supposed to be a secret! Hiding photos is a sneaky good move when it comes to keeping surprise presents an *actual* surprise. 

Or maybe you have a not-so-secret selfie stash you don't necessarily want everyone to see. We're certainly not anti-selfie, but if you like taking selfies and aren't comfortable having them in a super-accessible place in your phone, the "Hidden Album" may be a good place to keep them. 

Ready to start using the “Hide Photos” feature on iPhone? 

  • Go to your photo gallery and find the photo you want to hide. Tap “Select” in the upper righthand corner, then tap the photo to select it.

  • Next, go to the bottom left corner of your screen and tap the “Share” icon — a little box with an arrow pointing up from inside it. Don’t worry, you’re not going to actually “share” it.

  • Then, scroll down past your share options and tap the “Hide” function, marked by a symbol of an eyeball with a line going through it.

  • When prompted, tap “Hide Photo.”

  • That photo is now in your “Hidden Album,” which can be found by going to your photos and scrolling all the way down under the “Utilities” section, where it says “Hidden,” characterized by the same eyeball icon as before. Tap “Hidden” to see your hidden photos.

Maybe that’s not quite enough security for you. 

In that case, here's what you do:

  • Go to your iPhone settings, and scroll down to “Photos.” In your “Photos” settings, you can scroll down to where it says “Hidden Album.” There’ll be a switch to the right of it. 

  • When it’s lit up green and switched to the right, that means the “Hidden Album” designation (not the photos themselves) will appear under “Utilities” in your “Albums” tab. When “Hidden Album” is switched off, your “Hidden Album” no longer appears under “Utilities” like it did before, meaning no one can access your hidden photos. You can switch it off without fear of your hidden photos being deleted. Once you switch it back on, your hidden photo album will be right where it was before. 

Please note that if someone knows all the information we discussed in this story, then they know enough to be able to access your hidden photos, even if you’ve taken these precautions. The “Hide Photo” feature is not a 100% fail-safe way to keep your photos hidden. For that, Apple would have to implement some sort of passcode/fingerprint/facial ID security system to restrict access to hidden photos. And somehow, we’re not there yet. 

Be that as it may, making use of the “Hide Photo” feature is still a great idea, because there’s always the chance that someone looking through your phone doesn’t know this information. The “Hide Photo” feature still means you’re better off than you were before, and it costs you nothing, so we’d say it’s easily worth it for the time being.