Google Photos’ locked folder feature, which promises to keep sensitive photos out of your primary photo roll, is starting to roll out to non-Pixel phones, according to Android Police. Google announced in September that the feature would soon be rolled out to more Android phones and that it would have started appearing on select Samsung and OnePlus devices, according to Android Central. Older Pixel devices that didn’t originally have access to it also have access, according to our testing.
The feature allows you to choose specific photos or videos and place them in a password or biometric locked folder, removing them from your main photo stream and keeping them out of the cloud. It was introduced on Google’s own phones (Pixel 3 and later) in June, after being announced during Google’s I / O showcase in May.
In its presentation, Google used the example of parents hiding photos of a newly purchased puppy from their children. A valid use case for sure, although I suspect most people will probably use it for less healthy images, alleviating anxiety “and if they slide too many images back and see my butt” that can occur when showing people photos from an unfiltered library. (Surely a relatable concern.)
The feature should be available for phones running Android 6 or later, and I was able to access it on my Pixel 2 running Android 11 by going to Photos> Library> Utilities. Google also said the feature will be available in the iOS version of Google Photos early next year.
If you have the feature and want to use it, please be aware that photos stored in the locked folder will not be backed up to the cloud and will be deleted if you uninstall Google Photos or erase your device without transferring them. You can find out more on Google’s Locked Folders support page.