Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Google Photos now lets you access your hidden photos across all your devices

Published Aug 29th, 2023 11:00AM EDT
Google demoing Google Photos Magic Editor at I/O 2023.

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

A few years ago, Google announced a Locked Folder functionality for Google Photos that does exactly what its name suggests. It locks all the photos and videos you want to hide from prying eyes. Only your password and fingerprint can access them. This is a great feature to protect private images and videos.

The problem with this level of security is that you don’t get to sync your locked Google Photos files across your devices. Or better said, that was a problem until Tuesday, when Google finally rolled out the feature you’ve been asking for. Google Photos now syncs the Locked Folder across all of your devices without compromising security.

In other words, you’ll now be able to access those sensitive images on iPhones and iPads as well, not just your Android handsets and tablets.

The same security principles still apply to Locked Folders. Those images won’t appear anywhere in the app. Only you can open the folder. You’ll use a password or a fingerprint to secure the contents.

Google Photos now lets you back up and sync the private Locked Folder.
Google Photos now lets you back up and sync the private Locked Folder. Image source: Google

The new backup/sync feature is optional, as Google explained in a blog post. You can manually turn it on and off depending on which devices you want to be able to access your private photos. Google explains:

Photos and videos you save and back up in your Locked Folder still won’t appear anywhere else in the app — you won’t see them in your photos grid, Memories, albums or when you search photos in Google Photos. When you turn on backup for Locked Folder, you’ll be able to access that content across your devices when you sign in to Google Photos and open Locked Folder with your device’s passcode.

And, as always, all the content you backup in Google Photos is protected by the world’s most advanced security infrastructure. If you prefer to not use Locked Folder’s backup capabilities, you still have the option to store content in Locked Folder on your device.

This is a great feature to take advantage of. It fixes one of the obvious problems with how Google Photos’s Locked Folder initially worked. If someone stole your device that had the Locked Folder, or if you lost your phone, you’d lose access to those precious images forever.

With Google Photos getting the new Locked Folder upgrade, you no longer have to worry about that. The new backup/sync features will be available on Android and iPhone this week. The Google Photos update starts rolling out on Tuesday.

Google Photos app will offer a simplified settings menu on Android and iPhone.
Google Photos app will offer a simplified settings menu on Android and iPhone. Image source: Google

In addition to the Locked Folder upgrade, Google is also refreshing the privacy settings of Google Photos.

As you can see in the animation above, the privacy settings will get a simplified page that’ll be your one-stop shop for all things related to privacy.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.