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Google Photos rolls out Locked Folder feature to more Android phones

Published Dec 3rd, 2021 7:49PM EST
Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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One of the standout features of the Android 12 experience is a new security and privacy feature that Google added to Google Photos. It’s a feature many iPhone and iPad users have wanted for years, but Apple has yet to introduce. We’re talking about Google Photos’ Locked Folder functionality that the Search giant introduced earlier this year. Initially, Google launched the Locked Folder feature for Pixel phones, promising to bring it to other Android devices soon. We learned that Google Photos on Android and iOS would finally support photo encryption a few weeks ago. And it looks like Locked Folder has now started rolling out to more Android devices.

How Google Photos Locked Folder works

For years, smartphone users have been asking for built-in storage solutions that would let them password-protect some of their most sensitive photos. That’s what Locked Folder does in Google Photos. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to set up from the Google Photos menu.

You’ll use a PIN or fingerprint to lock the photos you want to prevent others from accessing, even if they get a hold of your phone. Once that happens, Google will stop backing up those images in Google Photos. You’ll only be able to access the photos from the Android where you set up the Locked Folder feature. As Google Photos doesn’t move them to the cloud, they won’t appear on other devices.

Encrypting local storage also means the photos won’t show up in search. And you won’t be able to edit them while they’re in the Locked Folder. Of course, this means that you’ll have to be even more careful than before about losing your phone. You might want to store copies of those sensitive photos and documents elsewhere in case someone steals your phone or you lose it.

The new Google Photos Locked Folder in Android 12
The new Google Photos Locked Folder in Android 12. Image source: Google

Locked Folder rolling out to more Android phones

Locked Folder sounded great on paper. But it was just theoretical for most Android users. That’s because Google Photos’ Locked Folder only showed up on Pixel phones at first. However, it appears that the app is already notifying non-Pixel users that they can finally take advantage of the functionality.

These notifications can pop up on all sorts of devices, with Android Police noting that a Galaxy A52 received the feature recently.

Once you get the notification that invites you to get started, you’ll be able to set the encrypted folder on your device with a few simple steps. Just head over to Library and then Utilities to find the Locked Folder.

The feature should also reach Google Photos on iPhone and iPad in the near future.

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.