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You can finally lock your hidden photos album with Touch ID or Face ID in iOS 16

Catching up to feature request from at least five years ago, the Photos app will finally let you lock your Hidden photos album with your passcode or biometrics.

In previous versions of iOS, marking a photo as Hidden merely removed it from the main camera roll, and put it in a separate bucket available in the albums list. But prying eyes could just tap on it to reveal them.

An entire ecosystem of third-party ‘secret folder’ apps have cropped up in the meantime to address this shortcoming, allowing secure photos to be protected by Face ID or Touch ID. Competing manufacturers like Samsung ship Secret Folder apps as stock apps, specifically to address this need.

Apple has finally closed the feature gap with iOS 16.

Locked Hidden Photos

With iOS 16, you will no longer need a separate app. The Photos app itself will automatically lock the Hidden album and the Recently Deleted album. By default, these albums will require Face ID, Touch ID, or your iPhone’s passcode in order to gain access.

This feature was not announced as part of the main WWDC keynote. Something that was highlighted was the addition of shared iCloud photo libraries for families. Starting in iOS 16, users will be able to make a family library with up to five other people to automatically share photos with each other. The Camera app will even allow you to send photos directly to the shared photo roll (a switch UI will let you disable that for each photo taken as you take a personal snap).

iOS 16 will be available to all iPhone users (iPhone 8 and later) beginning this fall. A developer beta is available now.

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Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.