According to Android Police, Google Photographs’ Locked Folder feature, which claims to keep critical photos away of your main photo roll, is starting to roll out to non-Pixel phones. According to Android Central, the functionality has started to appear on some Samsung and OnePlus devices. Google indicated in September that it will be coming to additional Android phones “soon.” According to our tests, it’s now available on older Pixel devices that didn’t get it at first.
This feature allows you to select individual photographs or videos and save them in a passcode or biometrics-protected folder, keeping them off the cloud and out of your main photo feed. After being unveiled during Google’s I/O event in May, it was released in June on Google’s own phones (Pixel 3 and up).
Google cited the example of parents hiding images of a newly purchased puppy from their children in its presentation. A valid use case, to be sure, however I expect most people will use it for less wholesome photos, easing the worry that might arise when showing people photos from an unfiltered library, such as “what if they swipe too many pictures back and see my butt.” (This is undoubtedly a valid worry.)
The option should be available on phones running Android 6 or later, and I was able to find it by heading to Photos > Library > Utilities on my Pixel 2 running Android 11. The feature will also be available in the iOS version of Google Photos early next year, according to Google.
If you have Google Photos and want to utilise it, keep in mind that photos in the Locked Folder will not be backed up to the cloud and will be erased if you uninstall the app or clean your device without transferring them. More information is available on Google’s Locked Folder support page.
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