Back in June, Pixel phones were the first to receive the ability to secure images and videos behind a passcode. Google today confirmed that the Locked Folder in Photos is set to soon arrive on all other Android devices.

Announced at I/O 2021, the Google Photos Locked Folder hides selected pictures/videos from the application’s main grid, search, and “apps that access your device photos.” They will not be backed up or shared, and require a device screen lock for you to access (fingerprint, face, PIN, etc).

The private collection can be accessed from the “Library” tab > “Utilities” (at the top-right corner) > “Locked Folder” (near the bottom). 

You get a standard grid view, which can be adjusted by pinching in/out, while a button at the top lets you “Move items” to the Locked Folder. This is done through a reverse-chronological camera roll view with search also available. When transferring over, Google again warns how “Items in Locked Folder can’t be (and will stop being) backed up or shared.” If you’ve already uploaded it to Google Photos, it will be deleted in the cloud and only exist as a local file.

As a security precaution, users can’t take screenshots when inside the secure space, and the only two actions available when viewing media are move or delete. Google also notes how “People you’ve shared your device screen lock with can unlock Locked Folder.” On Pixel phones, you can save images directly to the Locked Folder from Google Camera.

Google says the Photos Locked Folder is rolling out “soon” to devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and newer. Once live, users will get a “Set up Locked Folder” notification from the Photos app.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com