Use the Hidden Album in Photos to Hide Private Images—Now More Private in iOS 16

Some people get embarrassed when they hand their iPhone to someone to swipe through some innocuous photos of a vacation, only to have the person swipe too far and end up at some photos that were not meant for others to see. I know, the obvious concern here is photos of an… intimate nature. But you could be concerned about others coming across photos of sensitive documents, photos meant for your doctor, or simply unprofessional photos your colleagues don’t need to see.

Long ago Apple added a Hidden album in the Photos app on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. On the iPhone and iPad, you’ll find it among your albums in the Utilities collection. On the Mac, it appears in the sidebar under Photos. (If you don’t see it, you may have hidden it—more on that later.) But last year Apple also added the ability to lock your Hidden album with device security.

There are a few essential things to know about the Hidden album:

  • Unlike regular albums, whose photos also appear in All Photos, photos in the Hidden album won’t appear anywhere else, including in searches.
  • You can hide or show the Hidden album on each of your devices independently. On iPhone and iPad, control whether the album appears in the Photos app with Settings > Photos > Show Hidden Album. In the Photos app on Mac, go to the View menu > Show/Hide Hidden Photo Album. Obviously, if you’ve hidden the Hidden album, you must show it to look inside.
  • If you use the Hidden album, I strongly recommend protecting it (and the Recently Deleted album) with Face ID, Touch ID, or password/passcode so only those with security access to your device can view it. This feature is available beginning with macOS Ventura and iOS/iPadOS 16, and should have been enabled by default. On iPhone and iPad, enable Settings > Photos > Use Face/Touch ID (see screenshot above). On Mac, go to Photos menu > Settings > General and select Use Touch ID or password. Again, these settings are per-device, so what you set on the iPhone won’t automatically carry over to other devices. But really, just about everyone should make sure it’s enabled everywhere.

Overall, the Hidden album is a great feature, and if you have any photos that could embarrass you if someone were to stumble across them, put them in the Hidden album and turn on the protection.