Show a Photo On Your iPhone Without Someone Accessing Camera Roll

Aug 15, 2014 - 6 Comments

Deny access to Photos Camera Roll Have you ever wanted to share an iPhone picture with someone, but you’re concerned about them flipping through your camera roll and finding other photos you’d rather not share? If you want to limit that you have a few options available, but because the iPhone doesn’t have a specific ability to lock onto a single picture, you’ll have to rely on a trick or two to limit the photo access instead.


We’ll cover a few different methods for physically sharing a photo by passing off your iPhone in person, while attempting to mitigate Camera Roll access. This is not perfect, and if someone is determined to skip through the stuff on your iPhone or iPad they could, so keep that in mind. In case it wasn’t obvious, the best solution would be to simply send the picture to the recipient you want to share with, and have them look at the picture on their own phone, but for a variety of reasons that’s not always possible, which is why we’re covering alternative methods.

Message The Picture To Yourself & Share That

This is probably the easiest trick to limit photo Camera Roll access, but still allow you to share the image on your phone. It works because when you message yourself the picture and then view it within the Messages app, there’s no camera roll to swipe left and right to (though if you send yourself a lot of pictures you can list them all just like you can coming from any other iMessage thread). All you need to do is literally send the picture to yourself through messages:

  1. Select the picture you want to share from the Photos > Camera Roll, tap the share button, tap on Messages, and then enter in your own phone number / contact details, then send the media message as usual
  2. Open the picture message from the Messages app by tapping on the thumbnail, and use this interface to show it to whomever by passing off the hardware

You can still zoom, pan, and rotate the picture, but again, swiping either direction does not access the Camera Roll.

Sharing an iPhone picture without Camera Roll access

This is the trick that I use primarily, since it is mostly self-contained and doesn’t require any third party apps.

And yes, of course if someone really wanted to they could hit the home button and go right to the Photos app, but if you’re concerned someone would do that and start prodding around on your iPhone and personal stuff, perhaps you should reconsider handing them the phone to begin with.

Open the Picture in Photo Editing Apps

Do you have Snapseed, Afterlight, VSCO, or any of the million other photo editing apps on your iPhone? Open the picture to share in one of those apps, and then hand the phone to whoever you want to see it.

The downside to this is that each app has different functions and gestures, and not all of them allow zooming directly on the image. Of course, it also relies on a third party app, so it’s probably not the ideal solution if you don’t want other apps on the device, or you want to have more control. Also, some third party apps have a swipe access feature similar to Camera app, so be aware of the individual apps features before going this route.

Disabling Touch and Locking with Guided Access

Another possible trick is to open the picture in Photos, then enable and use Guided Access with touch and hardware buttons disabled to prevent the swipe gesture and Home button from working. Parents and educators are very familiar with this trick, but for other users it can be a real nuisance to enable and master. Plus, it doesn’t allow for zooming and rotating the image, so it’s not the best solution.

Other Physical iPhone Image Lockdown Solutions?

Do you have any other ideas for locking down a picture or two so that someone can’t snoop around on an iOS device and find anything else? Maybe you just send the person to share with a picture message and let them use their own phone? Maybe you set the lock screen picture? Let us know in the comments!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

6 Comments

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  1. Teo says:

    “Hey, can I see that photo you told me about?”

    “Sure, hold on one second.”

    *taps*
    *swipes*
    *triple taps home button*
    *holds phone upside down and shakes*
    *performs vigorous ancient rain dance ritual*

    “Okey-dokey, here you go! Hey, where’d you…”

    :-)

  2. anonymous says:

    I create a new photo album with the pictures I want to share. So when they flip through pictures, they’ll only see what’s in the album. If they go back from the album, they can ofcourse all all other pics, but usually people don’t do that. And if they do, you can always take the phone back by saying “Oh, what happened there? let me fix it”. :)

  3. tania says:

    you can also publish photo stream onto the web. let’s non-Apple users view your photos.

  4. Nathaniel says:

    There is an app that’s perfect for this it’s called Here, Look

    I think I paid $1.50 for it or something ridiculously cheap. It allows you to select photos to show in the app then you pass your phone over and people can only scroll through that one app thereby protecting the rest of your photos from prying eyes.

  5. Ole says:

    Actually my iPhone app does this as well, very simply – and it is free:

    HandPicked

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