How to Hide Photos on iPhone & iPad with the iOS Hidden Album
Everyone likely has a few photos sitting on their iPhone they’d rather nobody else see, whether it’s embarrassing selfies, poorly filtered or edited pics, a picture of a receipt or personal paperwork, or anything else in the realm of private photos. Those pictures can make showing someone another picture on your iPhone (or iPad) an awkward experience, as you’re hoping they don’t start flipping through your Camera Roll to discover that terrible photo of you after winning the pie eating contest. Fortunately the newest versions of iOS include a new way to mitigate that potential awkwardness by hiding select photos.
The photo hiding feature must be enabled individually for each picture, as it’s set on a per-image basis. At the moment there is no bulk hide function like there is with the ability to bulk remove a bunch of photos all at once, so you may want to get in the habit of regularly hiding the pictures you don’t want to show up in your general photos app views.
Note this feature is available only to iOS 8 and newer, and though we’re going to focus on the iPhone here, it works the same on the iPad and iPod touch too.
Hiding a Photo in iOS
- Open Photos and go to Camera Roll or Albums as usual
- Tap on the picture you wish to hide, this will open it as usual
- Now tap on the Sharing button that looks like a square with an arrow flying out of it, and choose “Hide” from that sharing action menu
- On older iOS: tap and hold on the photo itself to bring up an action menu, choose “Hide”
Note there is a subtle difference in accessing the “Hide Photo” feature in newest iOS versions versus older iOS versions, the rest is the same. Nonetheless you can perform the Hide Photo function on any vaguely recent release on iPhone or iPad.
Now that a picture or many are hidden, they’ll become invisible to the Collections, Years views, and instead are placed in a separate “Hidden” album.
Accessing Your Hidden Photos in iOS
Here is where you can find your hidden photos in iOS:
- Open the Photos app and tap on “Albums” view
- Locate in the list of Albums the folder called “Hidden” (note the thumbnail is not automatically generated for that folder, offering additional privacy)
- Find your hidden photos in the Hidden Album
This is where all of your hidden photos will be stored.
Note that while a picture is hidden, it can still be shared or sent through messages as usual, as long as you access it from this hidden album.
Unhiding a Picture in iOS
Of course hiding a picture is only part of the action, you might want to unhide a photo at some point, here’s how you can accomplish that:
- From the Hidden photo album, tap on the picture you want to unhide
- Tap the sharing button (looks like a square with an arrow flying out of it) and then tap on “Unhide Photo”
- On older iOS: Tap and hold on the picture and choose “Unhide” from the submenu that pops up
This sends the picture back to the general Camera Roll and it becomes accessible to all albums and collections views again.
Is the Photo Really Hidden on the iPhone? Kind Of
It’s important to understand how the hide photo function works: the photo(s) are hidden from the camera roll, Moments, Collections, and Year view, but are still visible in a photo album not-so-discretely called “Hidden”. In other words, while this is very effective at hiding photos from casual iPhone use and from flipping through your pictures in iOS, anyone who knows to look for the ‘Hidden’ album can still view the hidden images.
This is a decent way of handling your truly private pictures, but if you’re concerned about someone discovering the Hidden photos album, consider using the send-to-self trick to avoid offering photo album and camera roll access, or maybe just message them the pictures instead.
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