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How to Password Protect Photos on iPhone and iPad



A padlock over the Apple Photos app icon.

Sometimes you need to protect your iPhone or iPad from prying eyes, who may also have access to your device. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t offer an obvious and safe way to do this. There is a workaround, however, thanks to the Notes app.

How does it work?

You probably already know the Hidden Photos folder in the Photos app on iPhone and iPad. In iOS 1

4 and iPadOS 14, you can hide this folder as well. However, images that are hidden in the Photos app are not password protected. There are other ways to hide private photos on your Apple device. However, these are often third-party apps.

We’ll show you how to use the Notes app (which is available on every iPhone and iPad) and a feature first introduced in iOS 9.3 to back up certain photos on your device. First you need to put your photos in a note and then you can lock them behind a password.

CONNECTED: How to Lock Apple Notes on Your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

How to password protect photos using Notes

If the photos you want to lock behind a password don’t already exist on your iPhone or iPad, move them there. Next, open the Notes app and tap the New Note icon (pencil and paper) to create a new note.

In Notes, tap the New Note icon.

On the first line of the new note, enter text that doesn’t attract too much attention. This will show up in the list of notes even after you lock them.

A note called

In the toolbar, tap the Add Photo (Camera) icon. On an iPad, this can be found above. On an iPhone, it’s either above the on-screen keyboard or at the bottom of the screen.

In the menu that appears, tap Choose Photo or Video.

Tap

On the following screen, tap the thumbnail of each photo that you want to add (a check mark will indicate that they are selected). When you’re done, tap Add.

Tap the photos you want to add, then tap

Notes adds the selected photos to the note file. To lock the note, tap the ellipse icon (the three dots in a circle).

Tap the ellipse symbol.

In the window that appears, tap “Lock”.

Tap

If you have previously set a Notes password, you will be prompted for it. Then tap OK.

You haven’t set a password yet? No problem! Notes will ask you to create one. Remember, you will need to use this password to view all locked notes. If you’ve enabled the Notes app to sync with iCloud, the same password applies to other Apple devices signed in to iCloud.

Enter a password and a hint. If your device supports it, you can also lock notes using Touch or Face ID. After you’ve entered your details and made your selections, tap “Done”.

Enter and verify a Notes password, and then tap

Notes confirm that the lock has been added, but don’t leave yet! This only enables the lockout setting. You still need to lock the note yourself to make it secure.

To do this, open the note and tap the padlock icon in the toolbar.

Tap the padlock icon.

You will then see a confirmation that says “This note is locked”. If you’d like to double-check, just tap “View Note”.

Tap

If Notes asks for your password, enter it and tap OK.

Enter your password, and then tap

You will then see all of the photos that you added to the secure note.

Make sure you also visit the Photos app and delete the pictures that you just password protected. Then you have to go to the “Recently Deleted” folder in Photos and delete it there.

How secure are locked iPhone or iPad notes?

Locked notes on an iPhone or iPad are encrypted in a way that makes them difficult to extract even with forensic tools. However, it is not a state security level encryption. A research company recently discovered some vulnerabilities in the Notes app. This allows a determined attacker with unrestricted access to your device to guess the content of a locked note.

These circumstances are rare, but there may be other undetected bugs in Notes that could potentially compromise the security of a Note.

However, for occasional privacy purposes, locked notes are safe enough for most people to prevent opportunistic snoops. Just make sure you don’t create a password that is easy to guess!




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