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If you want to keep photos away from prying eyes, sometimes an iPhone passcode just isn’t enough.

If you hand your iDevice over to a client to see graphs you spent a good portion of your day making, you don’t want them accidentally swiping left and seeing the embarrassing photos of you with mates. It doesn’t look very professional and won’t leave a great impression once the meeting is done.

Luckily, there are apps to that can hide those images from snoopers.

Dropbox (free, premium from $9.99/month)

Dropbox 2

Set up in 2007, Dropbox now boasts over 275 million users, and there’s a good chance you’re among them. Essentially, it’s a storage system for any files, not just photos. You’ll need to make sure a passcode is set up if you want to hide images; it’s very simple though: Settings > Passcode Lock > Turn Passcode On.

You can access uploaded content from all your devices, Android included, and because it’s online too, you can get to all your photos from your computer. That’s a weight off your mind in case you have to uninstall the app from, for instance, your iPhone and are worried about losing everything. Plus, if you’ve set it up correctly, it’ll automatically upload photos from your Camera Roll (though it does seem to take a while).

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Dropbox’s unique selling point is the ability to share files and photos. You could use this to selectively share those business files similar to how you would on Google Drive. Alternatively, you could use Dropbox to store everything and delete images from your camera roll (you might want to add restrictions to certain folders). You’ve got 2.5GB of free space at your disposal – and can get more storage by either completing small tasks (like inviting friends to the service) or buying an upgrade.

If you forget your password, you can reset it through your emails. But if you forget your passcode – that’s it. There’s very little you can do about it, and you’ll have to reinstall the app and redownload everything again. Unfortunately, you can’t make a slideshow or add filters, but for viewing images or displaying a graph this does the trick nicely.

Photo Vault ($2.99, free version)

Photo Vault

Photo Vault is one of the most widely-used apps to hide photos, but the free trial version leaves a bit to be desired.

Several options that come as standard on other apps are only available once you’ve upgraded to Pro. This includes slideshows and a decoy mode. Album additions, break-in reports, dot passcode locks and wireless photo transfer are available, but only after collecting 100 coins each, which you amass by watching videos (adverts). Each video will net you 10 coins, so it’s not the end of the world; just a bit of a nuisance.

On the positive side, there’s an in-built camera and the option to import from your existing photo albums (check out the website for tutorials) and the app itself is easy to use. You can select all your photos, select none (which seems pointless on the surface but perhaps could be used when you’d made a mistake – essentially like mass deselection), or inverse selection, which is a nice option to have available.

Aside from an initial passcode, you can lock albums behind further ones, and a back-up email can be sent in case you forget your passcode.

Hide It Pro (free, in-app purchases)

Hide It Pro

A divisive app that basically does everything you want it to; though some have found it unreliable. We’ve also reviewed the Android version Hide The Pictures & Videos You Don’t Want Anyone To See With Hide It Pro [Android] Hide The Pictures & Videos You Don’t Want Anyone To See With Hide It Pro [Android] Our cell phones are supposed to be private devices. But in the real world they often change hands. It could be a video of a drunken night or a JPEG of a scanned document. Privacy... Read More , which generally seems better than its iOS counterpart.

This offers a similar interface as the Camera Roll, with the ability to add albums – as well as videos – and similarly, you can change slideshow duration and animations. If you access your iDevice within iTunes locate File Sharing on the Apps tab, you can access all your photos and videos there too.

But they’ve made a few silly decisions: whereas the Android app pretends it manages volume, this one has no such decoy method; instead, you are greeted with an “Enter Pin Code” page. The app icon, meanwhile, seems like a lesson in subterfuge. It’s a flower. That’s all. It doesn’t hint at anything private at all… unless you look below where it says “Hide It Pro” – oops.

Keep Safe (free, in-app purchases)

Keep Safe 2

With a clean, simple interface, Keep Safe is a solid contender for hiding your private photos.

Just like Photo Vault, you can add albums and either use the in-built camera or import from your photo roll. If you decide to put your images back into your normal photos, you can unhide them with ease, and send photos by email – whether that’s a single image or an entire album.

However, while it does offer a slideshow feature, you can’t put it on shuffle or alter its timings, and it’s pretty difficult to retrieve your passcode (or PIN) if you forget it.

Most annoyingly, though, you can’t transfer photos between iDevices, unless you upgrade to Keep Safe Plus – which is on a subscription basis that could set you back $3.99 for a month or $11.99 for an entire year. Oh, and then there’s this interesting little clause in their Privacy Policy: “A Note to Users Outside of the United States. Your Personal Data may be processed in the country in which it was collected and in other countries, including the United States, where laws regarding processing of Personal Data may be less stringent than the laws in your country.”

Value Your Privacy!

Unless your phone’s jailbroken, a surprising amount of people worry about hiding their photos. The reality is that it’s easy to do and won’t cost a fortune.

And if you’ve got an Android device, you can try these gallery lock methods How To Hide Private Picture Folders From The Gallery [Android] How To Hide Private Picture Folders From The Gallery [Android] When you've had your Android for a while, the amount of pictures on the phone build up, as well as album cover art, pictures stored by applications, and wallpaper. Pretty soon you realise your phone's... Read More , or download similar devilishly-helpful apps Handing Over Your Phone to Show a Photo? How To Avoid Snooping Fingers Handing Over Your Phone to Show a Photo? How To Avoid Snooping Fingers You hand over your phone to show someone a photo. Next thing you know, they go through all the photos in your gallery, including those embarrassing ones. Don't let it happen. Read More .

Image Credits: Image Credits: Robert Scoble Via Flickr, Dropbox (Ian Lamont)

  1. Paul Coleman
    May 14, 2014 at 11:38 am

    "Stash" (iOs) has multiple hidden accounts with individual passwords, multiple hierarchical albums, nice built in browsing, & links to Dropbox etc. AKA st@sh - the name you see on-screen. - Has been around for years. Early problems cleared up as it matured.

    • Philip Bates
      May 15, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      Testing it out now! Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Sam
      September 19, 2014 at 1:46 am

      The Big problem with Stash though is that it's not cross platform,if you purchase it on iPhone,you have to purchase it again on iPad,even worse,your libraries and photoes will not be synced on both devices and you have to everything from scratch.many of other similar softwares including Photo Vault,support both auto sync and cross platform even in their free form.
      For me,this defeated the purpose of the App,and I regret purchasing and wasting time on it.

  2. Dan the man
    May 13, 2014 at 10:30 am

    And how does one know fort sure that these photos or videos, precisely these ones that you want to keep private, aren't being sent off to some 3rd party while the app is hiding them from casual users of the ios device?

    • Aibek E
      May 13, 2014 at 11:03 am

      no one can tell you that for sure)

    • Mike_M
      May 13, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      You mean besides Google, Apple and the NSA?

    • Philip Bates
      May 15, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      That might be intended as a rhetorical question, I dunno, but as Aibek and Mike note, that's a big grey area, I'm afraid.

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