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The smartphone revolution has rendered conventional digital cameras obsolete Are Smartphones the Future of Photography? [You Told Us] Are Smartphones the Future of Photography? [You Told Us] Smartphones are rapidly condemning a multitude of single-purpose devices to a slow descent into pointlessness. Over 50 percent of U.S. consumers now own a smartphone, and their popularity is booming in other parts of the... Read More for the casual photographer. Of course, photography hobbyists still use them, but most people just whip out their phone when they want to capture a scene.

The change has some implications for privacy. On digital cameras, it’s much easier to hide certain photos you don’t want everyone seeing. But these days, everything you shoot ends up in your phone’s photo gallery 4 Great Free Alternative Gallery Apps For Android 4 Great Free Alternative Gallery Apps For Android Don't like the default gallery app on your Android device? Here are some fantastic free alternatives. Read More . A curious set of eyes could easily see images you don’t want them to view.

Perhaps you’ve got snaps of confidential information, gift ideas 20 Gadget Gift Ideas For Geeks 20 Gadget Gift Ideas For Geeks Geeks love gadgets 365 days a year. However, with the holidays approaching, we really need to start compiling our Christmas lists. Read More for a loved one, or just endless memes Memes Are Now Officially Bigger Than Jesus Memes Are Now Officially Bigger Than Jesus Memes are now officially bigger than Jesus, and we actually have the data to back up that claim. Read More you want to remove from your main photo reel. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to hide certain photos and folders from the gallery. Here’s how.

Native Tools

Two mainstream phone manufacturers have built-in privacy tools that can help you hide photos. They are Samsung and LG.

Samsung

On a Samsung device, head to the phone’s Gallery (not Google Photos) and long-press on all the pictures you want to hide.

When you’ve selected them all, tap More in the top right-hand corner and choose Move to Private in the pop-up menu.

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Next, you need to enable Private Mode. Go to Settings > Privacy and Safety > Private Mode. If it’s the first time you’ve used the feature, you’ll be prompted to create a PIN, password, or fingerprint authentication.

When private mode is turned on, you’ll be able to see all the photos you’ve hidden as normal. If it’s turned off, there will be no sign of them in the Gallery; nobody will know they exist.

(Note: You can hide any file or folder on the phone using this method.)

LG

The process on LG handsets is slightly different.

This time, start by heading to Settings > Fingerprints and Security > Content Lock. Once again, the phone will ask you to secure the feature using a PIN, password, or fingerprint scan.

Now go to your phone’s default gallery app. Select all the photos you want to hide and tap Menu > More > Lock. You can also lock entire folders of pictures if you wish.

When you’ve tapped Lock, the photos/folders will vanish from the library. To view them, navigate to Menu > Show Locked Files. Enter your security credentials, and the photos will reappear.

Use a File Manager

If you don’t own a Samsung or LG phone, don’t despair. You still have options available, but the process is slightly more convoluted.

You can either use a file manager to perform some tricks or rely on third-party tools that specialize in hiding content.

Let’s investigate two file manager tricks first.

Create a New Folder

Before you can begin, you need to install a high-quality file manager on your phone. There are lots to choose from; if you’re not sure which one to download, check out our guide to the best file managers in the Play Store The 7 Best Free File Explorers for Android The 7 Best Free File Explorers for Android There are a bunch of file management and file exploring apps out there for Android, but these are the best. Read More .

Once you’ve made a decision and installed a file manager, fire up the app. You need to create a new folder that starts with a period (for example, .PrivateFiles or .Secret).

Next, move all the photos you want to hide into the newly created folder. The method for doing this varies from app to app, but typically long-pressing on the file you want to move will give you the option.

Any files you relocate will no longer show in the gallery app. Without going into too much detail, any folder that begins with a period does not get scanned by the phone’s software.

Create a “.Nomedia” File

If you’ve got hundreds of photos you want to hide, it’s impractical to move them all manually. Instead, it’s easier to create a .nomedia file in the folders you want to obscure.

If your phone sees a .nomedia file in a folder, it won’t load the folder’s contents when it scans your directory.

To create the file, you’ll still need a third-party file manager app. Use it to navigate to the folder you want to hide and create a new file in the directory called .nomedia (make sure you include the period). The file does not need to have any contents — the filename is the important part.

To reverse the process, just delete the .nomedia file.

(Warning: While both these methods hide content from the photo library, the images will still be visible in any file manager. They are not password-protected.)

Third-Party Apps

If fiddling around in a file manager app ES File Explorer: Is It the Best File Manager for Android? ES File Explorer: Is It the Best File Manager for Android? Is EF File Explorer the best option for viewing and managing the files on your Android device? Read More sounds too cumbersome, you can use a third-party app that specializes in hiding photos.

Here are three of the best:

1. Vaulty

Vaulty has established itself as the leading app for hiding content. 93 percent of its 320,000 reviewers have awarded it either four or five stars.

It comes with its own photo gallery. Any photos you lock are only viewable within it. The gallery also lets you create multiple vaults, meaning you can have different sets of photos to show to different people.

All your content is password-protected, and it even backs up your media so it’s safe if you lose your phone.

Download: Vaulty (Free)

2. Keepsafe Vault

Keepsafe Vault is Vaulty’s largest competitor. The feature set is very similar; all your photos are password-protected and encrypted, and you can backup your photos to the app’s cloud storage.

The app also comes with a feature that hides the on-screen icon, meaning no one who picks up your phone will know you’re hiding things.

Lastly, it has a Snapchat-esque feature, letting you share photos with other people using the app that will self-delete after 20 seconds.

Download: Keepsafe Vault (Free)

3. Hide Something

Hide Something is my final recommendation. Once again, you can hide photos behind PINs and passwords, and all your pictures will be backed up on Google Drive.

The app also has a couple of unique features. First, you can save any file or folder on your phone into its vault using the share menu, and second, the app won’t show up in your recently used apps list.

Download: Hide Something (Free)

How do You Hide Photos on Android?

In this article, I’ve shown you an array of tricks and tools for hiding any photos from prying eyes.

It seems strange that the Android operating system doesn’t offer the feature natively; hopefully, it will become part of a future update. However, for now, you’ll have to rely on these various workarounds.

I’d love to know what else you would add to this list. Which tricks do you use? Did I leave out your favorite app? Do you know about some other file manager tricks?

You can leave all your tips and suggestions in the comments below.

Image Credit: Pop Paul-Catalin via Shutterstock.com

Originally written by Angela Randall on April 29th, 2011.

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  1. DusanZ
    July 19, 2017 at 6:45 am

    I found an app that acts like a calculator,but when you type certain four digits pin code,secret gallery pops up.I think this is better that locking your photos with pins.You can try It,It's called "Vault Calculator Hide Pictures",but after installation It will be called Calculator+

  2. TDM
    August 27, 2016 at 9:58 am

    The .nomedia file was the easiest to.. let's say (turn on or off) you just copy the file then delete it if you want to show the folder again....

    i didn't create a file,, i just copied it from the "sent" folder of the whatsapp images folder...

  3. Rebecca
    March 9, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    The dot prefix it great and all, but where's my folder now?

  4. Eben-ezer
    February 25, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    The dot prefixed folder works ike a champ :) thanks :)

  5. Venkata
    January 9, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    I was searching for how to stop showing some private pictures I get on whatsapp. I tried to use the trick to add a dot before the file name but I got a warning message that the name is not valid. I found another easy way. I have file commander app on my android phone. In File commander, I have an option to go "secure mode". Once I enable secure mode, I picked the photo I wanted to hide and it showed me a "lock" button on it. Once I locked it, it disappeared from album. It took me 10 seconds to do it (of course, I researched for 30 minutes..LOL)

  6. Anonymous
    October 8, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Dear Angela,

    This is A GREAT trick to hide photos. Thank you so much.

  7. Anonymous
    July 30, 2015 at 2:23 am

    all i do is this:
    place the files you want hidden for some reason in one folder and compress the folder to zip using ES file explorer.
    then, add .pak as the extension.

    extra protection?
    encrypt the zip file using ES before adding pak extension

  8. reza asadi
    April 6, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I have probem beacuse is use dot for file name. The android meesage. You can nou use dot in first file.

  9. Surendhar S
    January 12, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Thanks for the simple but powerful trick (y). Its exactly what I wanted..

  10. Arpan24x7
    December 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    thanks for your suggestion but if the same image is using in our android application image was hide from application too so is there any solution that we can hide pic from phone gallery as well file manager too..

    A big thanks in advanced...

  11. Banerjee Rajorshi
    June 12, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    plz share few more tricks...

  12. Banerjee Rajorshi
    June 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    superb knowledge... thanks buddy simple and effective.....

  13. Randy Addison
    April 30, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Thanks for the article. Actually, you have a point straight through the basket, Suhel28. Anyways, I'll go ahead and check this out further later.

  14. Anonymous
    April 30, 2011 at 2:37 am

    the .nomedia thing. just make sure you don't make a .nomedia folder in the root of SDCARD becuase it will result into hiding every damn pic on your sdcard. :)

    • Angela Alcorn
      April 30, 2011 at 6:02 am

      Very good point!!