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)
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).
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 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)
A divisive app that basically does everything you want it to; though some have found it unreliable. We’ve also reviewed the Android version, 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)
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.
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.