Google’s Locked Folder feature, which allows you to password-protect specific images or videos to keep them from showing up in your main photo library, is available in the latest Pixel update, according to 9to5Google. Google’s page explaining Locked Folder says the feature is only currently available on Pixel devices, starting with the 3. When it announced the feature at its I/O conference, Google said that it would be coming to other Android phones “throughout the year.”
If you’ve got an updated Pixel, you can set up the Locked Folder by going to Photos, then to Library > Utilities > Locked Folder. Once it is set up, this is where you’ll be able to see your secret stuff.
There is some amount of trade-off between privacy and convenience
You’re able to move existing photos to the Locked Folder, which will remove them both from your regular library and from any existing Memories that the picture may appear in. It’s worth noting that, according to Google, you can’t back up any photos or videos in the Locked Folder, so there is some amount of trade-off between privacy and convenience. Anything in the Locked Folder can, however, be moved out of it if you no longer need to keep it private.
Google’s support page also explains that you can even set the camera to save captured images directly to the Locked Folder, keeping them from ever going into your normal library. This could be useful if, for example, you were at a protest and wanted to make sure any pictures you took weren’t available to anyone else who might get hold of your phone. Or, for a more obvious example, if you were taking some spicy selfies you wanted to keep private.
Locked Folder is included as part of the June Pixel update, which is rolling out to phones now. According to 9to5Google, the update also includes the ability to ask Google Assistant to answer or reject a call, take astrophotography videos (on the Pixel 4 and newer), and an improvement to Gboard that places key details (like a phone number) in your keyboard’s suggestion strip after you’ve copied the text to your clipboard.