Google Photos’ Locked Folder feature, which lets you hide sensitive photos and videos from your main library and secure them in a passcode- or biometric-protected folder, is coming to all devices running Android 6 and above. The feature was released exclusively on newer Pixel phones in June. Google hasn’t provided an exact date for when the feature is releasing more widely, noting only that it’s “rolling out soon.”
When it announced the feature onstage at Google I/O in May, Google gave the wholesome example of the feature being used by parents hiding photos of a newly purchased puppy from their children. But I think it’s fair to say that most people are going to have very different photos stored in their Locked Folder. I don’t know about you, but in all the times I’ve had to wrench my phone out of someone’s hand to stop them scrolling through my photos, it’s never been because of a puppy picture.
You set up a Locked Folder by going to Library > Utilities > Locked Folder in the Google Photos app. Then, existing photos can be manually moved to the folder. The Pixel camera app is able to save new shots directly into the folder when taken, but it’s unclear whether this feature will also be available for other Android camera apps. Note that any images saved in a Locked Folder won’t be backed up to the cloud.
The wide launch of Locked Folders was announced as part of a host of new features coming to Android this fall. Other new features include the ability to use Android phones as remotes for Google TV and Android TV OS devices, as well as new Android Auto and accessibility features.