How To Lock iPhone Photos Behind Face ID In iOS 16



iOS 16 allows you to keep your private photos securely locked behind Face ID and Touch ID. Here’s how to set it up…


With iOS 16, Apple has finally added a modern security feature to the Photos app that will allow users to keep their photos more secure and private. iPhones that can run iOS 16 and later now offer users the ability to lock select albums in the Photos app behind Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode.

This is a massive improvement to operating systems earlier than iOS 15, which only allows users to store photos in a Hidden album – which could be easily accessed by anyone who was using your phone.

Here’s what you need to know about the new lockable albums feature of the Photos app in iOS 16…

How To Lock iPhone Photos Behind Face ID In iOS 16
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Why Would You Want To Put A Lock On Photos?

Some people don’t see the point of Apple adding lockable albums to the Photos app in iOS 16. After all, they reason, no one can get into your iPhone if it’s already locked and they don’t have the passcode.

The problem with that logic is it supposes no one ever grants a friend, partner, child, or spouse access to their iPhone to, say, use it quickly to make a call or look up something on the Internet.

Before iOS 16, if anyone had access to your unlocked phone, they could browse every photo in your Photos app – even if their biometrics weren’t registered to your phone and if they didn’t know you PIN.

But iOs 16 changes that. Now the Photos app allows you to lock your Recently Deleted album and Hidden album behind Touch ID, Face ID, or a passcode.

“What Do You Have To Hide?”

The “What do you have to hide?” argument is also a common refrain used when debating why lockable albums in the Photos app are important. This argument presupposes people who want to enable more security for their photos have something to hide – in other words, they have photos that are illegal.

But there are plenty of reasons people may want to hide perfectly legal photos from others who have access to their unlocked iPhone. Examples include:

  • Intimate photos of your partner.
  • Photos that are medical-related: such as picture you took of an injury or odd bump on your body that you want to show to your doctor.
  • Photos you’ve taken of gifts or other surprises you don’t want anyone to see until after the gift or surprise is revealed.

These are just a few examples, but you get the point.

How To Lock Photos Albums Behind Face ID or Touch ID On iPhone

Apple has made locking photos behind Face ID or Touch ID on iOS 16 really easy. However, there are only two albums that are lockable behind Face ID or Touch ID. They are:

  • The Hidden album.
  • The Recently Deleted Album.

Why these two? Well, for the Hidden album, you obviously don’t want people seeing any photos you place in that (hence the name).

As for the Recently Deleted album, Apple knows people might quickly delete a photo they don’t want anyone to see. But those same people might now always think to empty the Recently Deleted album (it automatically deleted photos permanently 30 days after they were in the album). That’s why in iOS 16 you can also lock this album, too.

Here’s how to lock Photos albums behind Face ID or Touch ID in iOS 16 or later:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Photos.
  3. Next to where it says “Use Face ID” or “Use Touch ID” toggle the switch to ON (green).

And that’s it! Now in the Photos app, you’ll need to authenticate with Face ID or Touch ID to unlock the Hidden and Recently Deleted albums.

And check out:

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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