Why (and How) You Should Set Up a Locked Folder in Google Photos on Android

Did you know that Google Photos on Android now has the option to create a locked folder? Why do you even want this? Consider this: Over the past two years, millions of people around the world have received COVID vaccines and have been given cards to show as proof. You may not want to carry this card with you (for its own safety). Alternatively, you can take a picture of the card so that you have a digital copy on hand.

However, you may not want anyone to have access to this information. For such an image, you can also set up a locked folder in Google Photos on Android and take that image away for safekeeping. Once you do that, the only way to view that image is via the default screen unlock authentication (like a fingerprint scanner).

There is, of course, a warning for using a closed folder. No photo or video stored within this folder is backed up to your cloud account. So choose the photos/videos you want to lock wisely.

I will explain how to set up a locked folder in Google Photos on Android 12 running on Pixel 6 Pro. This process should work similarly, regardless of the device, as long as you are using Android 12.

Create locked folder

Open Google Photos on your Android device. from the main window (shape 1), click Utilities.

shape 1


Google Photos main window on Android 12.

in the resulting window (Figure 2), click Set up closed folder.

Figure 2


Google Photos Utilities section on Android 12.

From now on, Android does not allow taking screenshots (because this is a sensitive area), so you just have to follow the instructions closely (don’t worry, you can’t do anything).

On the next screen, tap Setup in the lower right corner of the screen. You will then be asked to authenticate, using your default method (eg fingerprint, face scan, PIN or pattern). After successfully authenticating, you will be greeted with a window that says Nothing here after and a Move Items button. Click Move Items to open the file picker, where you can select any of the photos you want to add to your locked folder.

Tap to select the photo(s) you want to move to the locked folder, then tap Move at the top right of the screen (Figure 3).

Figure 3


It seems that the file picker is not a sensitive area in Android.

You will be asked again to authenticate yourself. Then, Android will present you with a final warning stating:

  • Related images (including copies and edited versions) will not be transferred.
  • Items will be deleted if Google Photos is uninstalled.

Click Continue, then Move (when prompted), and the Photos app will create the Locked Folder and add the selected photos.

Access the locked folder

Now that you have created the locked folder and added photos/videos, how do you access it? basic. Open Google Photos, click Utilities, and scroll to the bottom of the page, where you will see the entry for the locked folder (Figure 4).

Figure 4


The “locked folder” entry is located in the “Google Folder Tools” section.

Click this entry, and once you have successfully authenticated yourself, you will be shown all the photos and videos you have added to the locked folder.

Use this feature wisely and it will keep prying eyes away from your most sensitive photos. I highly recommend this feature to anyone who keeps pictures of things like driver’s license, credit cards, vaccination cards, and other such items. Additional protection could prevent someone from stumbling upon any information you don’t want them to see.

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