Do you keep sensitive photos or videos on your Android smartphone? You should consider protecting it from prying eyes, whether your collection consists of temporary scans of tax documents, vaccination records, or personal videos.
Secure Folder requires additional verification – usually a PIN or biometric data such as a fingerprint – to gain access. This feature on Samsung phones is known as Secure Folder. On Pixels and select other Android phones, you can use the Locked Folder in Google Photos for the same purpose.
Setup only takes a few minutes. Here’s how.
How to set up Samsung Secure Folder
Secure Folder is available on high-end Samsung phones dating back to the S6 – you’ll know your phone doesn’t support the feature if you don’t see the option in settings.
To activate this feature, open the Settings app, then select Biometrics and security. Then press safe folder.
After you agree to the terms and sign in with your Samsung or Google account, the Create Secure Folder screen will appear. A second screen will follow asking you to choose a lock type for the folder. The password is the most secure, followed by the PIN, then the pattern. You can also enable biometric unlocks.
You can now use Secure Folder to not only move over sensitive photos and videos, but other file types as well. You can also add files directly to the secure folder, as well as install apps – the latter is useful if, for example, you want to prevent others from knowing where you bank. You are basically in a separate protection mode that keeps its data stored away from the rest of the device.
By default, nothing in the Secure Folder is backed up to the cloud – you have to set this up yourself. While you are in the Secure Folder, go to Settings > Backup and Restore. You will need a Samsung account to set up backups (automatic and manually).
How to set up locked folder in Google Photos
Google’s main advantage over Samsung is that Locked Folder is available for non-Samsung phones, with device support continuing to expand. However, Google Photos only supports photos and videos, and anything in your locked folder is also stored only on your phone. (For other file types, you’ll need to use the Secure Folder in Google Files.)
This means that if you have automatic backups enabled in Google Photos, any files in your locked folder wont Sync with the cloud. These photos will be lost if you erase your phone, uninstall the Google Photos app, or clear the app’s data. You have to manually upload them to a service when you are outside your locked folder. If you prefer cloud syncing with secure access to specific files, you can try OneDrive and its Personal Vault feature instead.
To set up the locked folder, open the Google Photos app. tap on Library at the bottom of the screen, then in Services in the upper right corner. Find locked folderthen tap it to start the setup process, which will include choosing to repeat the same navigation to access the locked folder later.
After the locked folder is ready, you can move your photos and videos by long pressing and selecting files, clicking on the three-dot icon at the top right of the screen, and selecting Move to locked folder.
Pixel smartphones (Pixel 3 and later) can also take photos or record video directly to the Locked Folder. In the Camera app, tap the folder icon at the top right of the screen, then choose locked folder. Anything you capture will be saved directly to this folder, reducing the number of steps needed to ensure your privacy.