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Google Photos new ‘Locked Folder’ for private images: Here's how it works

Here's what the Locked Folder feature looks like. 
Here's what the Locked Folder feature looks like.  (Google)

The image-sharing service has introduced a new secure storage for your private photos and videos, which is protected by a PIN or biometric lock – here's how it works. 

Google Photos is the most widely used image storage and sharing service, thanks to automatic image backups for many users enabled by default. While Google is ending support for free and unlimited storage in June, the company is rolling out several new features to the service -- so it can convince users to continue using the service. At Google I/O, the company announced a new “locked folder” to store private images on your phone.

Read more: Google Photos gets a bunch of new features, including a locked folder

Sometimes, we use our smartphone cameras to click images of official documents, or bank details from a passbook, or even a document used for photo verification, or of an intimate moment with a loved one or family member. While Google Photos offers the ability to display and back up all images by default, these are images that most of you would probably prefer to remain on their your, instead of on the cloud.

Google's new Locked Folder feature in action.  
Google's new Locked Folder feature in action.   (Google)

Using the locked folder feature seems like a pretty straightforward affair. You simply select an image and move it to the locked folder, where it will be protected behind a fingerprint – or PIN if you don’t use biometric unlocking. The images in the locked folder will also remain unavailable to any other app on your phone until you “move” it outside the locked folder. On Pixel devices, using the Google Camera will offer the ability to send an image directly to the locked folder, which is very neat.

Read more: Google Photos testing filters to make searching for photos easier

However, this isn’t the first time that such a feature has been introduced on a smartphone. Samsung’s Knox security has offered its “Secure Folder” on Android for nearly half a decade now, which creates a secure partition for you to install apps and copy files to a place where they can’t be accessed without a PIN or biometric lock. Other manufacturers and third party photo gallery apps have offered similar functionality, but it is great to see the feature arrive at the system level and accessible to all Android devices.

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