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Locked Folder for Google Photos has an understandable restriction

Google Photos is getting a Locked Folder feature, but it's only available on your phone's local storage.

Published onMay 20, 2021

  • Google Photos is getting a Locked Folder feature.
  • This will let you hide photos behind a fingerprint or PIN.
  • The feature is restricted to your phone only.

Update: May 20 2021 (7:42 AM ET): We wondered whether Google Photos’ new Locked Folder feature would be accessible on your computer or if it would only be available on your phone. Now, Android Police reports that it’s indeed only available locally on your phone.

This isn’t a surprise really, as cloud storage/computer access would make the Locked Folder feature significantly more complicated. Nevertheless, we’ve seen the likes of Samsung tout cloud backup functionality for its Secure Folder feature, so it doesn’t seem impossible to implement.

Original article: May 18 2021 (2:07 PM ET): Android phones have offered file safe functionality for years now, and Files by Google even offers this feature too. Now, Google has announced at I/O 2021 that it’s bringing a similar feature to Google Photos.

The Locked Folder feature will allow you to store select photos in a secure folder (as the name suggests) behind a fingerprint or PIN code. Check out the GIF below for a look at how it works.

Google Locked Folder gif

“These photos won’t show up as you scroll through your grid or in shared albums,” Google noted in a blog post. Presumably videos can be stored here too, but it’s a nifty addition either way. It’s unclear whether photos in a Locked Folder can be accessed on a computer without requiring a PIN code though, or if the Locked Folder is only available on your phone.

Locked Folder functionality is coming to Pixels first, although Google didn’t clarify when exactly it would be available to these devices. “And on Pixel, you’ll even have the option to save photos and videos directly to your Locked Folder right from the camera,” the company added. We’re not sure how seamless this will be, but we’ve seen OEMs like BlackBerry offer the ability to tap the fingerprint scanner to take a photo and send it directly to a biometric safe.

Don’t have a Pixel phone? Then the search giant says you can expect it to arrive on other Android devices “throughout the year.”

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