Google has begun to more widely roll out the Locked Folder feature, which allows Android users to locally store sensitive images and videos, that was previously only available on Pixel smartphones.
Google first revealed the beta stage of the Locked Folder feature for Google Photos back in 2020, however, now it has been made accessible on some non-Pixel Android devices, too, as reported by The Verge.
The company first released the feature to help users maintain privacy when sharing their personal devices with other family members or friends. The Locked Folder allows users to securely save photos and videos directly from the camera and makes them accessible only with a passcode or a biometrics login.
For additional security, even if the app is running in the background, it asks for the login to be re-entered if a user opens it. Keeping sensitive images or videos in a secure folder, users don’t have to worry about sharing their devices with others who may scroll through the files on the device.
The feature can be accessed through the “Utilities” section in the “Library” tab. The files uploaded in the Locked Folder are stored locally and won’t appear on the cloud or in the Google Photos library. Also, any files stored in the folder will be lost if the user changes to a new device or uninstalls Google Photos, according to SamMobile.
Although Google initially highlighted a more wholesome use for the feature, such as parents keeping their important files secure when kids play on their smartphones, Eric Ravenscraft, a freelance tech writer, pointed out that the new release will likely be used to securely store adult material.
“Of course, Google execs can’t exactly be expected to stand up on stage at an ostensibly family-friendly event and give a tech demo about how to secure nude photos,” Ravenscraft writes. “What is odd is how much the rest of us follow suit, pretending that we’re really concerned if a friend happens to see a photo of our Wi-Fi password.”
The Locked Folder feature should be available to Android 6 and later versions. Google has also announced the feature will be available to iOS users early next year.