iOS and web users of Google Photos can now access and set up locked folders — a feature that was previously only available to Android users.
Google is also rolling out a backup feature for locked folders, allowing users to access their secret files from any of their devices.
Locked folders give users the option to keep sensitive photos and screenshots safe from any unwanted viewers and while the feature began as a Pixel exclusive — it’s now available to all users.
To set up a locked folder, users need to navigate to the Utilities section of the Photos app where they will see “cards” where the locked folder can be created.
Once that is done, the user can choose whether to back the folder up. It is also very easy to add more images from a photo gallery, simply long press on a file and then tick the checkboxes that appear in the upper left corner.
“We protect this data with multiple layers of security, including leading encryption technology like HTTPS and encryption at rest,” Google spokesperson, Michael Marconi, tells 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.
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, it has since been pointed out that, in reality, the feature is for adult photos.
“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,” writes freelance tech writer Eric Ravenscraft. “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.”