23.7 C
New York
Thursday, June 20, 2024

How to Create a Secure Folder on Your Phone

The lock screen on your smartphone is an essential barrier to anyone looking to gain access to the device: It stops people from getting at your data, your social media accounts, your banking apps, and everything else.

However, you may well want to add a second barrier to entry for anyone who gets past your lock screen—whether it’s friends or relatives who have borrowed your phone, or someone more sinister who’s managed to work out how to bypass the lock screen.

In those situations, a secure folder can protect your most important files—such as photos or documents—from prying eyes, requiring another authentication method such as a PIN code or a recognized fingerprint before it will open up.

There are options built into Android and iOS, as well as third-party apps you can turn to if you want to set up a secure folder of some sort on your smartphone.

If You’re Using an Android Phone

The good news if you’re using a midrange or premium Samsung Galaxy handset is that there’s a Secure Folder feature built in. To enable it, go to Settings and choose Biometrics and Security, then Secure Folder: You’ll be prompted to create a Samsung account or sign into an existing one, and then you’ll be able to choose your lock method. You can protect the folder with a pattern, PIN, password, or fingerprint scan.

The Secure Folder appears on the home screen by default, though you can hide it through the same Secure Folder menu in Settings—no one else will be able to get into that folder without the login method you’ve specified. When you’re in the Secure Folder, you can add files by tapping the + (plus) button.

Another way to get files into your Secure Folder is from the apps they're already in. In the Samsung Gallery app, for example, you can select one or more images, tap the More button in the lower right corner, then pick Move to Secure Folder. If you need to delete your Secure Folder, go back to the Secure Folder menu in Settings.

Most PopularBusinessThe End of Airbnb in New York

Amanda Hoover

BusinessThis Is the True Scale of New York’s Airbnb Apocalypse

Amanda Hoover

CultureStarfield Will Be the Meme Game for Decades to Come

Will Bedingfield

GearThe 15 Best Electric Bikes for Every Kind of Ride

Adrienne So

Other options on Android are available, but the best one depends on what you want to protect. If you want to lock away sensitive photos and videos in Google Photos, for example, the feature is built right in: From the app, pick Library, Utilities, then Get Started under Locked Folder. Follow the instructions, which will involve entering your screen lock code.

Images and videos in the Locked Folder won’t show up in searches or on other screens, and aren’t backed up to the cloud. You can send files straight there from the Google Camera app (gallery icon top right, then Locked Folder) or from the photo gallery in Google Photos (select your items, tap More, then Move to Locked Folder).

If none of those options cover your needs, there are plenty of third-party options available, as you would expect. For example, OneDrive for Android has a Personal Vault space that needs an extra level of authentication to access, though you’ll need to pay Microsoft for some cloud storage space if you want to save more than three files in it.

There’s also the free Norton App Lock, which takes a slightly different approach. It lets you lock away entire apps behind a passcode—not only protecting your files from unwanted access but locking away entire apps. It’s also a handy app to have around if you’re regularly lending your phone to other people and want to control which parts of the device they have access to.

If You’re Using an iPhone

The iPhone doesn’t have any kind of secure-folder functionality integrated into its iOS software, but there is a Hidden folder inside the Photos app that you can move private photos and videos to. Select any item in one of the Photos app galleries, tap on the Share button (the arrow pointing out of a square), and choose Hide to do just that.

At the time of writing, this isn’t really all that effective a protection method, because anyone can just go to Albums and Hidden to see what you’ve put there. However, with the arrival of iOS 16 (which we’re expecting in September 2022 or thereabouts), this folder will need to be unlocked with a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.

Most PopularBusinessThe End of Airbnb in New York

Amanda Hoover

BusinessThis Is the True Scale of New York’s Airbnb Apocalypse

Amanda Hoover

CultureStarfield Will Be the Meme Game for Decades to Come

Will Bedingfield

GearThe 15 Best Electric Bikes for Every Kind of Ride

Adrienne So

Another option is to use the Notes app, which lets you lock individual notes with text, images, and videos inside them. First, go to Settings on iOS, then choose Notes and Password to set a password specifically for the Notes app. Once that’s done, you can lock a note and put it behind the password you’ve configured by opening the note, tapping the three dots at the top, then choosing Lock.

Other than that, you’re relying on a third-party app to do the job for you—and you can try OneDrive, as we mentioned in the Android section. The Personal Vault section comes with another layer of security on top, so even if someone gets into the OneDrive app, they won’t be able to access that folder in particular without extra authentication.

Folder Lock is straightforward enough, giving you a sealed-off section of your iPhone that no one else can get inside without the right credentials—you can save notes, videos, images, documents, and audio files, though some of the more advanced features require a $4 upgrade fee.

Best Secret Folder is perhaps even simpler to use, and gives you a password-protected place to lock away photos and videos that you don’t want anyone else to see. You get a decent number of options for organizing said photos and videos, and you can even check on failed login attempts should you suspect that someone is trying to get at your files without your permission. It’s free to try, with various paid options for removing ads and unlocking additional features.

Lastly, MaxVault is also worth a look. You can keep a wealth of data in your PIN-protected MaxVault folder, including photos, videos, documents, and passwords—and getting items into your folder only takes a couple of taps. There’s even a privacy-focused web browser included that you can make use of, and it also alerts you if someone else tries to get at your data. Some of the features require a premium upgrade, which will cost you $4 a month.

Related Articles

Latest Articles