Android: How to keep photos and videos safe

Android: How to keep photos and videos safe

Do you have important photos or videos on your smartphone? We will show you how to protect you from unauthorized access. […]

Do you have sensitive pictures or videos on your Android smartphone? You should consider keeping them safe from prying eyes, whether your collection consists of makeshift scans of tax records, vaccination documents, or personal videos.

A secured folder requires additional verification – usually a PIN or biometric data such as a fingerprint – to gain access. On Samsung phones, this feature is known as the “Safe Folder”. On Pixels and selected other Android phones, you can use the locked folder of Google Photos for the same purpose.

The setup takes only a few minutes. That’s how it works.

How to set up Samsung’s Secure Folder

The “Secure Folder” feature is available on higher Samsung phones starting from the S6. You know that your phone does not support this feature if you do not find the option in the settings.

To enable this feature, open the “Settings” app and then select “Biometrics and Security”. Then tap on Secure Folder.

After agreeing to the terms and signing in with a Samsung or Google account, you will see the Create Secure Folder screen. This is followed by a second screen asking you to select a lock type for the folder. A password is the most secure, followed by a PIN and a pattern. You can also enable biometric unlocks.

After this screen, a screen will appear asking you to select a method to block access to the secure folder (c) PCWorld

The Secure Folder now allows you to move not only sensitive photos and videos, but also other types of files. You can also add files directly to the Secure folder and install applications. The latter is convenient if, for example, you want to prevent others from knowing where you are doing your banking. They are located, as it were, in a separate sandbox, the data from which is stored separately from the rest of the device.

By default, the data in the Secure Folder is not backed up to the cloud – you have to set that up yourself. In the Safe folder, go to Settings > Backup and Restore. You need a Samsung account to set up backups (both automatic and manual).

The view inside the Secure folder. It works a bit like a separate cell phone in your cell phone (c) PCWorld

How to set up the locked folder in Google Photos

The main advantage of Google over Samsung is that the locked folder is also available for phones that are not from Samsung, with device support expanding more and more. However, Google Photos only supports photos and videos, and anything in your locked folder will only be stored on your phone. (For other file types, you need to use the secure folder in Google Files).

This means that files in your locked folder will not be synced to the cloud if you have enabled automatic backups in Google Photos. You will lose these photos if you delete your phone, uninstall the Google Photos app, or delete the app’s data. You will have to manually upload them to a service as long as they are outside your locked folder. If you prefer cloud synchronization with locked access for selected files, you can try OneDrive and its Personal Vault feature instead.

You may see this Locked folder setup prompt at the top of your utility menu. You can click Get Started or follow the instructions below (c) PCWorld

To set up the locked folder, open the Google Photos app. Tap Library at the bottom of the screen, then tap Utilities in the upper right corner. Locate the Locked folder and tap on it to start the setup process, where you will see, among other things, the option You repeat the same navigation to access your locked folder later.

When your locked folder is ready, you can transfer your photos and videos by long pressing on the files, selecting them, tapping on the icon with the three dots at the top right of the screen and selecting Move to locked folder.

You can quickly add multiple photos or videos to the locked folder from the main screen of Google Photos (c) PCWorld

Pixel smartphones (Pixel 3 and newer) can also take photos or videos directly to the locked folder. In the camera app, tap the folder icon in the upper right corner of the screen, and then select Locked Folder. Everything you record is stored directly in this folder, so it takes fewer steps to protect your privacy.

*Alaina Yee reports on desktop PCs, computer components, mini PCs and more for PCWorld. Your Favorite Item is an annual item that combines your two passions: bargain hunting and PC building.

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