Google Photos locked folder has a limitation you need to know about

Google Photos locked folder has a limitation you need to know about

The new “Locked Folder” feature in Google Photos is a great way to protect images from prying eyes. Turns out, the feature includes a limitation that Google didn’t mention at I/O 2021: Locked Folder is local, which means it won’t sync across multiple devices.

Android Police has confirmed that Locked Folder in Google Photos is only available locally. Google hasn’t said if it will introduce the ability to sync photos in your Locked Folder, but it seems unlikely.

“As soon as you move images to [Locked Folder] from your Photos library, they’re deleted from your Photos cloud storage and solely live in a protected environment on your phone (though it can take up to 30 minutes for them to disappear from all of your Photos-connected devices),” Android Police said. “That means that once you lose or break your phone, you lose access to these images permanently.”


If you missed it, Locked Folder in Google Photos was recently announced alongside host of other security features. The feature allows users to create a locked folder that’s protected by biometric authentication (either your fingerprint or passcode). You can put anything you want in the folder, including sensitive documents, images, and more.

By creating a locked folder you can let people scroll through your camera roll without worrying about someone seeing anything scandalous. And if you lose your device, your sensitive documents and images won’t fall into the wrong hands. It’s a little surprising it took Google this long to implement a locked folder feature, but it’s certainly a welcome addition.

Other companies, including OnePlus and Samsung, have offered similar features for a few years. Apple also allows users to hide images in their camera roll, which can sync between devices. However, there’s no way to add biometric authentication before opening the folder, which seems like an oversight on Apple’s part.

Locked Folder in Google Photos is launching first on Pixel devices and will come to more Android devices throughout the year.

About author

Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.

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