The pros and cons of password protecting your Google Photos

By - Dan Millward

Published -

There must have been a time when you’ve been showing your work colleagues photos on your phone. Where you’ve been hesitant to pass the phone over in case they see images you’d rather them not see.

Refusing to pass over your phone will immediately make people think you’ve got something to hide. It could also put you in an uncomfortable position. An even worse situation would be where you did give someone your phone to look at some holiday snaps and they’ve come across photos you’d prefer them not to see.

This is something that can be a problem for many people because we all have images that we’d rather keep private. Because we use our phones for just about everything it holds information about nearly everything we do in life.

The benefits of uploading photos to Google Drive

The good news is you can put any sensitive photos in a password-protected folder. However, before you go ahead and start looking into this there are some things you need to know first.

Google Photos is a great tool because it allows you to automatically backup your photos. You can set it so all of your camera shots are backed up to Google Photos. The main reason for doing this is to ensure these photos are not lost if you ever damage or lose your phone.

Chromebooks do not have a password protected folder when using Google Photos
Google photos on a Chromebook do not have a password-protected folder

Even if you don’t lose your phone. It’s a great way to have photos backed up, so you don’t need to worry about any photos on your phone when you decide to upgrade. This is one of the main benefits, and it also means you can then access those photos from any of your devices. This means you can view your photos on your Android phone, Chromebook or any other device where you’ve installed Google Photos.

A password-protected folder loses some of these benefits

The whole idea of a password-protected folder on Google photos is about privacy. If you decide to move photos into your private folder these files will no longer be backed up in the cloud. They will be available on the device you’re using via Google Photos, but they will not be backed up to the cloud.

Therefore, if your photos are something you wish to keep, you must back them up in another location if you’re worried about them being lost on your device. Any images or videos in your private folder are stored directly on your device.

If you lose your device or even uninstall Google Photos the images will be lost for good. Your photos are protected by your device. Therefore, if you want to access your private photos you would be asked to enter your phone’s pin. If you forget your pin for whatever reason you’ll also lose access to the files.

Password-protected images will not be used by other devices

One advantage of password-protecting your images is that they will not be used on other devices. If you’ve set up your Google Home to show your Google Photos. You may not want all of your photos to show on this device.

Google Hub Max will not show images in password protected folder
Photos in a protected folder will not show up on your Google Hub Max

One way of doing this is to put any sensitive or private photos in your password-protected folder. Also, any images that are protected will not be available when you choose to share photos inside other apps.

You cannot use a password-protected folder on your Chromebook

The functionality to use a password-protected folder in Google Photos is only possible on an Android phone or tablet. You do not have the same option when using a Chrome OS device. You can still use Google Photos on your Chromebook, but you’ll not find an option to put any of those images behind a protected folder.

Because protected folders are stored on your device. It also means you would not be able to view any files stored in a protected folder on your phone on your Chromebook.

It’s important to remember you’ve used a protected folder

Although protecting your sensitive images using a secure folder is a good idea. You’ve also got to be careful because it can be really easy to lose those photos in the future. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by simply forgetting you have a secure folder.

If for some reason you need to remove Google Photos from the device where the images are stored. If you forgot you had a protected folder, which I think could be really easy to do. Then you would have unfortunately lost those images for good.

You may not even realise this until you decide to go down memory lane one day and notice you have images that are missing. To find out more take a look at this article from Google.

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