How to password protect files on iPhone?

To enhance the security of your mobile data, many apps on the phones nowadays come with built-in app locks. In addition to the password, PIN, fingerprint, face recognition for your phone, these apps allow users to setup a separate PIN, password, or biometric authentication and thus provide an extra layer of security to protect your private and confidential files.

iOS comes with the Files app which we can use to manage files and folders on iPhone. However, it doesn’t allow users to make folders private or put a password on files so others can’t see or open them. Fortunately, the native Photos app comes with the Hidden album feature which we can use to hide private photos and videos. What’re more, the stock Notes app can secure and lock notes that have our personal data, like financial details, medical information, etc. And we can even import those confidential files, secret photos, or other private files into a locked note. In this article, we will explain how to password protect files and lock your private photos, videos and other files on iPhone.

Method 1. Lock files in Notes app on iPhone

In Notes app, you can set a password to lock any private notes and you can even import any photo, video into a locked note to keep them hidden. It also allows you to scan a document to PDF and lock them in the secure note which is protected with a password. To lock a note in Notes, open the note you like to protect, tap the More button, then choose Lock from the drop-down menu list. Now, the note and any files or photos within it will be password-protected.

Lock notes on iPhone – iOS 16.7.3

If it was the first time you lock a note or a password has not been set, follow the prompts to either Use iPhone Passcode or Create Password. If you choose to create a notes password, set a password hint. If your device supports it, enable Face ID or Touch ID. Notes app however can’t help users lock a folder so you have to attach photos, videos to notes individually and it makes those files attached to notes difficult to find and manage.

At this moment, you can’t use an app to lock other apps on iPhone. You can however enable password lock in an app to lock itself, and then create private albums or folders within the app. In this way, folders created in the app and those imported files are protected with the app passcode.

There are various third-party apps available on the App Store that specialize in securing files and photos. For example, you can search apps like “photo vault”, “photo lock”, or “secure folder” to find and download one of these apps. Then follow the app’s instructions to import and secure your files and photos.

We have found some file manager apps from the App Store that supports password protection, like Documents by Readdle and Owlfiles app.

Method 2. Hide photos, videos on iPhone

Open Photos and tap the Albums tab. Scroll down and tap Hidden under Utilities. Use Face ID or Touch ID to unlock your Hidden album.

To hide photos or videos in Photos app, simply open the photo or video, then tap the More button(a circle with three dots inside), then choose Hide from the drop-down menu. Confirm that you want to hide the photo or video. After that the selected photo or video will be moved to the Hidden album, so they don’t appear in your Library or other albums.

Hide photos, videos on iPhone
Hide photos, videos on iPhone – iOS 16.7.3

You can even choose not to display the Hidden album in Photos app. Go to Settings > Photos, disable Show Hidden Album so the Hidden album won’t appear in the Albums tab, under Utilities.

Method 3. Lock files in the Documents app

If you haven’t already, download and install the “Documents by Readdle” app from the App Store. We can use its free version to lock files on our iPhone.

The Documents is a file manager app that enables users to organize, view, and manage various types of documents, including PDFs, images, and more. It also provides a built-in web browser for downloading files, a media player, and support for cloud storage services. It allows users to instantly send photos, documents, or entire folders to a nearby iPhone or iPad. You can transfer music, videos, photos or documents from your iPhone or iPad to a Mac or PC and vice versa.

Step 1. Set app lock

Run the Documents app on your iPhone. Tap on the icon (four dots) at the top left corner to access its Control Center.

Documents app (readdle) control center on iPhone
Documents app control center – version 8.10.0

Then choose Security and follow on-screen tips to enable touch ID, create a passkey. The passkey will be requested on each start once you have enabled it. Be careful as there is no way to recover it when you forget it.

Documents app (readdle) security on iPhone
Documents app Security and app passcode lock – version 8.10.0

Step 2. Move files to Documents app

Navigate to My Files tab from the bottom. Tap the + plus button at the bottom. Select New Folder. Enter a name for the new folder, tap Done button. Open the folder you have just created in Documents app. Tap the + plus button at the bottom, you will then find the option to import media files from Photos app or add files from iOS Files app. Once the files have been imported to Documents app, you can go to delete them from the Photos or Files app.

Documents app (readdle) My Files on iPhone
Documents app My Files – version 8.10.0

You can also create folders within folders to better organize your files.

Method 4. Lock files in the Owlfiles app

Owlfiles is powerful file manager app for Mac, iPhone, iPad. You allows you to access files on local storage, server, NAS and cloud storages, transfer files from any location to another, stream movies and music to your mobile or desktop device and even more.

Step 1. Enable password protection

We will need to firstly enable the app password. Run the file manager app on your iPhone. Tap More menu at the bottom.

Owlfiles more settings and tools on iPhone
Owlfiles more settings and tools – version 12.5.1

Select Settings > Set Password. You will then be able to set a password to protect the app and any data inside.

  • Touch the On/Off toggle besides Enable Password to turn on password protection;
  • Type in the same password in both Password and Confirm Password fields;
  • Enable Touch ID so you can unlock the file manager app and all files locked in it with your iPhone Touch ID or disable it so one can only open it with the password you have set above;
  • Create 2 questions and answers for password recovery.

Once you finished the password settings above, tap on Save button at the top right corner to save the change.

Step 2. Create secure folder and protect files

In Owlfiles file manager, switch to My Files tab from the bottom. Tap on the Menu button (three dots icon) at the top right corner, choose New Folder from the drop-down menu, enter a name for the new folder. Open the folder you have just created. Tap the menu button at the top right corner, you will then find the Import Photos and Import Files options which you can use to import media files from Photos app or add files from iOS Files app. Once the files have been imported to the file manager app, you can go to delete them from the Photos or Files app.

Owlfiles manage files on iPhone
Owlfiles manage files on iPhone version 12.5.1

Note that don’t put files into the Owlfiles (On My iPhone) folder as it is accessible from the stock Files app.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *