The new Locked Folder in Google Photos will eventually get cloud backup

Google Photos Locked Folder
Google Photos Locked Folder (Image credit: Google)

Update, May 20 (7:25 pm ET): Google clarifies the Locked Folder local storage.

What you need to know

  • A crucial limitation to the Google Photos app has been discovered.
  • Photos placed in the Locked Folder will no longer be available on the cloud.
  • The new feature will be available on Pixel smartphones before rolling out on more Android devices.

During the Google I/O keynote on Tuesday, the company unveiled a new privacy feature in Google Photos called Locked Folder. It allows users to place private or sensitive images in a password-protected space, separate from the rest of their camera roll. It's supposed to be a safe space for your images, although a notable limitation to the feature may have been uncovered.

Android Police discovered that the images placed in the Locked Folder will be removed from the cloud and placed on your local device storage. As noted by the support page, "Cloud backups of these items will be deleted."

It seems like a pretty notable limitation. Google Photos is a primary way for owners of the best Android phones to sync and back up their images. If something were to happen to your device, those images could be gone for good.

The new Locked Folder in Google Photos makes it easier for users to scroll through their gallery without sensitive or private images showing up. Images placed here also won't show up in Memories, search, smart devices like the Nest Hub (2nd Gen), and other apps won't be able to access them. With Google adding new features to make Photos a better place for sensitive documents, the Locked Folder is still a fairly handy feature to have.

The new Locked Folder is only available on Pixel devices from the Google Pixel 3 to the Google Pixel 5. More Android smartphones will have access to the feature at a later date.


After we reached out for clarification, Google told Android Central that the focus was to give users an extra layer of privacy for sensitive images. That said, the company does plan to introduce cloud backup to Locked Folders, which would allow users to access the folder across their devices. Google did not provide a time frame, but the functionality will arrive "in the near future."

Derrek Lee
Managing Editor

Derrek is the managing editor of Android Central, helping to guide the site's editorial content and direction to reach and resonate with readers, old and new, who are just as passionate about tech as we are. He's been obsessed with mobile technology since he was 12, when he discovered the Nokia N90, and his love of flip phones and new form factors continues to this day. As a fitness enthusiast, he has always been curious about the intersection of tech and fitness. When he's not working, he's probably working out.