Chances are good that you have some photos on your Mac that you don’t want other people to see. Typically, photos on Mac are stored in the Photos library and viewed in the Photos app. One can also store and view photos using the Finder. Either way, people with access to your Mac can easily access and view your photos. If you know how to password protect photos on Mac, you can prevent this. This article will show you 5 ways on how to lock photos on Mac, be it a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini or Mac Pro.
Applies to: macOS Sierra or later, including macOS Ventura
You can easily and effectively lock the Photos app using Cisdem AppCrypt, the best app locker and website blocker for Mac. Once locked, Photos can be opened only by you. This way, your photos are protected and can’t be viewed by others.
1. Download and install AppCrypt.
2. When you open this photo locker for the first time, set a password. It’s recommended to select the Launch at System Startup checkbox.
3. Click the lock icon in the menu bar and choose Open Main Window.
4. Enter the password and you will see the main window.
5. Under the App Lock tab, click the Add button .
6. To lock Photos on Mac, select Photos and click Open.
Alternatively, in step 6, you can directly drag Photos into the App Lock tab.
Now Photos is locked with password. When one tries to open it, it won’t open, and a dialog box will pop up asking for password. To unlock Photos on Mac, one needs to know the correct password.
|Enter the correct password||Photos unlocked.|
|Enter an incorrect password||
Photos still locked.
AppCrypt records the failed attempt and takes a photo of the person trying to intrude (if you have enabled photo taking in Preferences).
If you want to remove the lock from Photos, under the App Lock tab, select Photos and then press the Delete key.
It requires the password to unlock Photos, remove the lock, and quit/uninstall AppCrypt. If you have selected the Launch at System Startup checkbox, Photos on your Mac will always be protected.
Applies to: macOS Ventura only
If your Mac is running macOS Ventura, then the Photos app on your Mac provides a way to password protect photos.
1. In Photos on Mac, select the photos that you want to lock. To lock all photos, just select all of them.
2. Perform a control-click and choose Hide Photos.
3. In the message that appears, click Hide. Now the selected photos are in the Hidden album.
4. In the Photos menu bar, choose Settings.
5. Under the General tab, go to the Privacy section. Select the Use Password checkbox or the Use Touch ID or password checkbox, depending on your device and settings.
Now, in the sidebar, a lock icon appears next to the Hidden album (and also the Recently Deleted album). If a person clicks the Hidden album, the Enter Your Password to View This Album message will appear. If this person clicks the View Album button below this message, he or she will be prompt to enter the password.
To unlock photos, you yourself also have to enter the password. If your Mac has Touch ID, you can also unlock with Touch ID, which is much easier.
By the way, the same method can help people lock photos on iPhone.
Applies to: macOS High Sierra or later
The two methods above are about how to lock photos on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and iMac etc. by locking Photos app or an album in it.
This method is about how to put a lock on your photos using a photo vault app. Below I will show you how to use an app called F-Vault to make a secret photo vault to hide and protect photos.
1. Download and install F-Vault.
2. The first time you open it, set a password. If you want, you can set an email to recover the password in case you forget the password.
3. Now you are presented with the Default vault. If you want, you can rename it to “photo vault for Mac” or something else.
4. To lock your Photos library, go to Mac’s Pictures folder and drag your library into the said vault. To lock a folder containing your personal photos, drag the folder into the vault.
5. When asked if you’d like to delete the original files, click Delete. Or, you can manually delete the Photos library and folder in Finder.
Now the photos on your Mac are locked in the vault. The Photos library is hidden and protected. When you or someone else tries to open the Photos app, it won’t open normally because the library can’t be accessed. The folder containing your photos is also hidden and inaccessible, and other people can’t see or search for the photos in it.
If you have multiple libraries for Photos and want to protect all of them with password, you can drag them all into the vault.
To unlock your photos, open F-Vault (which requires entering the password) and drag your library and folder from the vault back to where they used to be.
Note: If you are locking photos on MacBook with Touch ID, you can unlock with fingerprint, which is more convenient. To enable it, go to F-Vault’s Preferences and turn on Enable Touch ID.
Applies to: All macOS versions
Instead of using a photo vault, you can also prevent access to your personal photos on Mac using Disk Utility, a free utility included with macOS. This method is less straightforward.
1. On your Mac, go to Finder and find your Photos library in the Pictures folder.
2. Create a folder in the Pictures folder and move your library into the new folder.
3. Open Disk Utility. In the top menu bar, select File > New Image > Image from Folder.
4. Select the folder that you have just created. Click Choose.
5. Set a filename and select the destination location.
6. Click the Encryption dropdown menu and choose 128-bit AES encryption (recommended). Set a password.
7. Click the Image Format menu and choose the read/write option (or a different option based on your need).
8. Click Save. And Disk Utility will start creating an encrypted disk image, which can take seconds, minutes or longer, depending on the number of photos.
9. When the process is done, go to the Pictures folder and delete the folder (including the Photos library within it) created in Step 2.
Now the photos on your Mac are locked in the encrypted disk image (with the extension .dmg). It won’t be possible to view the photos in your library anymore until you remove the lock.
Here’s how to unlock photos and make them accessible again. Double-click the disk image, enter password and click OK. In Finder’s left sidebar, click the disk image under the Devices section. Move your Photos library into Mac’s Pictures folder.
If your Mac is running macOS Catalina 10.15 or later, you can use the built-in Screen Time to help lock Photos app on Mac in order to keep your photos private from snooping eyes. But this method isn’t that effective.
1. Open Screen Time in System Preferences or via Spotlight. If it is not yet enabled on your Mac, go to Options and turn it on.
2. Select the box before Use Screen Time Passcode and set a passcode. It will be used to lock your Photos.
3. In the left sidebar, choose App Limits. Click Turn On in the top right corner to enable App Limits. Click the plus icon in the lower left corner.
4. Expand the Creativity category and select Photos.
5. Set the minimum time limit of 1 minute on Photos for every day. Enable the option Block at end of limit.
Now open your Photos app for 1 minute. And a message will show up letting you know that the limit is reached. Screen Time is now locking Photos with the passcode. If anyone wants to access it, he or she will need to enter the passcode.
With this method, your Mac allows you (or someone else) to unrestrictedly access Photos for 1 minute. Therefore, you need to open Photos for 1 minute on a daily basis to trigger Screen Time to password protect Photos on Mac.
Note: Apple introduced the “One more minute” option for Screen Time in an update. If your Mac has this option, then this method doesn’t help much because extra access to your Photos is allowed without having to entering the passcode.
Apple’s Photos, which is available on Mac and iPhone, provides a feature to hide photos, helping users keep their photos private.
1. Open Photos on Mac.
2. Select one or more photos that you want to hide from others. Control-click and select Hide Photos.
3. In the dialog box that appears, click Hide Photos. And the photos will go to the Hidden album.
4. Now you need to hide the Hidden album too. To do so, go to the View menu and choose Hide Hidden Photo Album.
This feature only hides photos and probably won’t prevent those who are Mac savvy. If you want to password protect hidden photos or lock photo albums, you can consider the methods described above.
Nevertheless, the Hide Photos feature can be useful. For example, it allows you to show someone your photo collection without letting him or her see certain photos.
In addition to potential snoopers, you may also want to protect your photos from apps. Some apps may want to use your photos in order to offer certain features. If so, they will ask you for access, you can deny it. If this has already happened, you can stop the access.
1. In your Mac’s System Preferences, go to Security & Privacy.
2. Go to the Privacy tab.
3. Select Photos in the sidebar.
4. Select an app and then click Quit Now to remove access.
Now the access to your photos is stopped.
Apple Photos allows you to create additional photo libraries. You can create a new library on an external hard drive with encryption function.
1. On your Mac, press and hold the Option key and open Photos by clicking.
2. Click Create New.
3. Import the photos that you want to protect into the new Photos library.
4. Once you finish importing, connect your external hard drive with encryption to your Mac. Move the new library into it.
5. Eject the external drive.
Now your private photos are safe and locked away in the encrypted drive. No one but you is able to view them.
When you are away from your Mac, it’s possible for your colleagues, family, friends or others to open Photos and view all your pictures and videos. You can hide or lock the secret photos, depending on the level of privacy you need. In the article, I talk about the common methods on how to lock photos on Mac. I hope they are helpful. Some of the methods can also lock images stored in a Mac folder.
Jose specializes in reviews, how-to guides, top lists, etc. on PDF, data recovery and multi-media. On his spare time, he likes to travel or challenge some extreme sports.
Great sharing! I can lock my photos app and protect my privacy on my mac.
I'm not very computer savvy. The first method is straightforward and useful. It's the best for me.
Installed program a few days ago. Does a better job than using extensions or at least just as well. Thanks, great post! <3. Now I know how to lock photos on mac!!
I love Cisdem AppCrypt. It makes everything much faster and easier. Hope to develop more features in future.
Really amazing app. Gave me exactly what I wanted. :)
I was going to consider buy the AppCrypt but then I noticed that it's so easy for anybody to just close eject the Appcrypt and then they can by pass typing a password. That's a flaw or am I missing something here
Dear Ra God Bz,The only one reason why ejecting AppCrypt without password is that you have removed one of the four system applications which include Activity Monitor, System Preferences, Console and Terminal from the block list.
I noticed that AppCrypt has been updated to v3.0, it is wonderful. I bought this app before, so i can update the app to the new version without any cost. Thanks.
I have many apps that i want to lock. I tried appcrypt, it really worked, i am going to buy one lifetime license.
I have some private photos in my Mac, i really hate someone seeing my photos,but my brother always does so. AppCrypt pulls me out of the dilemma. Thanks.