How to Limit App Access to Photos

If you’ve paid attention to any of Apple’s press conferences and device launches over the past few years, you probably have noticed the company’s new focus on privacy. But instead of just “talking about it” without actually following through, Apple has also been implementing various features and options to help keep your data and information private.

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One recent example of this is with the announcement of iCloud Private Relay, which creates a VPN-like experience right from your iPhone or iPad. Another example is the ability to limit which applications have access to the photos that are stored on your device.

How to Limit App Access to Photos

This functionality was originally introduced with iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, but has been slightly tweaked over the past couple of iOS and iPadOS releases. Previously, the only options you had to limit app access to Photos were to share all of the photos in your library or to completely access them altogether.

Now, you can pick and choose which apps have access to your photos, along with limiting which photos can actually be accessed. It’s rather interesting in the way that Apple implemented this feature and something that we didn’t really think much about until after it debuted.

With that in mind, here’s how you can limit app access to Photos on your iPhone or iPad.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down until you reach the section showing all of your installed apps.
  3. Locate and select the app that you want to limit access to Photo for.
  4. Under the Allow [app name] to access section, tap Photos.
  5. Under the Allow Photos Access section, tap one of the following:
    1. Selected Photos
    2. All Photos
    3. None

In the event that you the app had access to Selected Photos, an Edit Selected Photos button will appear. From here, you are taken to your photo library where you can select which photos you want to share. Once you’ve selected the necessary photos, just tap the Done button in the top right corner.

Apple Continues to Add and Improve Privacy Features

Additionally, Apple makes it so you can go back and edit the selected photos for a specific third-party app after the fact. You can even go so far as to revoke (or provide) access to the entire Photo library if you are using an app like Google Photos, Flickr, or a cloud storage solution.

Apple has implemented quite a few different privacy-focused features in recent years, all in an effort to keep your information as private and secure as possible. There’s even a new Safety Check feature found within iOS 16 that makes it possible for you to “disconnect from people, apps, and devices you no longer want to be connected to.”

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