Free App Hides Your Private Photos, Videos and Notes

'Best Secret Folder' a good find for those who want extra privacy

Free App Hides Your Private Photos, Videos and Notes

Your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch are ideal for storing and displaying your favourite photos and videos—but what if some are more private than others?

If that's the case, you probably don't carry around these kinds of images and risk them being viewed by over-the-shoulder snoops—or by your kids who like to play games on your device.

But a growing category of apps serves as a digital locker to your media, so you can carry around images and videos you deem "private." Ahem. We'll just leave it at that.

And so I decided to give a free option a spin, called Best Secret Folder. The first thing you'll notice after downloading the app is the icon is not labeled "Best Secret Folder." Instead, it says "My Utilities" and shows a picture of a folder with many different apps in it (as if you grouped them together yourself).

The second layer of protection is a password you need to set up to access your locked photos and videos—plus the app now supports notes, too. You can go with a numeric personal identification number or a pattern to draw in order to open up the app (such as the letter "Z" or "N"). You can also choose to repeat the password or pattern before gaining access to the files.

Third, you can opt for a "dummy screen" that makes it look like your folder is empty when you launch the app. To access your real photo and video library, you'd tap the small "Information" icon in the lower left of the screen.

And there are even more options to further safeguard your private media, including setting up an alarm to catch nosy friends, snapping a photo of those trying to break into the app (with date, time and location stamp) and seeing the number of break-in attempts displayed on the icon itself (such as a red number 2 in the corner).

Once you're in the app, there are a few areas to access: Photos, Videos and Notes. You can tap to add a new folder per area and store as many files as you like in each one. Adding content to a folder is as easy as selecting it from your library or taking a photo or video with the camera at that time. (If it's private, you'd want to then delete the media from your iPad library once it's secured in this app.)

You can also move, rename or delete photos and videos or export them to your library or via e-mail address.

Best Secret Folder is a powerful and free way to protect your private photos and videos. It's easy to use, offers a number of optional levels of security and cleverly blends in with your existing apps.

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Life 75: A Digital Coffee Table Book For iPad

Not perfect, but packed with beautiful photos, engaging text

Life 75: A Digital Coffee Table Book For iPad

To help celebrate Life magazine's 75th anniversary, publisher Time Home Entertainment has created a digital coffee table book for iPad owners.

While pricey at $10 (dropped from $13 a week ago) and not a complete photo anthology, Life 75 offers a stunning look back at 75 years in pictures.

This hefty 506 MB download is really two photo galleries in one:

* When held sideways (landscape view), the app offers hundreds of black-and-white and colour photographs from Life's pages over the past three-quarters of a century. Most of the photos are from the '30s to the '70s, mind you. There are many notable highlights, including John F. Kennedy smiling at baby Caroline in her crib, disturbing World War II photos, a posing Marilyn Monroe, Apollo 17's trip to the moon and photos from the womb. Tap on the photo and you can read a caption (about the date, photographer or subject), unlock a few bonus photos or read a short article or interview or see a related video clip.

* When the iPad is held vertically (portrait view), you can flick through nearly 140 of Life's most memorable covers, divided by theme such as At War, Space, In the Wild and Up Close with the Stars, to name a few. Rotate the tablet and you'll see a relevant photo from that issue. For example, a colour photo of The Beatles graces the cover from Life's Aug. 28, 1964, issue. And if you turn the iPad sideways, you'll see John Loengard's famous black-and-white photo of the Fab Four swimming a few days after their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Tap near the bottom of the screen to pull up the table of contents, thumbnails of each photo and other info.

But not all of the photos seem to be organized as well. For example, you can choose to view photos by decade, but not only are the '90s and '00s scarcely populated with only two photos apiece, but when you flick left or right from a shot of Buckingham Palace in 2002 you'll see a 1945 photo on the death of FDR. Aren't we supposed to be seeing the '00s?

That said, budding photographers or armchair historians might also enjoy an interactive game where you're assuming the role of the Life editor. You'll be presented with a number of similar photos and must choose the one that made the cut.

While incomplete and with some navigation issues, Life 75 contains a large number of beautiful photos and some additional content that should appeal to many people. But given its limitations, the app might be more appealing at $4 or $5 opposed to $10.

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