The Photos app on your iPhone automatically populates all photos from the front-facing camera in the Selfies album. But what if you don’t want a photo to appear there? Here are a couple of solutions.
Hide the Selfie from All Albums
The easiest way to hide a photo from the Selfies album is to move it to the Hidden album. The downside is the picture will be hidden from all albums, including the Recents album.
To hide a photo, open the image in the Photos app and then tap on the “Share” button that looks like a box with an arrow coming out of it.
Next, select “Hide” photo. The image will instantly disappear from the Selfies album.
To find the photo, go to the “Albums” tab, scroll down to the “Other Albums” section, and tap on “Hidden.”
Remove EXIF Data Using Shortcuts
Apple uses EXIF data (metadata that’s attached to every photo) to sort pictures into the Selfies album. If the EXIF data says the photo was taken using the iPhone’s front-facing camera, it will automatically end up in the Selfies album. How do you stop this? Simple: Remove the EXIF data.
The Shortcuts app is one of the simplest ways to reliably remove EXIF data from your selfies. The Shortcuts app is built into iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 and above. If you’re using iOS 12, you can download the Shortcuts app from the App Store.
You can think of a shortcut as a collection of actions that are executed one after the other, automatically. So you can, for example, create a shortcut that will take a PNG image as a source, resize it to a particular resolution, convert it to JPEG, and save the photo back to your camera roll. All of this would happen with just a tap.
But you don’t need to write your own automation to use the app. You can import an existing shortcut, add it to your library, and start using the automated shortcut.
Metadata Remover is one such shortcut. It is made up of actions that strip the metadata from the image you choose. It will even create a duplicate image and delete the original file for you. This means the original image will disappear from the Selfies album.
Before we go further, a note for running iOS 13, iPadOS 13, or newer. Apple has integrated the Shortcuts app directly into the OS. While this is beneficial in many ways, it changes how third-party shortcuts are viewed.
When you try to install a shortcut downloaded from the internet, the Shortcuts app will tell you the shortcut can’t run because Shortcut’s security settings don’t allow unsecured shortcuts.
Apple considers every shortcut you downloaded from the internet as inherently untrustworthy because it can put your personal data at risk. If you’re okay with the risk involved, you can allow for untrusted shortcuts.
To do this, open the “Settings” app, go to the “Shortcuts” section, and tap on the toggle next to “Allow Untrusted Shortcuts.”
From the popup, tap on “Allow” and enter your device password to confirm.
Now, open the Metadata Remover shortcut on your iPhone or iPad and tap on “Get Shortcut.”
This will open the Shortcuts app. On this screen, swipe down to the bottom of the screen, and tap on “Add Untrusted Shortcut” (if you’re running a newer version of iOS or iPadOS).
Now go to the “My Shortcuts” page, tap on the “Metadata Remover” shortcut, and choose “Select Photo.”
Next, select a photo from the “Selfies” album. Then, tap on “Save to Camera Roll.” From the following popup, delete the older photo.
The next time you open the Photos app, you’ll see the new photo at the bottom of the Recents album and no longer in the Selfies album.
Remove EXIF Data Using SafeShare App
SafeShare app (Free) is designed to help you share photos online without metadata. It also allows you to save the metadata-less photo back to your camera roll.
Open the SafeShare app on your iPhone or iPad and tap on “Choose Image.” Select the image from your library and then tap on “Save Image” when the share menu pops up.
The new image will be stored in your Camera Roll in the Recents album. It will not come up in the Selfies album. SafeShare doesn’t do anything to the original photo, so you’ll have to go in and delete it manually.
The App Store has a couple of alternatives for removing metadata from photos, such as the Viewexif app if you have issues using SafeShare.
Remove Photos from Selfies Album Using Mac
This process is more straightforward and less destructive for Mac owners. If you use the Mac Photos app and you sync all your photos using iCloud Photos, a Mac app called Photos Exif Editor ($0.99) allows you to selectively remove the EXIF data for the front-facing iPhone camera field. (This data is what Apple uses to sort photos into the Selfies album automatically.)
Open the Photos app on your Mac, select the selfie, and export the photo using the “Command+E” keyboard shortcut. Open the Photos Exif Editor app and drag the photo in from Finder. You can drag multiple images if you want.
In the EXIF data editor window, find the field that says “Lens Model” and delete the text.
Click on the “Start Process” button to change the EXIF data.
From the next window, choose where you want to save the photo.
Then, open the Finder app, find the photo you just saved, and drag it into the Photos app to import it to your iCloud Photos library. The photo will now show up across all your devices, but not in the Selfies album.