Enable Photo Privacy with SwapCamRoll for iOS 4

Never mind the reasons why you want to hide some pictures, we’re just telling you this jailbreak app makes it easier to do. SwapCamRoll is an app for iOS 4 that essentially gives you two camera rolls on your iPhone. Only one is active at a time while the inactive one hides on the “flip side”, completely inaccessible on the phone until you activate SwapCamRoll. (You can navigate to either folder through SSH though).

So if you have some er, private pictures that you don’t want others to see when they’re scrolling through your photos, then you can create an entirely new camera roll that can be swapped out for the default. For some, it just might be the app you never knew you needed!

So how does it work? The app is pretty bare bones, but does have some options that may be confusing to new users. Read on for the breakdown:

How It Works

Let’s call your current camera roll the “A” side. This is what you see when you open the Photos app under albums. Once you install SwapCamRoll (SCR) from Cydia, you open it and the screen has the button to “Swap Camera Roll”.

Tap that and it essentially flips your camera roll over like a cassette tape (remember those?). Once you return to your Photos app and look at the Camera Roll, you’ll find it’s empty. Don’t worry – your photos are not gone or deleted!

(Note: I added the text above in the screenshot for fun. It doesn’t actually show up like that.) Now when you take photos, they will show up on this “B” side. Videos, too. Plug your phone into your computer and it will only recognize and download photos from the “B” side. Need to access the “A” side? Then return to SCR and tap “Swap Camera Roll” again. Now the “A” side returns to your default and “B” side goes into hiding. Simple, right?

The Options

Toggling “Auto Swap” on will cause the app to automatically swap the camera rolls as soon as you open the app. It takes the extra step of tapping “Swap Camera Roll” out of the process.

If you tap “Activate Old Camera Swap” it will make the app function like it used to on iOS 3.x. In this version, simply tapping the SCR icon from the springboard switched the rolls, with only a brief splash screen to let you know it swapped. This is the fastest, most efficient way to make use of the app, however, according to comments, it proved confusing to many users as they thought their photos were permanently deleted. If you enable this, there’s no way to disable it other than uninstalling and reinstalling the app.

Tips and Tricks

When you back up your phone, whichever side is the active Camera Roll will be the one backed up and saved, meaning if your phone goes kaput and has to be restored, you’re only restoring the photos on that roll. Be sure to back up both rolls somewhere other than iTunes by downloading them to your computer.

The app basically creates a duplicate Camera Roll folder in the folder /user/Media. The original/”A” side is DCIM and the “B” side is DCIM_2. I just wanted to point this out in case you want to make a backup through SSH, and to point out that it’s not entirely hidden (so if your new girlfriend is tech-savvy, best delete those pics of your ex!)

Lastly, if you’re really worried about prying eyes, you can make the SCR icon invisible through SBSettings “Poof” feature. That way you can only find it through Spotlight search.

What do you all think of the app? Think you can use it? Do you think a “Mark Private” or similar feature will ever come to Apple’s Photos app?