Peek-a-View lets you safely limit the photos someone can see [Review]

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Peek-a-View lets you limit a photo album to be view-only.
Peek-a-View lets you limit a photo album to be view-only.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

If you’ve ever found yourself showing other people pictures on your phone, you’ve probably also been trying to micromanage what they can and can’t see. And, if you’re a parent of a young kid, it’s likely that you’ve let your child look through a photo album on your device. In that case, you’ve certainly been worried about their ability to delete or accidentally modify an image.

There are ways to limit what a person — or child — can or can’t get to on your device through the Guided Access settings in iOS. But nothing is as simple as using a new iOS app called Peek-a-View to lock down your photos.

Peek-a-View puts your photos under your control

Created by podcaster and developer Casey Liss, the idea for the app was originally sparked while letting his kids look through photos on his iPhone. Concerned that they’d stray outside of the album, or accidentally delete or edit an image, he wanted a way to let them look at certain pictures while restricting them to just those images.

From there, Peek-a-View was born, and the app couldn’t be more ingenious. Even better, the app has plenty of practical uses outside of corralling young kids.

Before getting started with Peek-a-View, you must create an album in the Photos app. This could contain vacation photos, screenshots, a collection of images found online, or even images for sharing with work clients.

Once you create your album, you can choose it in Peek-a-View. Then you, or your child, client, friend, coworker, stranger on the train, etc., will be able to look — and only look — at the photos in that album. They will see no options to delete or modify any of the images.

Accessibility as a feature

The best feature of the app is one that’s a little more hidden. That feature is how the app completely changes when used with Guided Access. For those that don’t know, Guided Access is an Apple accessibility feature that can prevent the user from switching apps, locking the screen, changing volume or using touch.

In Peek-a-View, if you enable Guided Access, the navigation bar across the top of the app will disappear. This prevents the viewer from accessing the app’s settings or changing the album. This means you can lock whoever you are showing photos and videos into Peek-a-View.

Protect your precious photos

As a parent of a toddler, I hate the idea of pacifying her with a screen. That said, sometimes letting her look at pictures and videos in my Camera Roll, or flip through images of her favorite Disney cartoon characters, is the perfect distraction. Especially when she’s getting antsy while we wait for something or are traveling.

Being able to pull up a photo album, pop on Guided Access, and let my daughter freely swipe and scroll through pictures without worry is very freeing. It means I don’t have to constantly redirect her back to the right pictures or videos. It also means I’m not frantically recovering deleted pictures every time she touches my phone.

If this is the kind of thing that can add convenience to your life, Peek-a-View is definitely worth checking out. It’s available on iPhone and iPad for free in the App Store. It is worth nothing that the free version limits you to viewing 20 photos from the selected album. You can unlock unlimited photos, and a few alternate app icons, for a one-time $5 in-app purchase. From my perspective as a parent seeking a little sanity, $5 is a small price to pay.

Price: Free, with in-app purchase

Download: Peek-a-view from the App Store (iOS)