Facebook is a great way to stay connected and share photos with friends and family, but its privacy settings can be a bit hard to understand. With its new Graph Search function,  Facebook users have a much stronger tool for searching out and finding photos, updates and more. While we tackled how to keep your photos private here, it’s worth diving into Facebook a bit more deeply since it’s home to such a huge collection of our images.

So here’s a tour of Facebook’s privacy settings as they relate to your photos.

For Photos You Upload

Facebook does publicize how to manage your photo privacy. For the photos you’ve already uploaded, you can adjust who gets to see what. Here’s how:

  1. Go to your timeline and click on the Photos section
  2. Click the Albums tab
  3. Use the audience selector tool under each album to control who can see your photos

A few important notes:

  • The privacy setting for your Cover Photos album is always public.
  • If there’s a photo of you in an album that someone else posted, only the person who posted it can change the album privacy. If you don’t like the photo, you can remove a tag or escalate the issue.
  • If you share a high resolution photo or album with someone, that person will be able to download those photos.
  • Unlike other photo albums you create, you can choose an audience for individual photos in your Timeline Photos and Mobile Uploads albums. Each time you post a new photo, you pick who sees that photo using the audience selector.

For Photos You’re Tagged In

To uncover photos you’re tagged in, you’ll have to go into your profile and then into your “Activity Log.” Click on “Photos” on the left hand side and you’ll see two choices: Photos of You (those are other people’s images that you’re tagged in) and Your Photos (the ones you’ve uploaded).

After choosing “Photos of You,” check the top of the page for the “Shared With” indicator — it’s a drop-down menu that lets you see what’s visible to the public and to your friends.


If you find that you do appear in your friends’ photos and you don’t want to, you can untag yourself. That won’t remove the photo from Facebook, but it will give you a bit more privacy (you could also reach out to your friend directly and ask for the photo to be removed).

Going forward, you can select to be notified immediately once you are tagged in a photo. First, click on your “Privacy Settings” (symbolized by the lock) and then “see more settings.”  You’ll then be brought to a menu where you select “Timeline and Tagging”  where you can “enable” this notification anytime someone tags you so you can approve or disapprove before it goes into your Timeline.

To access your privacy settings, click on the lock icon and then “see more settings.”


One More Step: Disable Facial Recognition

One last method to protect your photo privacy on Facebook is to disable facial recognition. Facebook can scan any photo that’s uploaded and make tagging recommendations if it thinks it has recognized a face. This can obviously make things easier for those doing the uploading and tagging, but if you’d rather not have Facebook making this suggestion to other people, you can shut it off.

Again, you’ll be able to shut facial recognition off in the privacy settings under “Timeline and Tagging.”  Simply choose “no one” under the tagging suggestions menu below.


If you find this all very confusing, you’re not alone. One reason we like Google+ for sharing photos is that it’s much easier to control who sees what.