Pictures, videos, and documents library access and privacy

Some apps need to access your pictures, videos, or documents to allow you to take full advantage of the functionality they provide. For example, if you’re using a photo and video editing app, the app will need access to the photos and videos you would like to edit. The app will most likely also need a place to store the newly edited version of the photo or video. This can apply similarly to apps that need to access and store your documents as well.

Because these file storage locations might contain your personal content, we want you to be in control over any apps that have access to these picture, video, and document file storage locations.

How the pictures, videos, and documents library access settings work

If an app requires access to your file storage locations, it will list that requirement on its product description page—select the Permissions info link to find out. You can deny access at any time by going to Start > Settings > Privacy and then choosing either Documents, Pictures, or Videos.

If you deny library access to an app:

  • Windows will create a unique folder within the library to which the app needed access. This folder is where the app will store all of its data. This will protect your privacy and keep the app from seeing any data outside of this folder, while also allowing the app to continue running. For example, if you use an app to edit a photo and want to save the edited photo, but you denied the app permission to write to your pictures library, Windows will create a unique folder in the pictures library and the app will only have write access to that specific folder.

  • You won’t be able to take full advantage of that app’s functionality. Some apps require the ability to source content from a particular library to function properly. If you deny an app access to a library, the app might not work as expected.

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