A passcode or biometric authentication system only acts as one layer of protection because once it’s bypassed, anyone can access almost all apps and content on your iPhone. Therefore, for greater security, you should consider locking apps. We’ll look at all the unique ways to lock apps on your iPhone.
How to Lock Apps on Your iPhone With a Password
Currently, no built-in security feature lets you set an app lock password for your iPhone. However, there is a workaround available. Let’s go through the steps on how you can use Screen Time to lock apps on your iPhone with a password:
- Go to Settings > Screen Time > App & Website Activity > Turn On App & Website Activity.
- Tap Lock Screen Time Settings. Key in your preferred four-digit password. This password is separate from the one you use to unlock your iPhone.
- Go to App Limits > Add Limit. Enter your Screen Time passcode to access the page.
- To lock all apps on your iPhone with the Screen Time password, select All Apps & Categories. To lock specific apps, you can swipe down on your screen to reveal the search bar and look up apps from there. You can also tap the dropdown arrow in each category to select individual apps.
- After choosing the apps, tap Next.
- Set 1 min for the app limit. Ensure that Block at End of Limit is enabled.
- Tap Add to save your settings.
Now, all your iPhone apps will be locked with a password after one minute of usage every day. Anyone who taps on a locked app will see a Time Limit message. The Ask For More Time option can only be bypassed by entering the Screen Time passcode.
However, there are a few limitations to the Screen Time method. Firstly, system apps like Safari are not automatically included in the All Apps & Categories selection. You need to manually find the app using the search bar. Another limitation is that Screen Time doesn’t allow you to lock a couple of apps, such as Settings and Phone.
Also, Screen Time offers the option to use an app for “one more minute” without needing to enter the passcode. After your one minute is up, you can only opt to unlock an additional 15 minutes, an hour, or allow it for the whole day. Screen Time doesn’t let you instantly re-lock an app every time right after you exit it.
How to Lock Apps on Your iPhone With Face ID or Touch ID
If Screen Time doesn’t quite meet your needs, don’t worry, as there are still other alternatives to lock apps without using Screen Time. Besides a Screen Time password, you can lock apps on your iPhone with Face ID or Touch ID.
First, you need to set up Face ID on your iPhone. If you have an iPhone with Touch ID, know that the setup procedure is mostly the same. Once you enable it, you can use Face ID (or Touch ID) to lock apps on your iPhone.
However, we want to point out that not all apps can be locked with Face ID or Touch ID. Fortunately, many popular ones, such as WhatsApp and Messenger, let you do so.
How to Lock Apps on Your iPhone With a Shortcut
If an app doesn’t directly offer you the option to lock it with Face ID or Touch ID, there’s a workaround. You can create an iPhone shortcut to lock any apps you want instead.
The steps are the same as creating an iPhone shortcut to lock the Photos app. The only difference is that when you’re customizing Choose, select all the apps you want to lock before tapping Done.
The shortcut method will lock your entire iPhone when you attempt to access an app. To proceed to the app, you’ll then have to unlock it with your iPhone Lock Screen passcode, Face ID, or Touch ID, depending on what you have enabled.
How to Lock Apps on Your iPhone With Guided Access
The way Guided Access works makes it a slightly different app lock for your iPhone. When Guided Access is enabled, the feature locks access to all apps on your iPhone except for the one currently opened on your screen.
Therefore, you can use this app lock method when someone requests to borrow your phone to use a particular app temporarily. Simply launch said app and activate Guided Access so that all other apps are safe and inaccessible behind a password, Face ID, or Touch ID.
Follow these steps to lock apps on your iPhone using Guided Access:
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Guided Access. Toggle on Guided Access.
- Tap Passcode Settings > Set Guided Access Passcode. Enter a six-digit password. This password is different from the password used to lock your iPhone. It is also a separate one from Screen Time.
- Alternatively, you can toggle on Face ID or Touch ID to use a biometric password.
Now, to app lock your iPhone and limit use to only one app, triple-click the Side button if you’re using an iPhone X or newer model. For an iPhone 8 or older, triple-click the Home button.
You’ll know the app lock is successful when you see a Guided Access Started pop-up. To exit Guided Access, triple-click the Side or Home button again, key in the password, and tap End. Alternatively, you can exit by double-clicking the same button and verifying yourself with Face ID or Touch ID.
Can You Lock iPhone Apps With Third-Party Apps?
You may have heard of app lock apps for Android. Then, is there a similar app lock for iPhone? Technically, the answer is yes; such third-party apps do exist. However, they only work on jailbroken devices.
Although it may be tempting to unlock new customization possibilities and access new apps on your iPhone, consider it carefully because jailbreaking your iPhone comes with risks, such as exposing your device to security vulnerabilities.
Other Tips to Lock App Content on Your iPhone
Besides locking an entire app, there are other methods to lock the content of apps on your iPhone to keep them away from prying eyes.
There are already some built-in options within native Apple apps. For example, you can lock specific iPhone notes with a password. You can also use many tips and tricks to hide personal content on your iPhone.
Another way is to remember to log out of apps where you have a password-protected account, such as social media and digital wallet apps. Usually, all you need to do is head to your profile and scroll down a list of settings for a Log Out or Sign Out button.
Lock Your iPhone Apps for More Privacy
We looked at how you can lock apps on your iPhone with a password, Face ID or Touch ID, and Guided Access. Admittedly, they’re not perfect, as each method has minor limitations.
However, you can still rely on them to lock apps on your iPhone effectively. Rest assured that anyone who doesn’t have the password will not be able to access your locked apps.