6 Ways to Lock an App on iPhone and iPad in 2022

Locking apps have long been a part of the daily lives of Android users. The ability to lock individual apps provides an extra layer of security to your device, especially when sharing it with your friends or family members. 

While Apple doesn’t provide you with a straightforward method of locking an app, there are a few workarounds that you can use to your advantage. Let’s take a look at how you can lock apps on your iOS device. 

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Can you lock an app on iPhone?

Yes and No. Apple doesn’t give third-party app developers the option to lock apps on your iPhone using the in-built passcode or biometric security except a few. Hence, there is no in-built way of locking apps on your iPhone, and neither is there a third-party app available on App Store that allows you to do so.

However, like everything tech, there are a few workarounds that allow to lock any app on your iPhone regardless of the restrictions imposed by Apple.  Here are the 6 workarounds that you can deploy if you value privacy and want to lock individual apps.

  • Create an automation
  • By replacing the app with a password protected shortcut
  • Locking apps that have an in-built feature to do so.
  • Lock official Apple apps by restricting content
  • Lock any app by limiting its daily screen time
  • Use the Guided Access feature

Related: How to Save Videos From Twitter on iPhone

How to lock an app on iPhone in 5 ways

Here’s how you can lock apps on your iOS or iPadOS device if you are running iOS or iPadOS 15+.

Method 01: Lock any app by creating an automation

Open the ‘Shortcuts’ app from your iPhone’s home screen.

Tap on ‘Automation’.

Tap on ‘Create Personal Automation’.

Scroll down and tap on ‘App’.

Tap the ‘Choose’ option to select the apps you wish to lock.

Select the apps you wish to lock and tap on ‘Done’ after you’re done selecting.

Note: You can select multiple apps in this step.

Tap on ‘Next’.

Tap on ‘+ Add Action’.

Search for ‘timer’ in the search bar at the top and tap on ‘Start Timer’ from your search results.

Change the minutes to ‘1’ once the action has been added to your automation.

Similarly, change ‘minutes’ to ‘seconds’ by tapping on the same.

Tap on ‘second’.

Once you are done, tap on ‘Next’.

Tap and disable the ‘Ask Before Running’ toggle.

Once prompted, tap on ‘Don’t Ask’.

Make sure both the ‘Ask Before Running’ and ‘Notify When Run’ options are disabled. Then, tap on ‘Done’.

The automation has now been created.

Now open the ‘Clock’ app on your device.

Tap on ‘Timer’.

Tap on the ‘When Timer Ends’.

Scroll down and tap on the ‘Stop Playing’ option.

That’s it. The automation required to lock the Facebook app has now been created. Let’s test it.

Open the locked app on your device.

After a second, your device will be locked automatically. To gain access to the app or device, you will have to unlock your device.

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Method 02: Replace the app with a password-protected shortcut

Open the ‘Shortcuts’ app on your device.

Tap on ‘My Shortcuts’.

Tap on the ‘+’ icon to create a new shortcut.

Tap on the ‘Add Action’ option.

Use the search bar to search the term ‘Ask for’. Tap on ‘Ask for input’ once it shows up in your search results.

Tap on ‘Text’ to select the password format for your locked apps. You can have a numeric password as well. 

Tap on the password format you wish to use. For this guide, we will choose the ‘Text’ format.

Note: The text format allows you to enter as many numbers as you wish, while the Number format only allows you to enter a single digit.

Tap on ‘Prompt’ and enter the desired prompt you wish to see when you are asked for a password when opening a locked app.

Enter a prompt that best fits your needs.

Note: This message will be displayed in the notification asking you to enter the set input (password) required to access the app.

In the ‘Next Action Suggestions’ section, tap on ‘If’.

Once the ‘If’ action has been added, tap on ‘Condition’.

In the list of conditions, tap on ‘is’.

Now, tap on ‘Text’ and enter the passcode for your app.

For this guide, we will choose the following passcode: 1234.

Tap on the search bar near the bottom of the Shortcuts app.

Search for ‘Open app and tap on the same once it shows up in your results.

Once the ‘Open App’ action is added to your shortcut, tap and hold your finger on this action to change its position in the sequence of execution.

Reposition the ‘Open App’ action to the position depicted in the picture below and tap on it.

From the list of apps, select the app you want to use this shortcut on. For this guide, we will select the Facebook app.

Note: One instance of this shortcut can be used on one app only.

That’s it. The shortcut is now created. We will finish the process by adding a home screen icon to access this shortcut. To do that follow the following steps.

Now, tap on the ‘preferences’ icon.

Under the Details section, tap on the ‘Add to Home Screen’ option.

To change the name of this shortcut, tap on the default name and enter the name of the app this shortcut acts upon. For example, in our case, we will change the name to ‘Facebook’.

Tap on ‘Add’.

Once this new password-protected shortcut is added, you can remove the official Facebook app icon to avoid confusion.

To do so, tap and hold the official Facebook app icon from your iPhone’s home screen and tap on the ‘Remove App’ option.

Tap on the ‘Remove from Home Screen’ option.

Finally, let’s see how this shortcut operates.

Tap on the newly created Facebook shortcut from your iPhone’s home screen.

As expected, you will be presented with a notification, asking you to enter the password. Enter this password and tap on ‘Done’.

You can now use Facebook.

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Method 03: Lock first-party apps by restricting content

Apple comes equipped with the Screen Time feature that can be used to lock first-party apps.

Note: First-party apps are applications created by Apple. 

The Screen Time feature can be used to block apps based on 2 factors: Time Limit and Content & Privacy Restrictions. In this section, we will cover how you can block first-party apps using the latter method. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

Open the ‘Settings’ app from your iPhone’s home screen.

Tap on the ‘Screen Time’ option.

Tap on ‘Turn On Screen Time’ to set up the Screen Time feature.

Tap on ‘Continue’.

Tap on the ‘This is My iPhone’ option.

Now, back in the Screen Time settings, tap on the ‘Use Screen Time Passcode’ option.

Assign a suitable passcode for your Screen Time settings.

In the Screen Time Passcode Recovery window, enter your Apple ID credentials and tap on ‘OK’.

Back in Screen Time settings, tap on the ‘Content & Privacy Restrictions’ option.

Enter your Screen Time passcode.

Make sure the ‘Content & Privacy Restrictions’ toggle button is enabled.

Note: Green colored toggle button means the option is enabled, while the grey color means it’s disabled.

Tap on ‘Allowed Apps’.

Locate the app you want to lock and tap on the toggle button next to it. For this app, we will lock the Safari app.

Note: Green colored toggle button means the app is allowed, while the grey color means the app is locked.

Make sure the toggle button next to the app you want to lock is grey.

Now that the app is locked, let’s see whether you can access it without having to enter the Screen Time passcode.

It turns out, the Safari app is not accessible from your iPhone’s home screen.

To access the locked app, you have to visit Screen Time settings and make sure the locked app is allowed from the ‘Content & Privacy Restrictions’ settings.

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Method 04: Lock an app by limiting screen time

Another method of locking an app on your iPhone is by limiting the allowed screen time on this app on a per-day basis. The ‘App Limits’ option present in the Screen Time settings allows you to set daily limits on any app you wish.

Once this limit is exceeded, you will be required to provide the Screen Time passcode if you want further access to this app, beyond the allotted screen time.

Let’s see how you can use the ‘App Limits’ option to lock an app on your iPhones.

Open the ‘Settings’ app from your iPhone’s home screen.

Tap on the ‘Screen Time’ option.

Tap on ‘Turn On Screen Time’ to set up the Screen Time feature.

Tap on ‘Continue’.

Tap on the ‘This is My iPhone’ option.

Now, back in the Screen Time settings, tap on the ‘Use Screen Time Passcode’ option.

Assign a suitable passcode for your Screen Time settings.

In the Screen Time Passcode Recovery window, enter your Apple ID credentials and tap on ‘OK’.

Back in Screen Time settings, tap on the ‘App Limits’ option.

Tap on the ‘Add Limit’ option.

Swipe down on your screen to see the search bar.

Search for the app you want to lock and tap on it. For this guide, we will add a Screen Time limit to the Facebook app. After selecting all the apps you want to add a time limit on, tap on the ‘Add’ icon

Tap on ‘Next’.

Make sure that the ‘Block at the End of Limit’ toggle button is enabled.

Now, reset the time to 0 hours 1 min and tap on ‘Add’.

As you can see, App Limits on the Facebook app have been added.

Now, let’s see the application of these app limits.

Open the Facebook app from your iPhone’s home screen.

After the set time (1min) has elapsed, you will be presented with the following window.

From here, you can tap on the ‘Ask For More Time’ option to use Facebook for 1 more minute without having to enter the Screen Time passcode.

However, after this additional minute has elapsed, you will be required to enter the Screen Time passcode to use Facebook.

To use Facebook, enter the Screen Time passcode.

Tap on the option that suits you.

You can now access Facebook again.

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Method 05: How to use Guided Access on iPhone

The Guided Access feature on iPhone works in an entirely different way. This option can be used to lock the current user in the app they’re using at the time guided access is triggered.

Once this feature is triggered, the user will be locked in the app. Unless they’re aware of the Guided Access Passcode, or somehow your iPhone can scan one of the registered Face IDs, the user cannot exit this mode.

This feature can be extremely useful when the primary user of an iPhone doesn’t want the secondary (the user they’re lending their iPhone to) to pry on any other apps on their iPhone other than the open one.

Let’s see how you can implement and subsequently use Guided Access on your iPhone.

Open the ‘Settings’ app from your iPhone’s home screen.

Scroll down and tap on ‘Accessibility’.

Under the ‘GENERAL’ section, tap on the ‘Guided Access’ option.

Tap on the Guided Access toggle button to enable it.

Note: The toggle button will turn green upon enabling.

Tap on ‘Passcode Settings’.

Tap on the ‘Set Guided Access Passcode’ option.

Enter a passcode for using the Guided Access feature.

You can also link your Face ID with the Guided Access feature. Tap on the corresponding toggle button to enable it.

The toggle button will turn green upon enabling,

Now that Guided Access is enabled, let’s see how you can use this feature on the Facebook app.

Open the Facebook app from your iPhone’s home screen.

Once the app is opened, press the side button or the home button from your iPhone 3 times to start the Guided Session.

A Guided Session also allows you to disable specific areas on your screen. To do so, tap and drag your finger over the area you want to disable. This will create a selection area that can be further resized according to your preference.

Now, tap on the ‘Start’ icon.

You will see a notification, informing you that the Guided Access Session has started.

You can now resume browsing Facebook in this isolated session, without having to worry about the user having access to other apps on your iPhone.

To exit this Guided Access session, triple-click the side button or home button on our iPhone.

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Method 06: Lock specific apps from Settings [Banking apps]

While not all apps have this feature, some apps, specifically apps that require every inch of privacy and security they can provide to ensure the trust of users, have in-built options that require methods like passcodes, Touch ID, or Face ID to access these apps.

Some common examples of these apps that support Face ID are Banking apps like PayPal, BHIM, etc. Other apps like Google Drive and Outlook support Touch ID. You can find what apps installed on your iPhone have Face ID capabilities by following the below-mentioned steps:

Open the ‘Settings’ app from your iPhone’s home screen.

Scroll down and tap on the ‘Face ID & Passcode’ option.

Enter the passcode if asked prompted.

Tap on the ‘Other Apps’ option under the ‘USE FACE ID FOR’ section.

Here you can see the list of apps that have used Face ID on your device.

From this list, you can toggle on or off an app’s access to Face ID fairly easily. To do so, simply disable or enable the toggle button next to this app to turn off or on this app’s access to Face ID.

Related: iPhone Shortcut: How to Tell Someone When You’d Reach Home on iPhone

Someone opened an app on your iPhone while you were away? Find out who they are.

You can modify the shortcut we created in the second method above to click a picture whenever a wrong password is used on your device to unlock locked apps. This can help you identify users that were trying to open the locked apps on your device. Follow the guide below to help you along with the process.

Note: You will require the shortcut we created in Method 02, to use this guide.

Open the shortcut created in Method 02 by tapping on the 3-dot icon.

Tap on the search bar near the bottom of your screen.

Search for the ‘Take Photo’ action and tap on it.

Make sure the camera option is set to ‘Front’. However, if it’s not, tap on the ‘Back’ option and change it to ‘Front’.

In the ‘Take Photo’ action, tap on the ‘more options’ icon.

Tap on the Show Camera Preview to disable it.

Note: Grey colored toggle button means the option is disabled. hence, make sure the Shoe Camera Preview toggle button is grey.

Drag and reposition the ‘Take Photo’ action between the ‘Otherwise’ and ‘End If’ actions

Add another action called ‘Save to Photo Album’ to your shortcut.

Drag and reposition this shortcut between the ‘Take Photo’ and ‘End If’ actions.

Finally, let’s see how this new shortcut operates.

Tap on the created Facebook shortcut from your iPhone’s home screen.

As expected, you will be presented with a notification, asking you to enter the password.

Now, if you enter the correct password, this shortcut will open the Facebook app. However, if a wrong password is entered, the shortcut will take a photo using the front camera and save it in the Photos app.

Once you get access to your device, you can then open the Photos app and use the most recent picture taken using the front camera to deduce the person who had tried, unsuccessfully, to open a locked app on your device. You can also disable notifications for the Shortcuts app to ensure maximum privacy. Use this guide by us to help you along with the process. 

FAQs

What passcode is used when you use automation to lock individual apps?

If you use the automation method, the password required the unlock the app is the one you assigned to the automation while creating it in the shortcuts app.

You can view or change this password anytime you want from the shortcuts app.

Are there any third-party apps that can be used to lock apps on my iPhone?

Yes. There are third-party apps that exist that can be used to lock apps on your iPhone. However, before using these apps you will be required to jailbreak your iOS device using Cydia.

Unfortunately, jailbreaking your iPhone can be a tricky endeavor and we advise you to practice caution regarding the same. Moreover, these apps are paid and cannot be used for free even after jailbreaking your iOS device.

Some of these apps are:

  • BioProtect
  • Locktopus
  • AppLocker
Can I extend the time limit set in the Screen Time settings?

Yes. The time limit set in the Screen Time settings can be changed anytime you wish, provided you know your Screen Time passcode.

Can I block the Phone app using the Content & Privacy Restrictions option?

No. Apple doesn’t allow you to block the Phone app using the Content & Privacy Restrictions option. The Phone app will not visible in the list of allowed apps under this option.

We hope this article helped you understand the various ways you can lock an app on your iPhone. If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to us using the comments section below.


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