How to Lock Apps on Your Apple Phone

There are plenty of reasons you might want to restrict access to your iPhone apps. Maybe you let your child use your phone and want to keep them out of messaging and productivity apps. Or perhaps you’d just like a little more privacy in general. There’s nothing wrong with that!

Unlike Android phones, which generally required a third party locking app to do this, Apple has a few built-in security solutions. Learn about them below.

As you do so, take this time to do a comprehensive security review of your phone. Check and refresh account passwords,
enable a VPN
and other security tools, and make sure your phone is up to date. It’s a good idea to do this at least once per month.

And don’t forget the easiest way to keep people out of your apps—don’t let them use your phone in the first place—unless you trust them.

Method 1: Use Screen Time

You might not realize this, but Screen Time does more than record your device usage patterns. It also has a handy app lock tool that you can use to prevent you from spending too much time on social media as well as restrict app access.

To turn Screen Time on:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Screen Time
  3. Enable Screen Time and Screen Time passcode
  4. Tap App Limits
  5. Turn on App Limits
  6. Add Limit
  7. Choose which app you want to limit. You can also select multiple
  8. Tap Next
  9. Set Limit

Then set the limit to whatever you like. Do note that the lowest limit you can set is one minute, so someone could still access it if you haven’t used it that day.

This option is helpful when you still have easy access to the app because you can hit the ignore limit and put in your passcode to re-access the app.

Method 2: Guided Access

Guided Access is a super secure option. It restricts access on your phone to whatever app is currently accessed. This is helpful if you want to let somebody use one app without allowing them to venture elsewhere.

To enable Guided Access:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap General > Accessibility > Guided Access
  3. Turn On
  4. Set Guided Access Passcode
    You can also enable FaceID or TouchID to enable/disable it.

After turning on Guided Access, you can use the feature by opening any app on your iPhone and pressing the Side button three times (for iPhone X or newer) or the Home button three times (all older models).

To turn off Guided Access, press either the Side or Home buttons again and enter your passcode.

Method 3: Third-Party Apps

Apple has a very closed hardware ecosystem. That means you won’t find as many app locking apps as you do on Android in the App Store.

There are a few options in the App Store, but they’re not practical. Think of them more as ways to conceal some of your apps and data. But anybody who wants to will still be able to search Settings and Siri to bypass what these apps do.

If you want to use a true third-party solution that will lock your apps, you’ll have to jailbreak your phone. Do note, this voids your AppleCare warranty and may cause security or performance issues, so only do so at your own risk.

Once you jailbreak your phone, you can look into apps like AppLocker or BioProtect. However, not all locking apps are compatible with the latest iOS. Pay attention to this before you decide to jailbreak your phone or not.

How to Lock Apps On Your Apple Phone

Locking apps on your iPhone is easier than you realize. You can either use Screen Time or Guided Access if you want a built-in option. These are the best options for most Apple users.

But if you have some tech skills and don’t mind taking a little risk, you can also jailbreak your phone and try out one of the third-party options.

Whatever you do, just be sure to keep security in mind with your iPhone. Never leave your phone unattended, always lock the screen, and use security tools like Find My iPhone to erase your phone remotely if it’s ever lost or stolen.

Likewise, use other security tools like VPNs, password managers, and encryption to keep your data safe while you’re at it.

There’s no perfect way to lock your iPhone apps. But there are plenty of ways to improve your privacy and security. Use these strategies and tools to keep your phone as private as it can be.

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