How to Lock Apps on iPhone 2023

How To Lock Apps on iPhone

Privacy is an essential feature to any smartphone user. You’ll want to keep your sensitive information from prying eyes. The best way to ensure privacy is by locking apps on your device. Unlike Android devices, iPhones do not have a straightforward way to lock apps.

That does not mean that you should leave your apps to be accessed hence compromising your private and confidential information. In this article, you’ll learn a few ways in which you can lock and restrict access to apps on your iPhone.

Can you lock apps on your iPhone?


Unfortunately, there is no official method to lock sensitive apps on your iPhone. However, there is a workaround that you can use to lock apps on your iPhone.

Read on to see how you can keep your apps private and deny access to apps that hold your sensitive information.

How to lock first-party apps

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A first-party app is an application that Apple created rather than another software developer. Therefore, you can lock first-party apps in iOS 12 upwards using the Screen Time feature. If you would like to lock the first-party app in iOS 12 onwards:

Step 1: Open Settings

Step 2: Click on Screen Time

Step 3: Go to Content & Privacy Restrictions

Step 4: Tap on Allowed Apps

Step 5: Turn off the Toggle Switch for apps you rarely use

Step 6: Click on the Back button or Swipe Up to go back to the Home Screen to save the settings

Lock first-party apps in iOS 11 and Earlier

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If you are using an old iPhone running on iOS 11 or earlier, you can lock the first-party app using Restrictions. So, to lock the first-part app in iOS 11 and earlier:

Step 1: Go to Settings

Step 2: Click on General

Step 3: Navigate to Restrictions

Step 4: Tap on Enable Restrictions

Step 5: Enter a New Passcode twice to confirm

Step 6: That will enable Restrictions

Step 7: Navigate to the Allow Section

Step 8: Swipe the Green Toggle Icon to an Off Position

That will prevent the first-party app from appearing on your home screen.

Lock apps on your iPhone with Screen Time

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Screen Time is a feature that was introduced to the iPhone in the iOS 12 that allows you to set time limits for apps. Therefore, you can use it to lock apps on your iPhone but only for a limited time. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Go to Settings

Step 2: Tap on Screen Time

Step 3: Click on the App Limits option

Step 4: Tap on Add Limit

Step 5: In the list of apps, decide on which category you want to restrict access

Step 6: Tap the Checkbox Button to the left of the app category you would like to restrict.

Step 7: You can choose All Apps & categories to limit almost all apps

Step 8: Choose a Time Limit in hours and minutes

Step 9: Tap the Add button to save the settings

Lock Apps on iPhone using Guided Access

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Guided Access is an app lock feature available on iOS 11 and newer versions that prevents you from leaving an app you are currently using. Therefore, you can use it when you let a friend or child borrow your phone. You’ll lock all the other apps except the one they are using. That will prevent them from wandering off into other apps. First, you will have to enable Guided access by taking the following steps:

Step 1: Open your Settings App

Step 2: Go to the General

Step 3: Tap on the Accessibility option

Step 4: Navigate to Guided Access

Step 5: Tap on the Toggle Switch to enable it

Step 6: Open Passcode Settings

Step 7: Click on Set Guided Access Passcode

Step 8: Set your New Password

Step 9: Re-enter the password to confirm

After enabling Guided access, you can now use this feature to lock a user into an app. To lock apps using Guided Access, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open an App

Step 2: Press the Side Button or Home Button three times when the app launches.

Step 3: That will display the Guided Access Screen

Step 4: Draw Circles around different areas of the screen to disable them

Step 5: You can also choose Options in the lower-right corner

Step 6: Disable everything from volume and also set a time limit for Guided Access

Unlock apps locked by Guided Access

If you would like to unlock your apps, you can do so by:

Step 1: Triple-click the Side Button or Home Button depending on your device

Step 2: Fill in your Guided Access Passcode

Step 3: Tap on End to access all apps

Lock Apps on iPhone using Touch ID

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Rather than using a passcode, you can use Touch ID if you own a Touch ID-enabled iPhone. Touch ID uses your fingerprint to lock apps. However, it is only available on iPhone 5S onwards and only used on supported apps. Therefore, it does not work on all iOS apps but rather on a few compatible apps. To set up your Touch ID:

Step 1: Open Settings

Step 2: Click on Touch ID & Passcode

Step 3: Provide your Passcode to proceed

Step 4: Turn on the Toggle Switches for apps you would like to lock away

Step 5: Follow the instructions to Add Your Fingerprints

This process will lock the compatible in-built apps automatically. However, the process for locking downloaded apps is quite different. Only a few apps allow you to use this option to lock them away. Generally, to lock a compatible app using a Touch ID:

Step 1: Open the Touch-ID Supported App

Step 2: Navigate to its Settings

Step 3: Look for an option that allows you to lock the app with a passcode or fingerprint. It could be Passcode and Touch ID or its alternative.

Step 4: Toggle on Touch ID to lock the app

You’ll be required to open your app using your fingerprint instead of your password.

Lock apps on iPhone and iPad with Face ID

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Like Touch ID, Face ID is only available on supported apps. You can set up your Face ID by:

Step 1: Click on the Settings App

Step 2: Tap on Face ID & Passcode

Step 3: Key in your Passcode to proceed

Step 4: Click on Set Up Face ID

Step 5: Position Your Face in the frame

Step 6: Follow the onscreen instructions for your face to be scanned

Step 7: Click on Continue

Step 8: Tap on Done to complete the Face ID setup

After setting up your Face ID, you can lock a supported app with Face ID by:

Step 1: Open the Face ID Compatible App

Step 2: Tap on its Settings

Step 3: Look for an option that allows you to lock the app with your Face ID

Step 4: Toggle the Face ID switch to turn it on.

The locked app will require you to provide your Face ID to access it.

Lock Apps on iPhone using Siri Shortcuts

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You can also lock apps on your iPhone using the Siri Shortcuts app. This app comes with your iPhone, but you can still install it from your Apple store.

It allows you to lock apps using a Passcode, Face ID, or Touch ID. It is available on iPhones running iOS 14 or iOS 15. Therefore, you can create a Shortcut to lock apps by taking the following steps:

Step 1: Open the Siri Shortcuts App

Step 2: Tap on the Plus Icon (+) at the top-right corner

Step 3: Click on Create Personal Automation

Step 4: Scroll down and tap on App

Step 5: Choose Is Opened by clicking on the Checkbox next to it

Step 6: Tap on Choose

Step 7: Select from the list, Apps you want to lock

Step 8: Tap Done

Step 9: Click on Next at the top

Step 10: Under Actions, type Start Timer in the search field

Step 11: Set Start Timer For 1 Second

Step 12: Tap on Next

Step 13: Click on the Toggle Switch next to Ask Before Running to disable it

Step 14: Tap on Don’t Ask

Step 15: Tap on Done

After that, you should disable timer notifications to avoid disruptions. To do this:

Step 1: Open the Clock App

Step 2: Tap on Timer

Step 3: Click on

Step 4: Scroll When Timer Ends down and tap on Stop Playing

Step 5: Tap on Set and exit the app

When you try opening the locked app, it will lock the device in a second. This will require a passcode, Face ID or Touch ID to unlock the device and open the app.

However, you should keep in mind that the app will open for one second though it’s a short time for a person to see the app’s content.

Lock Apps on iPhone using a Third-Party app

You can also lock apps using a third-party app. Apple does not provide any official app on App Store to lock apps on your iPhone.

Therefore, to use these apps, your iPhone must be jailbroken. You can then use apps like BioProtect, Locktopus, and AppLocker to lock apps on your jailbroken iPhone.


Locking apps on your iPhone is a smart move. It not only prevents your information from landing in the wrong hands but also keeps people from viewing your photos, making unwanted Apple Store purchases, and limiting the amount of screen time for your child.

Therefore, you can use any of the above methods to enhance your privacy by locking apps on your iPhone.

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