How to Lock Apps on iPhone and Android

how to lock apps on iphone and android

Going through somebody’s phone is just as bad as reading their diary–if not worse. But then again, if you password-protect everything, people you care about may become suspicious. So how to balance the two?

If you want to know how to lock apps on iPhone and Android, keep on reading.

Why opt for mobile apps lock?

Personal devices store our important data; so if someone gets hold of them, they can find whichever piece of information they’re interested in. Whether it’s a photo you don’t want anyone to see or your bank account credentials, you’ll want to add an additional layer of security.

That is why many smartphone owners look for ways to lock some or all mobile apps on their devices, and it may take them some time to figure out the best way to do so. Although computers are more prone to catching malware and require stronger security, you shouldn’t neglect your phone. Most probably, if it gets lost, you’d be lost as well.

Can you lock apps on iPhone?

There are at least four proven ways to set a password app lock on your iPhone. They all work differently so go through them carefully and see which one suits you best.

Can You Lock Apps On an iPhone using Screen Time Limits Feature?

If you want to allow access to more than one mobile app at a time, maybe Screen Time is an ideal option for you–especially if you’d like to share your device with another user but also keep some things to yourself.

This feature enables you to limit how much time you spend in-app or to even lock some of them. Here’s how it works:

  • Enter your Settings and choose Screen Time;
  • Click on App Limits and then tap the Add Limit option;
  • Select a checkbox next to a mobile app you’d like to lock;
  • Select preferred time limits–in minutes, hours or days.

Use this method for first-party password app lock

Most iOS users usually unlock their device by using a PIN, pattern, fingerprint, or face recognition. However, these options don’t include individual locking of mobile apps. For that purpose, you’ll want to get around traditional iPhone settings. Follow these instructions:

  • Open your Settings;
  • Enable Screen Time;
  • Click on Content and Privacy;
  • Enter Allowed Apps and toggle off those you want to keep unlocked.

Note: If you’re using iOS 11 or older, the instructions are somewhat different: Settings/General/Restrictions/Enable Restrictions. This will require you to set a new password for the mobile apps you want to lock.

Can You Lock Apps on iPhone Using Guided Access?

The Guided Access option on your iPhone lets you lock all mobile apps except for one. Here’s how to activate it:

  • Enter your Settings;
  • Click on Accessibility;
  • Tap on Guided Access;
  • Select Passcode Settings;
  • Click on Set Guided Access Code;
  • Enter your passcode, which should be different than the one you’re using to unlock your iPhone;
  • Now select the mobile app from the Home Screen that you’d like to keep unlocked and enable it by triple-tapping the Home or Power button (depending on the model of your iPhone);
  • Tap Guided Access and select Start.

When you wish to quit, repeat the same triple-tap step and choose End.

Can You Lock Apps on iPhone Using Third-Party Apps?

All AppStore apps are carefully monitored for a reason, so using third-party mobile apps available with jailbroken iPhones is definitely not officially recommended. However, should you decide to use such mobile apps, these are the ones to consider:

NameSizeCustomer Review

How to lock apps on Android?

Compared to iOS, Android devices are more prone to catching malware. However, they also offer more password-protecting options since there are more Android mobile apps on the market.

If you want to set a password to keep snooping fingers away, read through the possible ways. However, if you want to increase your security due to noticing some suspicious behaviour, you can always check if your phone is tapped.

Screen Pinning Mobile Apps Lock

Android’s equivalent to iOS Guided Access is Screen Pinning. It allows you to access only one mobile app, whereas others will stay locked. If you wish to exit the mobile app you’re using and make a different action on your Android device, you’ll be asked to reenter the password.

This may come in handy if you lent your phone to someone for a specific purpose, but want to avoid them sniffing around. It’s also useful for child safety purposes when parents want to let their children use the phone for one activity only. This is the way to enable it:

  • Go to Settings and choose Security;
  • Select Advanced and then Screen Pinning;
  • Toggle the button to turn it on;
  • Toggle the button to Lock device when unpinning;
  • Now go to your Home Screen and tap on Overview;
  • Choose one mobile app to tap the pin and test if it works.

When you wish to disable this function, simply click on the pin icon again, and it’ll come back to being unlocked.

How do you lock apps on Samsung?

Besides Screen Pinning, there is a second Android Feature to protect apps with personal data, and that is Secure Folder, which is only featured on Samsung Android phones.

Secure Folder that allows you to put apps into a lockable virtual folder. You can use a passcode, a PIN, a whole password, or even your fingerprint or iris to lock it.

Here are the steps to activate:

  • Go to Settings and choose “Biometrics and security”;
  • Tap on “Secure Folder,” and then “Lock type”;
  • Choose between Pattern, PIN, Password or fingerprint or iris, and create the password;
  • Then go to the app drawer and select “Secure Folder.” Tap “Add apps”;
  • Select all the apps you want in the folder, then tap “Add” in the upper right corner;
  • Click “Lock” back in the Secure Folder menu;
  • Test by trying to access an app you added to the folder. 

How to put passwords on apps?

Although Screen Pinning is a good option, it’s not ideal for people who wish to enable access to more than one mobile app at a time. In that case, if you’re an Android user, you’ll want to install a third-party mobile app.

They all work in a similar way, but you may want to test a few before deciding on your favourite. The most popular ones are:

NameSizeDownloadsCustomer Review
Smart AppLock9M10,000,000+4.7
AppLock Pro15M10,000,000+4.6

Bottom line

Where the master password fails, additional methods come into action. If not only for the security of your device and data, app locking is also efficient in reducing the time you spend on your phone. Either way, knowing how to lock apps on your Android or iPhone device will help you sleep better, knowing that your privacy is protected.


1. How do you lock apps on iPhones without an app?

The most popular ways include Guided Access and Screen Time. We encourage you to explore the Screen Time option since it lets you set time limitations and choose which apps you’d like to restrict.

2. How do I lock all apps except one?

For iPhone users, the best way to do so is via Guided Access. The Android equivalent for this option is Screen Pinning.

3. How do you lock apps on Android?

Android users most frequently opt for Screen Pinning. However, you can also try exploring apps available on Google Play. We recommended some of the best in this guide on how to lock apps on iPhone and Android.

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