How to Lock Apps on Your iPhone

Lock Apps Iphone Featuerd

You might wonder why you’d want to lock apps when you can already lock your iPhone. As it turns out, app locking adds an extra layer of protection when you unlock your phone and lend it to someone to use. This way, your most sensitive information remains safe.

App restrictions have always been a part of iOS devices, but with the release of iOS 12, these features are now in a new utility called Screen Time. There’s no system-level feature for locking apps individually, so you’re limited to how many you can lock.

It’s also harder to hide apps from view completely, but we’ll show you a number of workarounds you can use to protect your app settings and get the same effect.

Content & Privacy Restrictions

This feature is available in Screen Time, and you can use it to block or limit specific features or apps. It also helps you restrict settings on your iPhone for explicit content, privacy, purchases and downloads.

To do this:

1. Go to “Settings.”

Lock Apps Iphone Settings

2. Tap “Screen Time.”

Lock Apps Iphone Settings Screen Time

3. Tap “Content & Privacy Restrictions.”

Lock Apps Iphone Settings Screen Time.

4. Enter a passcode if asked, preferably a different one from the one you use to unlock your iPhone.

5. Turn on “Content & Privacy.”

Note: Turning off apps or features won’t delete them; they’re just temporarily hidden from your Home Screen until you turn them back on.

Set Time Limits

This is akin to locking apps away from being used by others or yourself through setting time limits for apps. However, it doesn’t let you set limits for individual apps, as you’re limited to certain app categories. Once you turn App Limits on in Screen Time, you’ll get app categories such as Social Networking, Entertainment, or Games.

You can choose any category and how much time you want to use them, and once you reach the limit, you’ll be notified that you’ve reached your limit. You can ignore the notification and continue using the app. If you’re a parent, you can set a Screen Time password if you’ve set time limits for your child’s iPhone. This way they can’t go past the time limits.

To set time limits, take these steps:

1. Open “Settings.”

2. Tap “Screen Time.”

3. Tap App Limits,” and then tap “Add Limit.” The apps will be displayed in a list, and you can decide which one to restrict access to.

Lock Apps Iphone Settings Screen Time App Limits

4. Tap the checkbox button next to the app category you want to restrict.

5. Pick a “time limit” like hours or days you want the restriction in place for the app category.

Lock Apps Iphone Settings App Limits Time

6. Tap Add to save your settings.

Guided Access (Password App Lock)

This methods prevents you from leaving the app you’re using. It’s particularly useful for parents if your child is using a particular app on the phone, and you’re worried he may venture to other apps.

To set a password app lock using Guided Access, take the steps below:

1. Open “Settings -> General.”

Lock Apps Iphone Settings General

2. Tap “Accessibility.”

Lock Apps Iphone Settings General Accessibility

2. Tap “Guided Access” and swipe its toggle button to On.

Lock Apps Iphone Settings Accessibility Guided Access

3. Now tap “Passcode Settings.”

Lock Apps Iphone Settings Guided Access Passcode Settings

4. Tap “Set Guided Access Passcode.”

Lock Apps Iphone Settings Passcode Settings Touchid

5. Type a new passcode and re-enter to confirm it.

You can use Guided Access by opening any app and pressing the Home button three times (or Side button for iPhone X) when the app starts, to bring up the Guided Access start screen.

Here you can draw a circle around areas you wish to disable. However, you can also tap Options at the lower-right side of the screen to disable anything including touchscreen or volume buttons. You can also use it to set a time limit on Guided Access sessions.

To end a Guided Access session, you can use Touch ID if your iPhone is Touch ID-enabled, instead of a passcode. To do this:

1. Open “Settings -> General -> Accessibility.”

2. Tap “Guided Access” and swipe its toggle button to On.

3. Tap “Passcode Settings.”

4. Toggle “Touch ID” to ON.

Face ID and Touch ID (Fingerprint)

These two features offer convenience and security at the same time, and are more secure than using long passwords. Plus, they’re unlikely to be cracked by phone thieves.

They not only lock your screen but also protect apps on your iPhone, acting as a safety net if you leave your phone sitting around unlocked. It’s also helpful when you hand your phone to someone to use and don’t want them snooping around your sensitive information.

Furthermore, scanning your face or fingerprint is more convenient than typing long passwords each time you log into apps, some of which require new passcodes in addition to Face or Touch ID for more security.

If you’ve set up Touch ID, use the steps below to lock apps:

1. Open “Settings.”

2. Tap “Touch ID & Passcode.”

Lock Apps Iphone Settings Touchid Passcode

3. Type in your passcode.

Lock Apps Iphone Settings Enter Passcode

4. Swipe the toggles to On for apps you wish to lock.

Note: These steps only cover apps like iTunes, Apple Pay and App Store. For other apps you download from App Store, a different process is required as follows:

1. Open the compatible app and go to its Settings.

2. Tap Preferences.

3. Now tap “Lock” or “Passcode & Touch ID” (depending on the app).

Use a Third-Party App

This is a great option for locking apps on an iPhone, as you can get a variety of apps that allow you to block access to individual apps using biometric ID or a passcode. The downside, however, is you can’t use them if your iPhone isn’t jailbroken, which we don’t recommend, as it may create performance issues and security vulnerabilities on your smartphone.


Whether you want to stop your kids from seeing something they shouldn’t or poking around your password manager, or you just want to protect your app settings, any of these steps will help you lock apps on your iPhone.

Elsie Biage
Elsie Biage

My passion has always been to share every bit of useful information I find on tech, with the ultimate goal of helping people solve a problem.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox