How to Lock an App on iPhone

iPhones don’t have an official way for individually locking applications like Photos, social media apps, or the App Store with a passcode. This means that anyone can snoop into your device once it’s unlocked. 

For a brand that values security and privacy, it’s strange for Apple not to add this feature on their iPhones. 

Luckily, a workaround was discovered with the introduction of Screen Time. 

Screen Time is a feature that was introduced in iOS 12. This gives users the option to limit access to their iOS devices. 

It was advertised for parents who want to control their child’s screen usage. It’s also widely used by professionals and students who don’t want to get distracted or need to lessen their phone usage to give way to more productive tasks. 

However, Screen Time can also be used to lock apps on your iPhone. 

Today, we will show you clever ways how to lock an app on your iPhone without using third-party tools. 

Lock Stock Apps Using Screen Time

Preinstalled applications on your iPhone are the easiest ones to lock. With Screen Time, you can hide stock apps on your iPhone so that other people can’t access them if they borrow your device. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

On your iPhone, tap on “Settings” and access the “Screen Time” tab. 

After that, go to “Content & Privacy Restrictions”. Tap on “Allowed Apps” and turn off the toggle switch for the applications you want to hide. 

lock an app on iPhone

Once done, go back to your home screen to check if the apps are hidden. 

Lock Apps Using Guided Access

If you’re lending your phone to your child and you are worried that they might venture elsewhere, you can use Guided Access. This is a feature introduced on iOS 11, which prevents you from leaving an app when enabled. 

To set up Guided Access, follow the guide below: 

First, open the “Settings app” on your iPhone and go to “Accessibility”. Now, scroll down and tap on “Guided Access”. 

From there, enable the feature and tap on “Passcode Settings”. Choose the “Set Guided Access Passcode” option and nominate a passcode for the feature. 

lock an app on iPhone

Confirm your passcode afterward to complete the process. 

To use Guided Access on your iPhone, go to your home screen and launch an app that you wish to use. 

After that, tap the “Home / Side button” three times to activate Guided Access.

Set Limits for Apps

Another way to lock an app on your iPhone is to set limits on Screen Time. While this method works, you have to take note that this will still give other people at least a minute to access your apps before it gets locked. 

Nonetheless, this is still better than not having any security. See the guide below to set app limits on your iOS device: 

On your iPhone, access the “Settings” and open “Screen Time”. Now, tap on “App Limits” and choose the “Add Limit” option. 

lock an app on iPhone

Select the app you want to limit and set a time limit. This determines how long you can use an app before it gets locked. If you’re doing this solely for security purposes, we suggest setting the limit to “1 Minute”. 

Finally, tap the “Add button” to save the changes. 

You’re all set! Whenever someone access restricted apps on your device, they’ll only be able to use it for a minute. To continue using the app, they’ll need to enter your Screen Time passcode. 

Screen Time Limitations

While setting an app limit on Screen Time works, it is not available for all applications. For example, you can’t use this workaround if you want to lock the Phone app. For Messages and FaceTime, you need to change the “Always Allowed” section on Screen Time for the limit to work. 

However, you might not want to disable access to Messages and FaceTime. When restricting applications using App Limits, devices using iCloud for Screen Time can’t send or receive messages during downtime. 

This means that you won’t be updated for new messages or when someone is calling you. 

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