How to Lock an App on iPhone?

Sometimes you don’t want your kids to access your iPhone and see some content or app you want to keep private, or you may want to prevent changing the setting of any app accidentally. There are lots of iPhone parental control app which can lock apps to protect them from unauthorized access; however, you can do the same if you know how to change some specific settings on your phone.

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Locking default Apple-apps on your iPhone

There are some limitations in iOS that don’t allow to you lock all the apps individually on a system-level basis, so you can lock only certain apps on iPhone while rest of the apps will remain unlocked. Here in this article, you’ll find a few workarounds by which you can “almost” lock any app you want. Here we said “almost” because sometimes you can’t block an app outright, but the fixes will help you to achieve pretty much similar level of protection. 


For newer versions of iOS

Now tap to Settings, go to Screen Time, and select Content and Privacy Restrictions from there. You’ll find Allowed Apps, tap on that. Here, you will see green bars beside every app. You can slide the green bars off for the apps you want to lock. That’s it, and you can back or swipe to the home.

For older versions

Here you can’t lock any other app except the first-party ones. For any Apple device, first-party denotes Apple, so any app created by Apple is a first-party app. Now, to be precise, we can’t literally “lock” even the first-party apps, but we can put such restrictions that will effectively disable them to function. Hence, it will serve the purpose.

Firstly you have to go to “settings” and then “general.” Now you scroll down, and there’s the option named “Restrictions.” Tapping on that will immediately prompt a password field where you have to put a new four digit password. And you have to put the password twice to confirm. This password should not be the same as your device unlock pass for obvious reasons.


Once you’re done with creating a password for the restrictions, there will be various options displayed on your screen. The very first option is “Allow,” and there you’ll find a list of Apple-created apps which you can restrict to be accessed on your phone. It’s mentioned already that there’s apparently no way to restrict third-party apps in this section, only first-party apps like Safari, FaceTime, Siri, etc. can be disabled or restricted here. You can toggle the green bar beside each app to restrict (or to restore later) it from appearing on the phone’s screen, and hence making it unavailable for anybody else using the phone without your permission. As you can see that even if it’s not an app lock mechanism in that sense, it’s serving the same purpose anyway.

Next option you’ll see here is “Allowed Content.” Here parental control can be set to restrict or allow content to be viewed based on the rating. The third option is “Privacy,” which is the control section from where you can prevent unauthorized changes to the privacy settings for various apps. Fourth is “Allow Changes,” and here you can control multiple settings, for example, volume limit.

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How to Time limit the apps?

Sometimes people feel they are using some apps too much that it’s eventually distracting them from focusing on their real life. Especially if you’re too much engaged in social media like FaceBook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc., and you feel it’s high time you need to address this problem; you can time limit those apps. By this way, after a certain time, even you as the owner of the phone, won’t be able to use an app after it’s specified time limit. Here you’re essentially locking or restricting the app from your own access.


To lock time for an app, first, you have to go to “settings” as usual, then find “Screen Time” in the settings section, select “App Limits” and tap on “Add Limits.”

A list of apps will be opened now for you to choose on which one you want to put a time limit. If you’re trying to limit social media apps, tap the “social networking” category, and select any one or even all the social apps, if you wish so.

What is Guided Access and how to lock apps with a password using it?

Guided access is a feature that allows locking your iPhone screen to a single app, and the user will not be able to access anything on your iPhone except that particular app only. This might be useful to you if you’re a parent and want to give your iPhone to your children for playing games, or maybe you’re giving your phone to somebody else to make a quick call, and you don’t want him/her to use anything else on your phone other than calling. 

So, launch “Settings.” Select “General.” Select “Accessibility.” Scroll all the way down and select “Guided Access.” Now put the toggle ON. Then let’s go through all settings under the “Guided Access” option. First one is “Passcode Settings.” Here you can set up a passcode to enable and disable the “Guided Access” feature. This is different than your iPhone passcode. Also, make sure that the Face ID or Touch ID toggle is enabled so that you can quickly enable or disable Guided Access sessions if your iPhone has those functions. So now, let’s set the passcode. Create a passcode. And re-verify the passcode.


Now, you’re done with setting up the Guided Access. To use this feature, you open an app and then tap the home button three times. If you’re using an iPhone X, then you have to tap the side button instead of the home button, and of course three times.

Read more: Enabling parental control online on laptop to ensure kids’ safety

Once you tap three times on the home button, you’ll be greeted by the Guided Access initiate screen. On the screen, you can draw a circle or rectangle or any shape and move that shape (or resize that shape) to any part of the screen to disable that part of the screen. Or, tap on OPTIONS on the bottom left corner. Here you can enable or disable any function using the toggles. For example, if you put the “side button” toggle OFF, the user will not be able to use the side button of your iPhone during the Guided Access session. So, you can decide which options to keep ON and which ones to keep OFF, based on your preference. Also, a time limit for the Guided Access session can be set, which would be 24 hours maximum. After that period, Guided Access session will end by itself.


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