How to Lock Apps on iPhone and iPad with Passcode in iOS 12: Limit Unwanted Access and Secure Privacy

Apple's Screen Time feature in iOS 12 isn't just to monitor iPhone usage. It can be used to password protect any app on iPhone or iPad. To learn how to do it, just follow instructions in this post


Till now it was hard to lock apps on iPhone unlike Android devices. Thanks to iOS 12 Screen Time that we can finally password protect individual iPhone app without downloading any third-party apps. When we have an iPhone, we are often asked for it to click pictures at a party and we happily hand it as it is a matter of pride for us.

But deep down we know that we have also exposed our personal data to someone else. Now that’s going to change, just read this tutorial to know how to lock apps on iPhone with a password using Screen Time feature.

Important Note: This is a workaround and not a foolproof method. This is more of a parental control feature rather than an App locking feature. On top of that, your apps will automatically unlock every midnight. You need to open apps again for the set time in order to lock them again.

How to Lock Individual App on iPhone or iPad With a Passcode in iOS 12 


  • Screen Time should be enabled by default. If you are new to Screen Time, we have a details guide on how to use Screen Time.
  • You should have used the app for a few minutes before you can lock it with a Passcode.
  • You cannot lock apps like Settings, Phone, Wallet, Clock, and Find my iPhone using Screen Time.

Before moving forward, make sure you have disallowed all apps.

To do so, go to SettingsScreen TimeAlways Allowed → and remove all apps except Phone app from the list by tapping the Red button (-).

Remove all apps except Phone app in iOS 12 Screen Time

Now that you have got the basics covered, let’s head over to lock individual app on iPhone.

Step #1. Head over to the Settings app on your iPhone → Tap on Screen Time.

Tap on Settings Then Tap on Screen Time on iPhone

Step #2. Next, tap on “Use Screen Time Passcode”. Now set the Passcode that you wish; it will be used to unlock the app once it is locked.

Tap on Use Screen Time Passcode and Set the Passcode in iOS 12

Step #3. In this screen, you’ll see statistics of your usage of different apps along with the name of your iPhone. You need to tap on the Name of your iPhone.

Tap on iPhone Name in Screen Time Settings in iOS 12

Step #4. By default, you’ll land on the statistics of the current day. If you scroll a little, you’ll see a list of apps along with the time it was used.

You can tap on any app that you wish to lock. If you don’t find the app on the list, it is probably you have not used it “Today.” You can switch to “Last 7 Days” statistics and find the app you wish to lock.

Tap on Name you wish to lock in Screen Time Settings in iOS 12

Step #5. On the next screen, tap on Add Limit and then enter your Screen Time Passcode.

Tap on Add Limit and Enter Screen Time Passcode

Step #6. Now you need to set a time limit. This is actual usage time and not the countdown.

For example, if you set one minute, the app will be locked after it is used for one minute. To lock the app, set one minute and then tap on Add on the top-right corner of the screen.

Set Time Limit for Specific App in iOS 12 Screen Time

Step #7. If the app is already used for more than a minute, you will notice that the app icon is greyed out instantly. When you try to open the app, you’ll be presented with Time Limit screen. The only person with a Passcode can unlock the app and use it. If it is not used for at least a minute, you’ll need to keep the app open for at least a minute to get it locked.

You Can See the Lock App on iPhone With a Passcode

Step #8. To unlock the app, launch it from Home Screen and then tap on “Ask For More Time” at the Time Limit screen.

Tap on Ask For More Time in Screen Time Locked App

Step #9. Now tap on “Enter Screen Time Passcode” and enter the same on the next screen.

Tap on Screen Time Passcode in Screen Time Locked App

Step #10. After that, you’ll have three options: Approve for 15 minutes, Approve for an hour, or Approve all day. Depending on your requirement, tap on any of the option and the app will be unlocked.

Choose any one option to Unlock the App on iPhone

That’s it. This way you can lock individual app on iPhone using Passcode. Just in case if you wish to lock all apps, follow a few simple steps given below.

How to Lock All Apps on iPhone with a Passcode in iOS 12

Just like the guide above, you should have used the app in the past to lock it with a Passcode. Assuming you have done so, let’s proceed with the steps.

Step #1. Head over to Settings → Screen Time → App Limits.

Tap on Screen Time and select App Limits in iOS 12

Step #2. Enter your Screen Time Passcode.

Enter the Screen Time Passcode in iOS 12 Screen Time

Step #3. Now tap on Add Limit.

Tap on Add Limit in iOS 12 App Limits Settings

Step #4. On the next screen, tap on “All Apps & Categories” to lock all apps. You can also select any specific category if you wish to. Tap on Next after you have made the selection.

Select All Apps and Categories and then Tap on Next in iOS 12 Screen Time

Step #5. Just like we did before, set the time and tap on Add located at the top-right corner of the screen.

Set Time Limit for All Apps in iOS 12 Screen Time

Now you can go back to Home Screen, and you’ll notice that all those apps that have been used for more than a minute are greyed out; that means they are locked.

You Can See Lock All Apps on iPhone with a Passcode

Video: How to Lock Apps on iPhone and iPad

Signing off

With the help of this feature, I am sure you’ll have complete control over your privacy. Of course, there will be a few people annoyed when they notice the Time Limit screen. Anyways, it’s time for a goodbye with a commitment to return with a few more useful guides.

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