How to lock apps on iPhone: 5 Easy ways!

How to lock apps on iPhone with a password

Do you want to lock some apps on your iPhone from pryings eyes? Or are you or your child addicted to your iPhone and want to limit your screen time? Then you have come to the right place. However, there’s a twist in the tail. You can’t lock iPhone apps completely, but you can limit their access. And I have some hacks up my sleeve, so let’s check how you can lock iPhone apps.

1. Lock third-party iPhone apps with their built-in features

This might be the best workaround to locking iOS/iPadOS apps. However, it entirely depends on the app you’re using, as it’s the developer’s privilege whether they want to give you a lock feature or not.

Many apps like WhatsApp, Dropbox, bank apps, etc., support built-in app locks. So, you can lock the supportive apps individually, with a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.

And while the overall process of adding a lock to the app will be similar, you might have to check the app’s support page or Google to know how.

2. Lock iOS apps using the Shortcuts app

As I mentioned, there is no direct way to lock an app, so we’ll use automation. The automation will set up a redirect to Lock Screen whenever the chosen app is triggered. The user will only be able to open the app upon unlocking (Touch ID, Face ID, or passcode).

Before we proceed: There is a small setting you have to change before making the automation. Go to ClockTimerWhen Timer Ends → Select Stop PlayingSet.

Select Stop Playing in Clock app on iPhone

To set this Automation method on your iPhone:

  1. Head to the ShortcutsAutomation tab.
  2. Tap Create Personal Automation.
    If not found, tap the (+) Plus icon and select Create Personal Automation.
  3. Scroll down and choose App.
  4. Here, tap Choose next to the app and select app/apps.

    Tap Choose next to the app in Shortcut iOS app
  5. Tap Done once selected.
  6. Ensure that only “is Opened” is selected, and tap on Next.
  7. Select Add Action.

    Select Add Action in the Shortcuts app on iPhone
  8. Search for Start Timer (type in search bar) and select it.
  9. Next to the Start timer for, select 1 Second.
  10. Hit Next.
  11. Toggle off the Ask Before runningDon’t Ask.
  12. Also, toggle off Notify When Run.
  13. Tap Done.

    Lock iOS apps using the Shortcuts app

Now test the automation, open any selected app, and you’ll be redirected to the Lock Screen. And unless you unlock the screen, you won’t be able to access the app. I know this situation is not ideal, but we’ll make do with what we have unless Apple thinks of some genius feature.

3. How to limit an iPhone app via Screen Time

Screen Time simply allows you to limit app usage. Now it could be 1 minute, 1 hour, or 10 hours a day, and the app will be locked under the Screen Time passcode after that. The flaw in the plan is that you can’t go below 1 minute, so the nosey observer can view 1 minute’s worth of the app and its data.

But if you’re ok with the setup, let’s try this method. Before we proceed, ensure that you’ve enabled Screen Time and a Screen Time passcode is set.

  1. Go to SettingsScreen Time
  2. Tap App LimitsApp Limit.
  3. Select the complete category, or you can tap the category to select individual apps.
    You can select multiple apps from different categories as well.
  4. Tap Next once the selection is made.

    Select the complete category in Screen Time setting from iPhone
  5. Select the time limit you want to set.
  6. Tap Customize Days to adjust days.
  7. Tap Add to enable the Screen Time limit.

    How to limit an iPhone app via Screen Time

If the app is not getting lacked: Go to SettingsScreen TimeAlways Allowed. Ensure that the app you want to lock isn’t present in the section. If it is, tap the red () icon and Remove. Notably, you can’t remove and thus not the Phone app from this section.

4. Lock apps on iPhone using guided access

Guided Access is an iPhone/iPad feature that allows you to lock the screen on a particular app or some features. So while it’s not locking the desired iPhone app, it locks users in a certain app and does not allow them to excess anything else.

It’s a reverse feature of what we want, but a specially useful one when you hand your iPhone/iPad to children. Before we move on, ensure that Guided Access and its shortcut are enabled.

To start a guided session:

  1. Ask Siri ‘turn on Guided Access.’ Or, press the Home button/Side button three times.
  2. Tap Guided Access if you see a slide-up menu.

    launch app and tap on guided access on iphone
  3. Optional: To restrict parts of your screen from working, use your finger to make a circle or any closed shape. Use the dots on the gray selected portion to achieve the desired result. Tap the cross (x) button if you want to remove it. When Guided Access is in action, this selected area will not register any touch and will stay grayed out.

    refrain screen part in guided access
  4. Optional: Tap Options at the bottom left to choose the features you want to make available. (Motion, Keyboards, and Touch are enabled by default. But you can disable them.) Similarly, if you enable the Side Button, it’ll allow you to lock the device during Guided Access. If you toggle on Volume Buttons, it’ll let you change the volume from the Guided Access screen. You get the idea, right?

    tap on options to use guided access features
  5. Finally, tap Start (located at the top right corner) to begin Guided Access.

    start guided access session on iphone

To end a guided session: There are two ways to do this.

  1. Press the Home button/Side button three times. Next, enter your Guided Access passcode. Finally, tap End at the top left.

    end guided access on iphone
  2. If you have enabled
    • Touch ID – Press the Home Button twice and confirm with your fingerprint.
    • Face ID – Hold the device in front of your face and press the Side button twice.

Note: If you ever get stuck in Guided Access mode, force restart your iPhone to come out of this.

5. How to block apps on iPhone without a password using mSpy

mSpy is a nifty parental control app that can help you lock apps on a device you’re monitoring, such as your child’s phone. 

It’s useful to block children’s access to distracting social media and messaging apps. Plus, it’s super easy to set up and comes with many other features such as geo-tracking a phone, monitoring calls and messages, etc. Here’s how to use mSpy to lock access to apps on your child’s phone:

  1. Sign up for a mSpy account. 
  2. Download the mSpy Lite app on your iPhone. 
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to link a device to the monitor.

    Link a device to monitor using mSpy
  4. Once you’ve linked your child’s device, open a browser on your computer and log into your account on
  5. On the top left, select your child’s device.

    Select your child’s device from mSpy Mac software
  6. Scroll down and select Block Applications.

    Block Applications on iPhone using mSpy Mac Software
  7. You can select which apps to block, such as WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. 

Your child won’t be able to access the blocked apps. You can change this at any time you wish.

Price: $21.00 per month for a monthly plan or $5.00 per month for an annual plan

Sign up for mSpy

That sums up the most common ways to lock apps on your iPhone using a passcode. Did I miss any hack? Or, if you have some questions regarding the methods mentioned, let me know in the comments below. I’ll be happy to help.

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