How To Lock Apps In iPhone

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If you are looking for an app to lock apps in iPhone then there is no need of that as iOS provides an inbuilt feature for that. In this article, we will explain this feature on iPhone which many of you might not know. After going through this post you will get to know how to lock apps without using any additional 3rd party application from App Store and even without jailbreak. 

Besides that, we have also mentioned methods to hide apps or set other restrictions. Moreover, you can also control what all features will be available to use for a particular application, meaning you can also lock specific functions present inside the app. So let’s see how it works.

Lock Apps In iPhone

Note: All the steps are according to iOS 12.2.

The feature is named Guided Access. And to use it, we will first have to enable it first. For that:

  • Go to Settings and Tap on General
  • Under General select Accessibility.
  • In Accessibility, if you scroll down you will find Guided Access, select it.
  • Under Guided Access toggle its switch to ON.enable guided access on iPhone
  • Turning Guided Access On will give an option of Passcode Settings, select it.
  • After that by selecting Set Guided Access Passcode, you can set Passcode which will be used while locking and unlocking apps.Set guided access passcode
  • Or even enable touch ID option to end Guided Access.

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With this, you have successfully enabled the Guided Access feature and now to lock the apps:

  • Open the app you wish to lock. For instance, take Messages App.
  • Now to start Guided Access triple click the home button.
  • If you have set other shortcuts as well then select Guided Access from the menu, else skip this step.
  • This will give you options where you can restrict features within an app as shown below. This is the best part of this feature. You might have seen apps which lock other applications but to lock features within an app is quite new and different.
Guided Access to lock an app
Guided Access Options
  • For example, we have taken Messages Application, tap on Options at bottom left corner, as shown above, Toggle Keyboards to OFF and tap Done. With this, you won’t be able to use Keyboard inside Messages App. You may turn off other features depending on your choice.
Disable use of keyboard in a certain app
Guided Access Options – Restricting Keyboard
  • Moreover, you can circle out areas within an app which you would like to disable. In our example, let’s circle out and disable Edit so that no one is able to delete Messages.
Restrict features within the app
Circling out Edit
  • After setting all this up Tap on Start present at the top right corner of the screen. Enter the passcode which you set earlier and the area will not be functional.

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This is it! You are safe to hand over your phone to a kid, friend or employee with whom you are not comfortable to share other information/apps on your phone. With the settings we made above the user will not be able to use Edit feature.

Disable specific area or feature in the app
Edit Disabled

And also no one will have access to the keyboard so cannot type messages either. Moreover, they cannot navigate to other apps or even Home screen. The user will be limited to just Messages App.

How to lock Apps in iPhone
Keyboard Disabled

To end Guided Access triple click on the home button and enter Passcode. Tap on End at the top left corner of the screen. If you don’t remember Guided Access password then follow our tutorial to end Guided access if you forgot passcode and change its password.

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Hide Apps And Limit Usage Of iPhone

If you want to hide certain apps like Camera, Safari browser, Siri, FaceTime, iTunes Store, and a few other features fully from the device then that can be done easily using Restrictions. Not only hide apps, but you can also restrict contents, privacy, and other services. This can be useful if you want to restrict the usage of your child’s device or not allow others to access everything on your device while they use it. To do that –

  • Again go to Settings scroll down and tap on Screen Time.
  • Now here you will see various options using which you can restrict the app usage. There is an option to set App Limits, Allow apps that will be there all the time and Content & Privacy Restriction.content and privacy restriction - hide or lock apps on iPhone
  • Select Content & Privacy Restriction and then set a 4 digit passcode. After this, turn on the toggle button next to it by tapping on it to enable the restriction.enable content and privacy restriction

As you enable the restrictions all the options below will be unlocked. There are various stock apps that you can completely hide from the app drawer and even set limit to the device usage in different sections. Let’s check them one by one.

  • iTunes and App Store Purchase – You can select whether to allow the installing, deletion and in-app purchases from the App Store and iTunes or not. Also the option to require the password for each purchase.Itunes and app store purchases restrictions
  • Allowed Apps – Here you can select which apps you wish to allow while the Restricted option is enabled. It has the option to restrict Safari, Camera, Siri, Facetime, etc. as seen in the screenshot below. Just turn the toggle switch off in front of the apps to disable or hide them.Hide apps on iPhone
  • Content Restriction – You can further scroll down to customize the permission of the usage of various explicit contents in music, podcast, and news and Siri.content restriction on iOS

Here you can also set limitation as per ratings for Films, restrict TV Programmes, Allow apps as per age group, let Siri use the web and set limitation for websites that may not be good for children. And even restrict multiplayer gaming, adding friends and screen recording of the games.

To hide apps, select Apps. Inside this option, a user can decide which apps to be shown in the iOS devices according to age.hide third party apps on iPhone

Here select the first option i.e. Don’t Allow Apps and then hit the home button.don't allow apps to show on iPhone, iPad or iPod

As soon as you do that, you will see all the third-party and downloaded apps will be completely hidden from the main app drawer.

hide downloaded apps on iPhone without jailbreak or app
Left – Before Right – After
  •  Privacy – Next comes the Privacy option, here you can set the restriction to the features that the apps can use from the device or allow to make changes while using them or not.privacy restriction on iOS

This can be useful in case you don’t want a certain app to access options like Location services, Contacts, Calendars, etc.

  • Allow Changes – At last, is the option where you can allow if any change can be made to Account, Volume Limit, etc. while Restrictions are on.Allow changes - Restrict changes on iPhone

As soon as you disable the apps or any features, they will be completely hidden from your iPhone and won’t show anymore unless you enable them again or disable Restrictions.

Additional Method You Can Use

This method will not actually make the app go away, but it will make the app sort of invisible. It may not be perfect, but will surely let other people think that the particular folder has only one application. And they won’t bother opening it. To do that:

  • Create a folder by dragging one app on top of the other. For that, long press on the app icon until it starts to wobble and drag it on top of another app icon. Or you can do it on any existing folders.
  • Now you will see a folder which will have two apps and only one page. After this, drag the app to the corner of the folder to create a new page inside it as shown in the screenshot below.hide apps on iPhone
  • Then press the home button. Now you will see the folder you created will show only one app, as the other is on the second page hiding in plain sight.
    hide apps on iOS by creating a folder
    1 – Before 2 – After
  • One thing to remember, if anyone opens the folder then they might get to know that you have buried the app inside it.

This method is not that much useful but more often than not one will not open the folder if they see only one app inside it. I would recommend adding such app on the first page of the folder which is not of much use and no one will bother opening the folder for that.

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Wrapping Up

We hope that you loved to know about such a useful feature to lock and hide apps in iPhone without the use of any other application. We wish that you learned more than what you expected as you can now even lock features within the app apart from the app. Let us know if you face any problems.

16 thoughts on “How To Lock Apps In iPhone”

  1. Is there a way to turn it off if you don’t remember the passcode???? Or can resetting the phone work??

  2. I, unfortunately, was unable to use this function. With Android, I used app lock and it worked great only on specific apps. Anyone else knows of any apps that are free and work great?

  3. Boss, We are asking for app lock not locking features after opening apps. Especially with touch ID. It’s apple man! Kids/friends /family do use our phone sometime. don’t want them to open and social apps. Hope you find it soon.

    • Hi Venkssy,
      I understand your point. According to my knowledge, there is no app on App Store that can lock/password protect individual apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Kik etc.
      However, there are few good paid and free apps that can lock Photos/Videos, Contacts, Notes, Contacts etc. These apps basically make copies of your desired content(photo, video, contact etc.) and move them to a different folder which is locked with a passcode. The locked content still can be accessed from your iPhone’s Camera roll, or Phone app in case of contacts. So, you need to delete it from there(source).
      Here is the app I have tried and works pretty well.
      1. Hide My Folder – Free
      2. My Hidden Folder Pro – Paid version of the above app. It of course has more features.
      3. Secret Folder Icon – Paid

      I hope this helps 🙂

    • Exactly! I want to lock the Messages app from opening without a passcode OR I want to password protect a particular conversation; for instance with my bank. For some reason, if someone clicks on my bank in the Message list then a passcode will be asked. My bank notifies me of certain info that I want to retain for a time but no one else needs to know that info. It would be useful to lock the Messages app just in case or maybe lock the conversation with the bank OR even hide the bank conversation entirely, all without jailbreaking.


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