Apple doesn’t have an official method to add password protection for each app. There are also no other third-party apps on the App Store that offer similar functionality. If you want to lock apps directly, using apps like BioProtect, Locktopus, or AppLocker, you must jailbreak your iPhone which may create security vulnerabilities and performance issues.
However, there’s a workaround that allows iOS users to lock certain apps using passwords. This lies in the new features called Screen Time and Guided Access introduced in iOS 12.
In this article, we’re going to use App Limits and Guided Access to block access to some apps. Also, if you’re addicted to a particular game or social apps, you might be considering hiding the apps or making them more difficult to find.
How to Lock Apps using App Limits
Screen Time is a great way to set daily limits on any app, no matter if you want to limit the time you spend on social media or just need some quiet time from work emails.
Keep in mind that it only locks an app for a certain amount of time and only works with iOS 12 and later.
Step 1. Open up the Settings app.
Step 2. Scroll down and choose Screen Time.
Step 3. Tap Turn on Screen Time if it’s not already enabled yet.
Step 4. In the Screen Time menu, select App Limits.
Step 5. Then tap Add Limit on the App Limits page.
Step 6. Here choose which apps you wish to restrict access to. Tap the checkbox button to the left of the app category to limit all apps within that category. Or you can restrict individual apps inside a category like Social Networking or Games by tapping through to the category.
Step 7. After you’ve selected which apps you’d like to limit, select Next on the top-right corner to continue.
Step 8. Under Time, choose a daily time limit based on your need. Or select the Customize Days option which allows you to set the limit for each day of the week instead of every day.
To trigger the blocking, you need to use the app for at least 1 minute every day. It’s annoying, but we have no other options. Hopefully, Apple will allow us to set the time limit to zero in future updates.
Step 9. When you’re done setting up, tap Add on the upper-right corner.
How to Access Locked Apps on your iPhone
If you’ve reached the time limit you’ve placed on an app, you will see a Time Limit message when you tap to open the locked app.
Step 1. If you wish to continue to use the app, tap Ignore Limit at the bottom of the screen.
Step 2. Tap Enter Screen Time Passcode. If you haven’t created a Screen Time passcode, it will require you to enter the lock screen passcode you use to unlock your iPhone.
Step 3. Once you’ve entered your passcode, you can choose a time period such as Approve for either 1 minute, 15 minutes, or all day.
How to Lock Apps on iPhone using Guided Access
Guided Access can be used to restrict your device temporarily with the usage of a single app. You might want to use this feature if you’d like to stay focused on a task while using your iPhone. Or if you’re letting someone borrow your phone and want to prevent them to access anything on your iPhone except the one they will be using. Follow these steps to use it:
How to Enable Guided Access
Step 1. Open the Settings app.
Step 2. Navigate to the Accessibility.
Step 3. Scroll down and select Guided Access.
Step 4. Toggle on the Guided Access feature.
Step 5. Now head to the Passcode Settings.
Step 6. Then hit Set Guided Access Passcode.
Step 7. Enter a new passcode and then reenter it to confirm.
How to Lock Apps using Guided Access
After you enable Guided Access and set your passcode, you can use the feature by launching the app that you want to restrict.
Step 1. Go to the app you want to open.
Step 2. Press the Side button or Home button three times.
Step 3. This displays the Guided Access start screen. You can use your finger to draw a circle or any closed shape to restrict part of your screen from working. It means the selected area will not register any touch and will stay grayed out.
Step 4. Alternatively, choose Options at the bottom-left corner. This will allow you to disable everything from the Volume Buttons to the Keyboards, Touch, Motion, as well as set a time limit on the Guided Access session.
Step 5. Tap Start on the top right corner to begin Guided Access.
How to End Guided Access session
When you get your phone back and want to end Guided Access:
Step 1. Press the Side button or Home button three times.
Step 2. Next, enter your Guided Access passcode.
Step 3. Finally, tap End on the top left corner. Now you will be able to use your phone and access all of the apps like normal.
Hopefully, with the steps above, you’re able to lock certain apps on your iPhone. As an alternative, you might be considering hiding the apps or making them more difficult to find. Also, if you’re curious, here’s How to Delete Apps on your iPhone to get rid of unused apps and free up your storage.