[iOS 18] How to Lock Certain Apps on iPhone and iPad

Jerome Peng
Last updated: Jun 18, 2024

This article explains how to lock apps on iPhone and iPad in 4 ways. All methods provided here have been tested for effectiveness, so feel free to refer to them.

Many people wish to password-protect apps on their iPhones or iPads for various reasons, such as safeguarding privacy, controlling children's access to specific apps, or maintaining discretion over certain applications. This article outlines effective methods to lock apps on iOS devices.

Let's delve into these methods below.

[iOS 18] How to Lock Certain Apps on iPhone and iPad

Can You Lock an App on an iPhone or iPad?

The answer is YES. Starting in iOS 18, you can use your screen passcode or Apple ID to lock certain apps on your iPhone and iPad. For devices running iOS 17 or earlier, methods like Screen Time and Shortcuts offer easy ways to achieve app locking.

How to Lock Specific Apps on iPhone and iPad [iOS 18/iPadOS 18]

With the introduction of iOS 18 at Apple's WWDC on June 10, 2024, specific apps can now be locked and hidden easily.

We tested the how-to steps on iOS 18 beta. Below are the results.

Best for:

  • Those who want to lock and hide specific apps.


  • Easy setup: Lock apps in just 2 simple steps.
  • Flexible restrictions: Hide specific apps.


  • iOS 18 is in beta and may have stability issues.

How to Lock and Hide an App on iOS 18:

  1. Long press the app you want to lock on the Home Screen and tap "Require Passcode" or "Require Face ID".
  2. Tap “Require Passcode” or “Require Face ID” in the pop-up window, then enter your iPhone screen passcode or use your Face ID to lock the app.
Lock Apps on iOS 18
  1. To hide the app, tap "Hide and Require Passcode" in the pop-up window, enter your iPhone passcode, and tap "Hide App". (To find your hidden apps on iPhone and iPad, go to App Library, tap the Hidden folder, and enter your iPhone passcode.)
Hide and Require Passcode on iOS 18
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How to Lock Apps on iPhone and iPad with Screen Time

Screen Time not only displays how much time you spend on your device but also restricts access to specific apps. If you want to lock certain apps on iPhone and iPad, Screen Time is a good option.

Best for:

  • Beginners.
  • Parents sharing devices.
  • Those wanting to lock multiple apps.
  • iPhones running iOS 17 or earlier.


  • Easy setup: Utilizes iOS's built-in feature.
  • Flexible restrictions: Can lock multiple apps.


  • Individual app-specific passwords cannot be set.
  • Requires entering Apple ID and password beforehand.
  • Can be disabled if the Screen Time passcode is known.

How to Lock an App Using Screen Time on iPhone and iPad:

  1. Go to "Settings" > "Screen Time" and turn on Screen Time.
  2. Tap "App Limits", enable it, then set time limits for the app you want to lock.
Lock Apps with Screen Time
  1. If you want to entirely block the app, go back to "Screen Time", then tap "Use Screen Time Passcode" or "Lock Screen Time Settings" and set a Screen Time passcode.
Set Screen Time Passcode
It's recommended that you enter your Apple ID and password for Screen Time passcode recovery in case you forget it.

How to Lock Specific Apps on iPhone and iPad with the Shortcuts App

Another method to lock apps on iPhone and iPad is using the Shortcuts app introduced in iOS 16.4 and later. This method allows apps to automatically close after opening, which is useful when lending devices to others.

Best for:

  • Those who need to lend devices to others.
  • Users familiar with configuring Shortcuts.


  • App-specific locking capability.
  • Free with standard features.


  • Setup steps can be slightly complex for beginners.
  • Occasional malfunction or delay in operation.
  • Risk of the lock being disabled if the password is known.

How to Lock Specific Apps on iPhone and iPad Using the Shortcuts App:

  1. Open the Shortcuts app, select the "Automation" tab, and tap the "+" icon to create a personal automation.
  2. Tap "App".
Choose the App to Lock
  1. Choose the app you want to lock, select "Run Immediately" and then tap "Next".
Create New Automation
  1. Tap "New Blank Automation", search for "Lock Screen", and tap "Done".
Lock Apps with Shortcuts

How to Lock an App with Third-Party Software

You can also use third-party software to lock and hide apps on your iPhone and iPad.

Here are three options:

  • Locker: Hides photos, videos, passwords, files, contacts, and memos.
  • AppLock: Locks individual apps.
  • Lock App: Custom icons and app hiding & locking.

Best for:

  • Those needing to lock individual apps.
  • Users comfortable with in-app purchases.


  • Some apps are completely free.
  • Free standard features.
  • Ensures strong privacy and information security.


  • Some apps may include advertisements.
  • Risk of the lock being disabled if the password is known.

Bonus: How to Lock Notes on iPhone and iPad

The Notes app includes a feature to lock specific notes. Use this feature to save notes you don't want others to see securely. You can use either your device's lock password or create a new one, and each time you view a note, you'll be prompted to enter the password.

Here's how:

  1. Open the Notes app, select the note you want to lock, tap the ellipsis (...) button at the top right, and tap "Lock."
Lock Specific Notes
  1. Choose to use your device's screen passcode or create a new password. If creating a new password, follow the prompts to set up the passcode, confirm it, and set a hint.
Lock Notes with Screen Passcode or Create a New Password
  1. Your specific note is now locked. Once you set a lock password, you can use the same password for other notes.


Now that you know how to lock an app on your iPhone and iPad, feel free to choose a method and give it a try. If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it on your social media.

Jerome is a passionate enthusiast of all things Apple. He is expertise in crafting tech-related articles, with a portfolio of more than 100 articles covering various Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.