Every day we use our phones to access private and personal information. Emails, credit card details, bank statements, Venmo transactions, the list goes on.
It can be frustrating not having an easy way to lock certain apps with a password for those who are a bit more security conscious than others. But worry no more.
This article will show you how to add a passcode to any app on your phone or Apple watch and protect your personal information and data.
How to Add a Password to an App on an iPhone
iPhones have always been designed with the user in mind.
They come with a suite of built-in apps like Calendar, Camera, Clock, and FaceTime. The App Store also gives you instant access to thousands of apps that can help you do just about anything.
Some of these applications may contain sensitive information that you do not want to share with others who have access to your tips. That's why Apple has made sure that you can lock specific apps with a password.
Here's how to do it:
Using Guided Access
Guided Access is an iOS feature that lets you disable all but one app on your device. When this feature is enabled, only one application of your choice is accessible. This can be especially useful when you let a friend or child borrow your iPhone for a while.
Here's how to enable Guided Access on your iPhone:
- Open the Settings app and tap on “Accessibility”.
- Select “Guided Access”.
- Tap "Passcode Settings".
- Select "Set Guided Passcode".
- Enter the password you want to use. Ideally, you should choose a different one than the "master" password used to unlock your device.
- Reenter password.
- Go to the app you want to keep unlocked.
- Triple tap the home button on iPhone 8 or later. For iPhone X or earlier, press the side button three times.
- Select "Guided Access" and press "Start".
Once enabled, Guided Access will only allow the use of a single unlocked app on your iPhone. All other apps on your device will not be available.
To end Guided Access, simply triple-press the home button or the side button, select "Guided Access" and press "End".
Use screen time
Guided Access is considered too restrictive by some iPhone users because only one app can be opened. Maybe all you want is to keep your child away from a particular game or social media account. Or maybe you want to let someone borrow your iPhone and use multiple apps while restricting access to certain parts of your device.
If that's what you have in mind, Screen Time can save the day. But what is it?
Screen Time (available on iOS 12 or later) is a built-in feature that lets you track how much time you spend in individual apps. You can also limit how long each app can be used per day and even lock certain apps for a certain period of time.
Here's how to lock an app using Screen Time:
- Open the Settings app and tap "Screen Time".
- Go to "App Limits" and select "Add Limit". At this point, you should see a list of all apps on your iPhone.
- Tap the checkbox button next to each app you want to lock.
- Set a time limit for apps to be locked. You can restrict access for hours, days or even minutes.
The only downside to Screen Time is that it doesn't permanently restrict app access. So, you might want to set a higher time limit if you don't want your apps to be unlocked while your device is still in someone else's hands.
How to Add a Password to an App on an Android
Many people nowadays find themselves in a situation where they lend their Android phones to someone else whether intentionally or not. When this happens, you might want to make sure that certain apps on your phone are locked with a password for privacy and security.
There are two ways to lock individual apps on Android. Let's see how each works:
Screen pinning refers to the ability to pin (or lock) your Android device's screen to run one app, with access restrictions to all other apps. When attempting to exit the application, the user will be prompted for a password.
Screen pinning is the equivalent of the Guided Access feature on iOS devices.
Here's how to enable this feature on your Android device:
- Open Settings and tap "Security".
- Tap "Advanced", then select "Pin to screen".
- Switch the button to the "on" position.
- Enable the "Lock device when unpinning" button. This means that your device will ask you for a password before unpinning the app.
- Press the "Preview" button.
- Tap the app you want to pin, then tap "pin".
When you unpin a pinned screen, it returns to its previous state – running all the apps that were open before you pinned it. You can use this feature whenever you temporarily hand over your phone or tablet to someone else.
Although screen pinning can be a useful tool when you want to restrict access to certain apps on your Android, you cannot open any apps other than the pinned one.
If you want your child or friend to have a little more freedom when using your device, you should consider installing a third-party tool specifically designed to put a password on individual apps.
The most popular tools on the market include App Lock, Smart AppLock, and AppLock Pro.
How to Add a Password to an App on an iPad
It's true, you can't always control what other people do with your iPad, but you can take steps to protect your data and make sure they don't see anything they aren't supposed to.
A single master password can do the trick, but it might make you seem overly cautious and create an air of suspicion around the people you care about.
But adding a password to specific apps on your device can make you seem a bit more transparent while protecting the most important data.
Like the iPhone, your iPad comes with the Guided Access feature which allows you to disable access to all apps except one. For example, you can disable all apps on your iPad and leave the Phone app as the only active one. Any attempt to open other applications will be met with a request to "enter password".
Alternatively, you can enable Screen Time and restrict access to selected apps for a chosen period.
How to Add a Password to an Apple Watch
Apple Watches are handy devices that can improve your life in many ways, but there are security risks if you don't take steps to protect them.
The first thing you need to do with any new watch is set up an alphanumeric passcode. This will prevent anyone without the code from accessing certain features, including using Apple Pay to make contactless transactions or automatically unlocking your nearby Mac.
- Open the Settings app.
- Scroll down and tap "Passcode".
- Press "Activate passcode".
- Enter the password you want to use on your watch.
Protect your data
Whether or not to add a passcode to your phone is a question many people struggle with. You want protection, but you also need easy access for yourself and others who might need it.
In this situation, the best thing to do is to lock specific apps with a password.
Have you tried adding a passcode to an app on your mobile device or Apple Watch? How was it?
Let us know in the comments section below.