Does this sound familiar? You pass your phone over to someone, and before you know it, they’re scrolling through your apps and files. If you have been in such a situation, you might find an app lock to be a necessity rather than a luxury. High chances are you have a lock screen password for your device. While this is essential to keep your phone or tablet safe, you may still need a lock on certain apps, especially those with sensitive information. This can also help you minimize your addiction to an app that you have opened multiple times in the last fifteen minutes.
Fortunately, adding this extra protection to the apps on your device is easy when you have the proper steps. Dive in as we discuss several methods that you can use to lock apps on your Android device.
Method 1: Using the Built-in Feature
Some Android devices like Oppo Reno 7 or Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G have a built-in feature for smart app lock. Using this feature, you can limit access to an app using a password, pin, pattern, or fingerprint.
The precise steps for activating this feature may differ for different brands and Android versions. However, the general steps for locking an app on your Android using the built-in feature are as follows.
Step 1: Go to your phone’s settings
Scroll through the apps on your phone and look for settings. You can also access settings at the notification panel by clicking the gear-like icon in the notification panel.
Step 2: Go to Apps
Look through the settings options until you get the Apps option. You can also look for this in the search settings bar. Tap that to open.
Step 3: Locate the app lock option
Under Apps, click ‘App Lock’, which is the last option in the apps list.
Step 4: Set a password and Recovery information
Enter a password or pattern that will be used to access the locked apps. Set a security question or give a recovery email that will be used in case you forgot the password. Hit ‘Done’ at the top right after entering the recovery information to proceed.
Step 5: Lock the app
Select the app you wish to protect with a lock by turning on the button next to the app name. Having done that, you will have password-protected your apps, and one will need to enter the password to access them. If you need to change or remove the password, go to settings, then privacy password. Enter your current password, and select either turn off the password or change the password.
Method 2: Using Screen Pinning
Screen pinning is a method that you can use to lock an app in open view. When someone tries to close a pinned app, the device will go to the lock screen and ask for the password. This method is effective when giving your phone to someone, and you need to limit access to any other app. For instance, you want to give your kid your phone to play a game without accessing any other app.
Here are the steps used to lock apps using screen pinning.
Step 1: Go to security settings on your phone
Tap the setting icon to open the device settings, and scroll through them until you reach security. This can also be biometrics and security, password and security, or lock screen and security, based on your phone model.
Step 2: Go to screen pinning
Under security, scroll down to ‘Screen pinning’ under the ‘Advanced’ section. Tap this to open more options.
Step 3: Turn on Screen pinning
Toggle on the button to turn on screen pinning. Under that, turn on the button next to ‘Ask for the pin before unpinning.’
Step 4: Pin the screen
Click the overview button next to your home button to open recent apps. Long press on the app that you wish to pin, then select pin or you can tap the icon above the app, then select pin this app. You get this message after the app is pinned.
With that app pinned, one cannot exit it. Even if you unpin the screen, the phone locks and you will need to use the unlock screen pattern or password to unlock it.
Method 3: Using 3rd-Party Apps
Some third-party apps are designed to lock Android apps. Installing third-party apps shouldn’t be your first choice, but it can help if other methods have failed. Some third-party app developers can share or sell your information with telemarketers.
Step 1: Download the app
Open the Google Play Store app and search ‘Smart AppLock.’ Hit install to have the app on your phone.
Step 2: Activate the app
Open the app and select Start to continue the rest of the options. Click enable on the next screen to continue.
Step 3: Lock the intended app(s)
Select the apps that you intend to lock by tapping them. The blue tick next to the app icon shows that the app has been selected. Click enable at the bottom after you have selected all the apps to lock.
Step 4: Set the unlock pattern
Set the pattern you wish to use to unlock this app. Ensure it differs from the one used to unlock the phone or tablet. You may need to enter the pattern twice for confirmation. Click ‘Done’ after entering the pattern to continue.
Step 5: Enable Usage access to the app
The app prompts you to permit usage access and opens this in settings. Turn on the button next to ‘Permit usage access.’ This allows Smart AppLock to track other apps, your carrier, and other settings in the phone to enable proper functioning.
Step 6: Set a security question
Go back to the app and click “Set” above the apps you intend to lock to allow you to set a security question. It helps you open the app in case you forget the pattern. This step is optional; the app will still work without the security question.
With this, you will have locked the apps you selected, and you can only open them using the pattern you entered. To unlock an app, open the locking app, tap the icon you wish to unlock, then select ‘Don’t lock this app.’
Here is a step-by-step video for further reference:
Method 4: Using a Launcher
The phone’s launcher is the software that controls user interface activities. It controls the keyboard, lock screen, and home screen, among other activities. Some launchers, such as Apex Launcher, have the locking app feature. Install such a launcher from Google Play Store and enjoy the benefits of having the launcher without having to install another app-locking application.
There are many reasons to lock your apps, from keeping sensitive information private to reducing the usage of apps. Similarly, as seen above, there are many ways to protect these apps that could lead you into a mess if they end up in the wrong hands. If you still feel insecure even with the apps locked, consider hiding the app for extra security.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©tristan tan/Shutterstock.com.