How to Lock Files on iPhone and How to Protect Them

Lock Files on iPhone

Apple users are constantly requesting guest mode, but Apple seems to ignore its user’s pleas for quite some time. Users are also waiting for the manufacturer to make certain apps and folders off-limit, but the recent iOS updates don’t seem to bring any luck yet.

So if your kids or spouse wants to access your iPhone, you might want to prevent them from accessing several files and folders. For that, you need to lock these files so that no one can view them in your absence.

Wondering how to lock files on iPhone or iPad? Don’t worry; it’s possible to do that. You can lock files, folders, and certain apps on your iPhone in a few single steps.

Move Images to Hidden Folder

Let’s face it right in the beginning. The iPhone doesn’t have any kind of secure folder function built into the iOS. However, you can find a Hidden folder inside the Photos app. Not many users are aware of this feature.

Since photos and videos are sensitive and unauthorized access can make them vulnerable to unnecessary threats, protecting them is important. In the Photos app gallery, select an image or video, click on the Share button, and tap on Hide.

Secure Data in Notes App

The Notes app allows you to lock individual notes that have images, videos, or text inside them. To secure the data inside Notes, go to Settings, and click Notes and Password to assign a password to the app.

If you are someone who finds it difficult to memorize passwords, take a screenshot of the password and save it somewhere. You can go learn how to take a screenshot on iPhone or iPad and use the image as a reminder.

After assigning a password, open any note, click on the three-dot icon, and select Lock to protect the data stored inside it. Since Notes is a built-in app, you don’t have to spend additional time and money on buying a third-party tool that can protect your data.

Prevent Access with Folder Lock

As the name specifies, Folder Lock enables you to password-protect your documents, photos, files, contacts, passwords, wallet cards, audio recordings, notes, and other data. It also enables you to share data between iPhone and computer and vice versa.

Not only can you lock files and folders using the app, but it also allows you to record voice recordings and store memos secretly. You can save wallet cards such as credit cards, passport details, business cards, driver’s license details, bank account information, etc.

Lock First-Party Apps

If you are using any version between iOS 12 and iOS 14, Screen Time allows you to lock any first-party app. All the apps manufactured by Apple are first-party apps, and you can use the Screen Time feature to lock them.

To do this, go to Settings, tap Screen Time, and click Content & Privacy Restrictions. Next, click on Allowed Apps. Now, turn off the toggle switch for all the apps that you don’t want to access. Click on the Back button. Alternatively, swipe up to go to the Home screen.

  • If You’re Using iPhone 11 or Earlier

To lock first-party apps on iPhone 11 or previous versions:

  1. Go to Settings and click General.
  2. Scroll down to find Restrictions and click the Enable Restrictions option.
  3. Enter a new passcode and re-enter the same passcode to confirm.

After enabling Restrictions and providing the passcode, you will get access to a variety of options. You can disallow a wide variety of first-party apps such as Siri, FaceTime, and Safari in the Allow option. Stopping the disallowed apps from appearing on the Home Screen is even possible.

Lock Apps Using Guided Access

Lock Apps Using Guided Access

This feature is particularly helpful for parents who want to prevent their kids from accessing certain apps. To enable Guided Access for apps, you need iOS 11 or a newer version. Go to settings, click General, tap Accessibility, and select Guided Access.

Next swipe the toggle switch available with Guided Access to green to turn it On. If you are using iOS 13, you can find this option in Accessibility under Settings. Then go to Passcode Settings, click Set Guided Access Passcode, enter the passcode, and re-enter to confirm.

Set Time Limit for Apps

On iPhone, it is possible to set a time limit for apps that you tend to use for long hours without realizing it. This feature is similar to locking apps to prevent unauthorized access. This can also save your kids from watching YouTube videos or playing games for longer.

To set a time limit for an app, go to Settings, click Screen Time, tap App Limits, and then click Add Limit. Select the app that you want to restrict access to after a particular duration, and choose a time limit and the number of days. Click on the Add button to save the changes.


The article covers beyond the options to lock files and folders to prevent unauthorized access. Using the information mentioned above, you can prevent others from accessing certain apps and can restrict access past a fixed time limit.

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