How to Password Protect Apps on iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad

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While the iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) excel at ease of use, the maximum protection you’re offered is a passcode lock with an option to erase all personal data upon 10 incorrect attempts. While it may serve enough for lost/stolen cases, what if you want to temporarily hand over your device to someone for use and don’t want prying eyes peering through your personal emails, messages, photos, or launching applications that you want to keep private? For all this, and much more, jailbreakers are in for a treat again. Cydia offers quite a few capable solutions, each with their own distinctive features that can offer much better privacy protection than the native iOS.

In this article, we’ll provide a quick rundown of the three most promising solutions for password protecting your apps: Lockdown Pro, FolderLock and Locktopus.


iphone password protect apps

Lockdown Pro

Available from the BigBoss repo for $2.99, Lockdown Pro is the paid version of the Lockdown ‘free’ app, and probably the most comprehensive method to password protect several aspects of your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. It is a system tweak that does not add any application to the springboard and instead, is configured through the Settings app. While Lockdown Pro works with all modern firmware (3.x – 4.x), the free version only supports up to iOS 3.1.3.

iphone password protect apps

The first time you enter Lockdown’s settings, you’ll be prompted to set up a master password which can either be a numeric pin code or a complex alphanumeric combination. Once that is set up, you get a plethora of options to configure, including the ability to lock/unlock all applications present in the locked applications list at once. This is particularly useful when you want to password protect your private content in a hurry. Lockdown Pro also has a toggle for SBSettings for even easier access.

iphone password protect apps

Other salient features of Lockdown Pro include:

  • No respring required!
  • Custom passwords now! You can set different passwords for individual applications.
  • Delay Lock. This feature will allow you to unlock any application and the rest of them stay unlocked until you lock your device.
  • Lock All Folder Apps: Lock one folder and all applications inside it automatically get added to the locked applications list.
  • The ability to lock springboard rearrangement and application deletion as well.

Finally, with the latest version (2.0.3 at the time of writing), you also have the option to lock and unlock applications right from the springboard. Simply press and hold any icon until it starts to jiggle. You’ll see a lock icon next to every app, tapping which would lock and unlock the application (with the provision of password protection, of course).

iphone password protect apps

FolderLock

FolderLock is a relatively cheaper and simpler alternative for password-protecting or locking folders (and only folders – it does not support individual apps) on iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad running OS 4.0 or higher.

iphone password protect apps

Offering a pretty straightforward settings menu, FolderLock does not let the user choose between which folders to lock down. Instead, when enabled, all folders will be locked irrespective of their numbers or contents. This kind of solution works pretty well for someone who likes to keep their iOS devices organized with folders, as you can easily avoid the hassle of managing locking status for individual apps. Need to password protect an app? Simply put it in any folder with FolderLock enabled and let it take care of the rest for you.

A unique feature offered by FolderLock is the ability to protect some iOS functions like multitasking and Spotlight on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. FolderLock supports alphanumeric passwords.

iphone password protect apps

Similar to Lockdown Pro, FolderLock does not create an additional onscreen icon and is controlled through the Settings app. It is available from the BigBoss repo for $1.59.

Locktopus

My personal favorite, Locktopus is password protection for apps on iOS devices as simple as it can get. Available again from the BigBoss repo for $2, this tweak has no complex options to configure or settings to deal with. All you get in Locktopus’ settings is an option to change the default master password (which, incidentally, is “password”) and view panic-reducing instructions on how to deal with a forgotten password.

iphone password protect apps

In order to use Locktopus, tap an hold any application icon to enter the jiggle mode. You’ll notice a lock icon next to each application (pretty similar to the one seen in Lockdown Pro) which will toggle the locking and unlocking of an application, again requiring a password. When a password protected app is launched, it will prompt for the master password, and that’s about it. Locktopus does not support locking entire folders, and utilizes alphanumeric passwords.

Final Words

All three of these programs have their own advantages and unique features. Lockdown Pro offers the most comprehensive package with a lot of customizable protection options, but also costs the most. FolderLock comes cheapest, but offers protection only for folders and not individual apps. It does, however, sport unique features like multitasking and Spotlight protection which is absent in the other two. Locktopus, on the other hand, offers a good mix of easy-to-implement password protection with a mid-range price tag.

In the end, it is your choice to determine which program suits your needs best. Privacy is a huge concern for any iOS device user, and with any of these three you can rest assured your money is well spent.

Know any other way to password protect apps on iOS devices? Shout out in the comments

About author
Aatif is a project manager by profession and a gadget-freak at heart. Being a techno-phile since high school, he developed a keep interest in mobile devices and settled with the iOS platform after experimenting through everything else. Being an avid internet user, Aatif likes to brag (tweet) about it through @aatoo
38 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Well, I must say, nice post and right about time. I was looking for such application for my iPhone 4 and about to go for FolderLock, but your post changed my mind. Lockdown Pro is the one app that meats most of my requirements and to keep my personal stuff safe and after spending this much money on iPhone 4, I don’t think $2.99 would hurt my monthly budget. :)
    However, I have a question. The custom password and Delay Lock features are the same to me, right? Let’s say, what would be the use of custom password for each application, if I unlock any one application all get unlocked? Aren’t the both feature the exact same thing? Sorry but I am little confuse, what is the difference between the two?

    • Thanks for the comment. The custom password and delay lock are not the same. Custom password will allow you to set a unique password for each of your applications, so if you have locked one app using custom password, unlocking others will have no effect on it. It will stay locked as before unless you provide the app-specific password for that one.
      Delay Lock, on the other hand, saves you from the hassle of having to enter unlock password every few seconds. Normally, when you quit an app it gets locked immediately. Delay Lock will keep it unlocked until the device goes into sleep mode, which should save you from some hassle when using your device at, for example, home :)

      Have fun with your iPhone, and keep reading for more guides, tips and ideas!

      • Why not fix the apps so they work properly. Seems like there is money to be made doing it correctly.

      • Dear Sir,

        By reading all the comments above, they were all from 2011, I think I’m a bit late for this Lockdown Pro app, isnt it?! haha!
        Anyways, I got a question. I just downloaded this app and it doesnt seems like working for me. I can create password and import files to that app, however, I can’t find this app in my settings so I can put passwords on each of my apps.
        What should I do with it? I dont want to waste my $2.99 :(
        Please help! Thanks!!!

        V

  2. Your post is right on time! My kids love to play games on my iPad, which I generally don’t mind, but my 3-year old has a habit of getting into my apps and deleting things that I need. GRRR!!! I just lost my temper with her after one such incident, and I don’t feel good about it. I have got to figure out a solution, to protect my files while allowing them utilize the kid-friendly features on the iPad. I wish I had the means to buy another iPad for the kids, but in the meantime, a few bucks for one of the apps in your review may be just what we need to keep the peace in our house. Thank you!

    Btw, I’m thinking Folder Lock may be the best solution for us. That way I can put my apps in a (locked) folder, and leave the kid apps out of folders so that they have easy access to them.

    • Thanks for your appreciation, and I’m glad it turned out to be of use to you. Considering your scenario FolderLock does seem to be the right choice for you. Please do share your experience with the application with us,

  3. Have these apps been released for the iPad? I went to the App store and could not find any of them, or any programs that allow for the locking of apps for that matter. :-(

    • These apps are all for jailbroken devices, hence they’ve never been released on the AppStore. You can find them on Cydia

    • how do I lock App’s or folders on an Iphone 4 that has NOT be jailbroken

      • Please see my comment below about Folder Lock, a non jailbreak app that will serve your purpose.

  4. Is jail breaking an Ipad the only way to get any application that can password protect an app on an Ipad 2. I have two teenage boys that get into everything. Although they both have IPhone 4′s they love to grab my Ipad. I have one ot two apps that I prefet to keep for my eyes only. They jail broke their phones and have better functions then I do. I prefer not to go that route. Is there really not one app available that is legit to password protect apps like their jail broken versions? It’s ridiculous.

    • Hello Richard,

      If you’re willing to spend a few bucks, I suggest you check out Folder Lock. It’s a nonjailbreak application that provides protection for your iPhone and the data within. I haven’t personally tested the app so cannot vouch for it’s working, but it seems solid enough based on reviews.

      http://itunes.apple.com/pk/app/folder-lock/id372925917?mt=8

      Happy reading, and let us know if it serves the purpose for you.

  5. Folder Lock for iPad doesn’t seem to work for apps :( I just spent $3.99 because it was suggested. The app itself doesn’t indicate its for iPad use though. I’m not sure how to access Cydia or Jailbreak on an iPad.

  6. I have an iPad2 with the latest OS. Folder Lock does not allow iPad apps to be stored. Is there another app out there that does not require jail breaking the device?

    • William,

      Most of these functions will require a jailbroken device.

  7. This is ages old but to the people still viewing it, I use a combination of iProtect and Lockdown Pro. iProtect can lock everything except spotlight and folders! It prompts for a password on app opening. It will stop apps from being moved or deleted with a simple touch of your screen and can also block multi-tasking menu.

    All-In-All it’s a great app to have becase it’s not in Settings! It’s 1 step quicker to get to on your Springboard!

  8. Can these apps be used in combination without issues, let’s say Locktapus and Folder Lock so you can benefit from the single app locking of Locktapus and the multitask, settings and spotlight locking feature of Folder Closer?

  9. Hi.. Saw da comments on app lock n all sound gud but i just want to knw dat my phone is not jailbreak then how i can use these locks n i don’t want to jailbreak as i heard its not gud for the phone can some suggest me wht to do. Thanks

  10. I don’t want to jailbreak my iPad,can I find one from app store…?

  11. As an iPhone owner, many of my fiends love to have a quick look at this Apple’s sweet device. There’s no problem with that But my concern is that I can’t lend my iPhone without potentially giving them access to lots of personal data. (Email App, Messages, Contacts, Call history, browser history, etc.)

    LockDown

    Unfortunately, even in iPhone 3GS, we can only set a passcode to gain access to iPhone’s home screen but we don’t have App-Specific password protection. I don’t mind passing my phone around at a party to share a YouTube video or funny web site, but you have to keep a close eye on people to make sure they don’t go messing around with things they shouldn’t be. Like I don’t want others to have access to Email App or SMS or Photos.

    Once again Thanks to the Jailbreak Community where iPhone users can enjoy the App-Specific password protection. A free iPhone App: LockDown, available in Cydia has the ability to Password protect your desired application on iPhone. LockDown works like a charm on iPhone OS 3.0 and also supports 2.x firmwares as well.

    Visit : http://www.techyv.com/questions/password-protecting-app-iphone

  12. Is there software available where you can have multiple passcodes to unlock your Iphone? For instance I can I have a passcode that will unlock my phone and only show certain apps? Then have a different password that will unlock my phone and show my text messages and telephone records/.

  13. Hi,
    Are there any FREE apps for this that availible on the app store? For non-jailbreaked devices?

    • Unfortunately, this is allowed by Apple on an unjailbroken device. So if you want to achieve this, you’re only option is to jailbreak. Sorry.

    • Just jailbreak your phone….its simple

  14. how do i get these apps????

  15. I just bought this app and it’s not working as advertised.

  16. WHAT THE HELL!!!??? JUST WASTED 4 BUCKS FOR THAT STUPID LOCK DOWN PRO DOESNT EVEN FUCKING WORK!!! ITS A SCAM!!!!

  17. I’m on iOS 4.3.1 so not sure if this is a problem but Lockdown Pro doesnt work on that, when you try and add an app to it’s lock list it will crash. It use to work before though and when it does work it’s the best of all of them.

    Locktopus and iProtect dont work properly. For apps that can be accessed via other methods like Messages where you can enter via contacts it won’t bring up the password screen which renders it useless.

    My suggestion is Applocker, does everything that the 3 apps above do for $0.99

  18. Where can i get the applocker?

  19. After an exhaustive search, and wasting some money on dodgy apps, I believe there is no app-locking solution on an un-jailbroken iOS device.

    To lock basic apps, – Safari, youtube, itunes.
    You go to Settings -> General -> restrictions
    and turn on restrictions.
    you can put in a pin to lock those three apps (and restrict a couple of other things.)

    I still haven’t found a way to lock other apps. (I’m not ready to jailbreak!)

  20. how can I reset the passwords if I forgot them? I seem tohave forgatten both my passwords of lockdown… now i cant get into my message folder or email folder… please help

  21. i want to lock some applications for ex.: videos , facebok, mail …in my iphone4

    kindly advise me what to do

    thanks in advanced

  22. None of these apps exist as of 3-24-13

  23. Hi, I have upgraded my iPad to iOS7 but I couldn’t find such kind of app from my store (Poland store).
    I found your post really helpful but could you help me how to find those app?
    Thanks in advance

  24. Hello!

  25. Hello!

  26. Hello!

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