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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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