How to Lock Apps on an iPhone and Restrict Usage

If you have kids with an iPhone or can’t stop looking at your own iPhone, you might consider locking apps after a specific period of time. The app lock feature in Screen Time lets you set a time period to watch an app and then lock it until midnight. This would be a great productivity hack if you lack self-control and have an urge to scroll through Facebook when you should be doing the work. Here is the complete guide on how to lock apps on an iPhone and limit their daily use.

Read more: How to Enable iPhone Location Services


To lock iOS-specific apps, go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Allowed Apps. If you don’t need access to an iOS-specific app like FaceTime, turn it off and it will disappear from your phone screen. If you prefer to lock an installed app after a specific period of time, go to Settings > Screen Time > App Limits. Select the app, choose how long per day you want to use it and save.


How to Lock Apps on an iPhone and Limit Their Daily Use

Start by going to Settings > Screen Time. If you’ve never used Screen Time before, you’ll need to turn it on and set a password. Don’t forget the password. If you do, you can’t disable anything in this section without wiping and resetting the whole device.

Once Screen Time is configured, tap Application limits.

iphone screen time app limits
iphone app limits add limit

All your installed apps will now appear on the screen, categorized as Social, Games, Entertainmentetc Tap the category your app is likely to be in and find it.

iphone app limit app list

For the purposes of this tutorial, I chose Facebook. So I dropped the Social category and typed Facebook.

iphone app limits social apps

Now you have to decide how much time each day you are going to give yourself with this app. I put it at one o’clock. But what if you want to treat yourself to the weekend over a longer period, for example? Then press Customize the days.

iphone app limit set time

You can now choose different time periods for different days. Simply select the day and spin the wheel to choose the desired duration.

iphone app limits customize days

Once all your selections are saved, exit and you will see Facebook appear in the list. Time starts when you open the app and resets at midnight.

If you want to remove the app limit, swipe the app entry and choose the remove option. But you will be asked for the Screen Time password, so I hope you still remember it.

iphone app limits limits game

Lock down iOS-specific apps with content restrictions

If you want to lock iOS-specific apps and prevent them from appearing on your device’s screen, you need to go back to the main Screen Time screen and choose Content and Privacy Restrictions. We’ve already done an article on iOS restrictions, but here’s a TLDR for anyone who just wants the jarred summary.

On the Content and Privacy Restrictions page, enable the feature. Then select Apps allowed.

allowed apps for iphone

You will be presented with a list of iOS-specific apps that cannot be uninstalled. But you can make them disappear from your screen by disabling them. This is also useful if your kid who owns an iPhone doesn’t have permission to access things like FaceTime or Wallet.

list of allowed apps for iphone


No, but some apps offer two-factor authentication, Face ID or Touch ID to open them. Open the app settings to see if this is possible.

No, you cannot turn off any limits if you forget your Screen Time password.

There is no Screen Time passcode reset option. Your only choice in this scenario is to erase and reset the entire iPhone.