How to Lock Apps on Mac (including Catalina), iOS and Android

2020-07-16 22:15:54 / Posted by Rosa Reyes to Utility Follow @ Rosa

This article mainly takes about how to lock apps on Mac easily in different ways. You probably have dozens if not hundreds of applications installed on your Mac and mobile devices. Sometimes, you may feel the need to put a lock on certain apps such as Messages, Photos and Mail. Locking apps can benefit you in more than one way. And the article will cover the common ways to do the locking.

Why lock apps?

  • You can prevent others who use your Mac from accessing your apps and privacy.
  • It adds an extra layer of protection against hacking.
  • You can limit children’s screen time by stopping them from opening games and other addictive apps.
  • It blocks access to distracting apps, which helps you focus on work or study and increase productivity.

Method 1. How to lock apps on Mac with AppCrypt

You can effortlessly lock apps on MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or iMac, etc. with Cisdem AppCrypt, an easy-to-use, versatile Mac app locker and website blocker for macOS.

  • Lock any built-in apps and 3rd-party apps such as Photos, iPhoto, Messages, Contacts, Quicken, etc.
  • Enable you to lock Mac apps during certain hours with the Schedule feature
  • Record failed attempts to open locked apps with date, time and picture of the intruder
  • Also block access to websites on browsers like Safari and Chrome
  • Let you block websites on custom time schedules
  • Support macOS 10.10 or later, including 10.15 Catalina

Free Download

How to lock apps on Mac in 2 easy steps

Step 1. Set a password to lock apps.

Download and install AppCrypt. When you open the app for the first time, you will be asked to set a password. Read the Warning before clicking Submit.

The password will be required to unlock locked apps and configure settings. Please DON’T forget the password.

set a password to lock macOS apps

Step 2. Add apps to lock.

How to lock individual apps on Mac? In the app locker for Mac, click the Add App button from the toolbar, which will bring up a Finder window. From the Applications folder, select one or multiple apps that you want to password lock. Click Add.

Alternatively, place AppCrypt window and the Applications folder window side by side. Drag apps into the left panel of the former.

add apps to lock up

It’s that easy to lock apps on Mac.

How to open locked apps successfully

When you or someone else tries to open an app locked by AppCrypt, a message will pop up asking for password. To launch the app, just enter the correct password in the field provided. Click Submit.

ask for password

If the password entered is incorrect, as shown in the screenshot below, this Mac app locker will generate a record with details like app name, date, time and a photo (photo blurred for privacy in the screenshot) of the one who tries to break in. To delete a specific record, just control-click the record and click the Delete option that appears.

report of failed attempt

Note: You can disable or enable the "Capture photo with failed attempt" option in Preferences. Click the Menu dropdown icon in the top right corner of the main interface and select Preferences > General.

How to unlock a locked app

To remove password protection from a Mac app, select the app in the left panel and then click the Remove App button in the toolbar.

unlock a locked app on Mac

Get the free trial of the app to password protect your apps in an easy and reliable manner.

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  • You can set this tool to lock apps for certain time. In the top right corner of the main window, select Menu > Preferences > Schedule. Don’t forget to save your setting.schedule featureset a schedule
  • To set the tool to automatically launch at boot up, go to Menu > Preferences > General. Check the Launch at system start up option.general options
  • To set a new password, go to Preferences > Password.set a new password

On a side note, you can use the WebBlock feature to block any website on web browsers like Chrome and Safari.

Method 2. How to lock apps on Mac with Disk Utility

Disk Utility is a utility built-in to macOS, which can be used to perform disk-related tasks. One can use it to password protect folders. It’s actually also possible to use this utility to lock apps on Mac. However, there are some facts to know.

  • The method only works with third-party apps.
  • The process of putting a lock on app is a little bit complicated.
  • You can only lock one individual app at a time.

I will take the Firefox app for example and show you how to lock apps on Mac using this method.

Step 1. In Finder, open the Applications folder. This is generally where a Mac app is located. Create a subfolder in the Application folder. Here I will name the subfolder Firefox Locked. Drag the Firefox app into this subfolder.

Step 2. Open Disk Utility on Mac. There are two ways to do this.

  • In Finder, from the top menu bar, select Go > Go to Folder. Enter "/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility/" and click Go.
  • Click the Spotlight icon in the top right corner the screen. Enter disk, and Disk Utility should appear. Hit the Return key on your Mac.

Step 3. In Disk Utility, from the menu bar at the top of the screen, choose File > New Image > Image from Folder. In the Finder window that appears, select the newly created subfolder and click Choose.

image from folder

Step 4. Click the Encryption dropdown list and choose the option 128-bit AES encryption (recommended).

In the new box that pops up, enter a password and then verify it. Click Choose.

enter password to lock app

Step 5. Click the Image Format dropdown list and select the option read/write.

Step 6. Click Save. It will start creating an encrypted mountable disk image (.dmg) file. Once the process is finished, click Done.

Step 7. Go to Applications. There, you can now find two items: Firefox Locked subfolder (with in it) and Firefox Locked.dmg. The purpose here is to block access to the app. Therefore, delete Firefox subfolder and the app in it.

Firefox browser is now locked in the encrypted DMG file. How do I open it?

enter password

In the Application folder, double-click the encrypted DMG file, which is Firefox.dmg in this case. A box will pop up asking for password. Enter the correct password in the Password field and click OK. In Finder, the locked app will immediately show up in the left panel under Devices. Select it under Devices. Now the app will stay unlocked and easily accessible on your Mac until you eject it. To lock it again, control-click it in the left panel and choose Eject.


Depending on the macOS version your Mac is using, the interface and options may appear slightly different. Despite that, the steps above are still useful.

When encrypting app in Step 4, you can also choose the 256-bit AES encryption, which is more secure. But it will take a longer time to encrypt and decrypt. 128-bit AES encryption is usually safe enough to lock apps on Mac.

Method 3. How to lock apps on Mac using Screen Time

This method doesn’t apply to systems prior to macOS 10.15. Previously only available on iOS, now the Screen Time comes to Mac with the release of macOS Catalina in October 2019.

As you can tell form its name, the feature is designed primarily for the purpose of controlling screen time. If your are looking for an easy way to protect apps on Mac with a strong password, this method is not effective or practical enough.

Step 1. From the Apple menu, select System Preferences > Screen Time.

Step 2. In the bottom left corner of the main window, click Options. Select the checkbox next to Use Screen Time Passcode. Set a 4-digit passcode.

set Screen Time passcode

Step 3. In the left column, click App Limits. Click the Turn On button to enable this feature.

click App Limits

Step 4. Click the add button, which will bring up a new window where you can add an app to create limit. Enable Block at end of limit. When you finish setting up, click the Done button.

Note that the minimum limit is 1 minute. If your purpose is to lock an app on Mac so that others won't have access to it, then you need to use the app for 1 minute every day to trigger the blocking.

add an app that you want to set limit

When a time limit is reached, the app will be locked, and one will be asked to enter the passcode to access the app again.

How to lock apps on iPhone

1. Enable Guided Access to feature your iPhone

There is a built-in feature which named Guided Access, allows you to lock apps on iPhone. You can enable this feature on your iPhone with following the steps below:

Step 1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on general.

Step 2. Tap on Accessibility, scroll down and choose Guided Access under the Learning section.

Step 3. Tap to turn on Guided Access.

Step 4. Tap on Passcode Settings and set a passcode for Guided Access.

2. Start to lock Apps on iPhone with Guided Access:

Step 1. Launch the app which you want to lock. In this case, we used Camera.

Step 2. Triple click the Home button to Start Guided Access and lock Camera App.

lock apps on iphone

Step 3. Tap on Start at the top of the screen.

Step 4. Tap on Start at top right corner of the screen to begin Guided Access.

lock apps on iphone

This is it! Now, you are safe to hand over your Mac and iPhone to your kids, friends or with whom you are not comfortable to share applications.

How to lock apps on Android

There are various kinds of screen locks for Android, such as PIN, password, pattern, etc.,which can help you lock Android phone well. But it is too troublesome to unlock the Android every time when you go to use the phone. So if you want to protect your important apps, you can use an app name Smart App Protector to lock apps on Android.

Step 1. Download Smart App Protector from Google Play Store and install it on your Android phone.

Step 2. Launch the program. It will require you to install a Smart App Protector helper that ensures the major app service wouldn’t be killed by third party apps.

Step 3. The original password is 7777, but you are able to change it in app Settings.

Step 4. Next, come to Running tab. Click ADD button and choose applications that you need to lock from the pop out list. Click ADD button again.

Step 5. Finally, check whether the app has been locked on Android or not.

lock app on android


How to lock apps on MacBook Air or other Macs? Above are the common ways on how to lock apps on Mac, iOS and Android. Locking apps is necessary if you want to prevent your private information from leaking, or you don’t want others to access certain apps on your device. Hopefully the ways above can help you solve your problems with success.

iPhone and Android phone users can use the built-in or third-party solutions to do the locking up. For Mac users, there is also more than one solution. If Disk Utility or Screen Time is not enough to meet your need, you can try professional a Mac app locker. With it, you can easily lock an app on Mac and also block distracting websites. Download the free trial now.

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6 Comments Leave a Reply

  • Glenda

    Awesome! Super helpful and simple to use! It limits my child to play games on Mac frequently and it looks really cool!

    3 years ago REPLY
  • Joana

    Very good looking app that is feature rich and very easy and pleasing to use.

    3 years ago REPLY
  • Kenyon

    I loooooove AppCrypt absolutely a great program. I can't say anymore it's just awesome.

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Bella

    A very good third-party tool to protect apps you don't want to accidentally launched by others.

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Eve

    The paragon of unierstanddng these issues is right here!

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Edith

    I have three kids in my family, and they always use my Mac to play games and watch movies. aha, now they even can't access to my games app with the help of AppCrypt.

    4 years ago REPLY