How to Lock Apps on Mac (including Big Sur) and iOS Easily

2021-01-12 03:49:00 / Posted by Rosa Reyes to Utility Follow @ Rosa

This article mainly talks about how to lock apps on Mac effortlessly in different ways. You probably have dozens if not over a hundred of applications installed on your Mac. Sometimes, you may feel the need to put a lock on certain apps such as Messages, Photos and Mail. By restricting access to the personal apps on your Mac, you can better protect your privacy especially when others can easily access and use your computer.

Method 1. How to lock apps on Mac with AppCrypt

macOS (previously Mac OS X, then OS X) doesn’t come with a (direct) way to do the locking. Luckily, third-party apps are available as a solution.

You can easily password lock any built-in and any third-party apps on iMac, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, etc. using Cisdem AppCrypt, the best app locker and website blocker for Mac.

Free Download

  1. Download AppCrypt and install the tool.
  2. The first time you open it, you will be asked to set a password.set password
  3. Click the tool's icon in the menu bar. Choose Open Main Window.Open Main Window
  4. In the main window, click Add App in the toolbar.toolbar
  5. To lock apps on Mac, select the individual app(s) and click apps to lock

Now the selected Mac apps are locked.

Alternatively, in Step 5, you can block an app by dragging it into the tool's sidebar.

While Mac apps are usually in the Applications folder, they can also be in other places such as a particular folder of user's choice. This tool enables you to lock any apps regardless of where they are.

When you or someone else tries to open a Mac app locked by AppCrypt, a dialog box will show up asking for password. If the password entered is correct, then the app will open successfully. If not, the app will remain locked.

dialog box

In addition, AppCrypt will record the failed attempt with information like date, time and a photo of the person who's tried to break in. The photo in the screenshot below is blurred for privacy. If you'd like to delete such a record, control-click the record and click the Delete option that appears.

record of a failed attempt

Here's how to unlock a locked app. To remove the password protection, select the app in the sidebar and click Remove App in the toolbar. Note that four apps are locked by default. They are Activity Monitor, Console, Terminal and System Preferences. You can remove them if you want to.

Remove App


  • The fact is that you don't have to manually launch AppCrypt every time you open your Mac. Click Menu in the top right corner of the main window and choose Preferences. Under the General tab, enable the option Launch at system startup. This way, the tool will automatically launch at startup and start locking right away.General tab
  • You lock apps on Mac to protect privacy. Also, locking certain apps during certain times can help limit time spent on them. And for such a purpose, the Schedule feature can help. In the Preferences window, go to the Schedule tab and set things up.Schedule tabschedule settings
  • The tool also comes with the WebBlock feature. You can access it by clicking WebBlock icon in the toolbar. It allows you to effortlessly block unwanted websites or webpages, providing two modes: Blocklist (default) and Allowlist.WebBlock feature
  • Unlike with regular apps on a Mac, you need to enter the password before you can quit AppCrypt. This prevents others from bypassing the locking by quitting the app locker. To quit, go to the main window, click Menu and choose Exit.choose Exit

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

Disk Utility is a utility built-in to macOS, which can be used to perform disk-related tasks. You can use it to encrypt folders. It’s actually also possible to use this utility to lock apps on Mac, but only third-party ones. Note that the method doesn't apply to any built-in app.

The method is basically about creating an encrypted disk image and moving the apps of your choice to the disk image. The steps below can help you better understand how it works.

  1. On your Mac, open Disk Utility.
  2. From the menu bar, select File > New Image > Blank bar
  3. In the Save As field, enter a name for the disk image you are creating.Save As field
  4. In the Where field, select a location.
  5. In the Name field, give a name to the disk image once it's mounted.
  6. In the Size filed, specify a size. Make it bigger if you have a few apps to lock on your Mac.
  7. From the Format dropdown list, select the format you need.
  8. Select the desired type of encryption. And set a password. This is the password that you use to lock your apps.set a password
  9. Select the type of partition that you need.
  10. Set it to be a read/write disk image.
  11. Click Save.
  12. Wait for Disk Utility to create the encrypted disk image (with .dmg filename extension).
  13. Now click the DMG file to open (or mount) it. Go to the sidebar of Finder and find the mounted file under the Devices section.Devices section
  14. Suppose the apps you want to lock live in the Applications folder. To lock apps on MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or iMac, etc., move the apps from the Applications folder to the disk image. You need to hold down the Command key while moving apps by dragging.
  15. In Finder's sidebar, control-click the DMG file and choose Eject.

Now your important apps are locked in the encrypted disk image. To launch them, click the disk image, enter password as required and go to Finder. To put on the lock again, eject the mounted disk image.

Depending on the macOS version your Mac is using, the interface and options may appear slightly different. Despite that, you can still follow the steps described above.

Note: Some apps may don't work properly if they are not in the Applications folder.


  • In Step 8, there are two options: the 128-bit AES encryption and the 256-bit AES encryption. Generally, the former can already offer enough security to protect your apps. With 256-bit AES, it will take a longer time to encrypt and decrypt.
  • If it's a new app that you are going to install, then you can directly install it in the encrypted disk image. This way, the Mac app is locked with password since installation.
  • The size of the disk image is fixed, so it's possible that it may run out of space someday. You can check the available space via Get Info.

Method 3. How to use Screen Time to help lock apps on Mac

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

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

  1. From the Apple menu, select System Preferences > Screen Time.
  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
  3. In the left column, click App Limits. Click the Turn On button to enable this feature.the left column
  4. Click the plus 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. Therefore, it provides a solution to lock apps on Mac.

How to lock apps on iPhone and iPad

iOS has a built-in feature named Guided Access. It can help you lock apps on iOS devices. You can enable this feature on your iPhone with following the steps.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on General.
  2. Tap on Accessibility, scroll down and choose Guided Access under the Learning section.
  3. Tap to turn on Guided Access.
  4. Tap on Passcode Settings and set a passcode for Guided Access.
  5. Now let's start to lock Apps on iPhone with Guided Access. Launch the app that you want to lock. In this case, we used Camera.
  6. Triple click the Home button to Start Guided Access and lock Camera App.
  7. Tap on Start at the top of the screen.
  8. Tap on Start at top right corner of the screen to begin Guided Access.

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.


Why lock apps? It can prevent others who use your Mac from accessing your apps and privacy. It adds an extra layer of protection against hacking. Parents can limit children’s screen time by stopping them from opening games and other addictive apps.

How to lock apps on Mac? If you are asking this question, then I hope this article can be of some help. There are a few methods available. If you are not comfortable with Disk Utility or if you want to put lock on pre-installed apps, the dedicated app locker recommended in the first method can be the best choice. With it, things are easy, quick and straightforward.

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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!

    4 years ago REPLY
  • Joana

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

    4 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!

    5 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.

    5 years ago REPLY