How to Lock Apps on Mac Easily and Effectively

Rosa Reyes
time November 04, 2021 Preview 48.8K
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There are probably dozens if not more applications installed on your Mac. You may feel the need to put a lock on some of them. Restricting access to certain Mac apps - such as Messages, Photos and Mail - can help better protect your privacy especially when other people can access and use your computer. This article will show you how to lock apps on Mac easily and efficiently.

macOS doesn’t offer a way to do the locking. Luckily, third-party tools are available as a solution. Let’s see how to use them.

Method 1. How to lock apps on Mac with AppCrypt

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

AppCrypt main features:

  • Password lock any apps on Mac, such as Photos, Notes, Quicken, Evernote, etc.
  • Record failed attempts to open locked apps with date, time and pictures of intruders
  • Also block websites and webpages with password
  • Offer a schedule feature to lock apps and block websites at certain times
  • Help prevent unauthorized access to your apps
  • Help protect your privacy
  • Can also be used for productivity and parental control
  • Easy to use
  • Hard to bypass
  • Support macOS 10.12 or later, including macOS 12 Monterey

Steps to lock an app on Mac

1. Download AppCrypt and install it.

Free Download

2. The first time you open it, set a password.

a message asking users to set a password

3. Click the tool’s icon in the menu bar and choose Open Main Window.

clicking the icon in the menu bar brings the Open Main Window option

4. Enter the password, and you are in the main window.

5. Choose the App Lock tab.

a screenshot of the main window with the App Lock tab located in the left corner

6. Select the individual Mac app(s) that you want to lock and click Open.

multiple Mac apps are selected to be added to lock

Now the selected apps on your Mac are locked.

Alternatively, instead of doing steps 5 and 6, you can lock an app by dragging it into the App Lock tab.

While Mac apps normally reside in the Applications folder, it’s possible to place them elsewhere such as Desktop. This tool allows you to lock apps on Mac regardless of where they reside.

When you or someone else tries to open a locked app on your Mac, it won’t open, and a dialog box will show up asking for the password. To unlock the locked app, just enter the correct password.

the screenshot of a dialog box asking for the password

If the password entered is wrong, the app will remain locked, and AppCrypt will record the failed attempt and take a photo of the intruder.

a screenshot of a record of a failed attempt to open a locked app


How to remove a lock If you don’t want to keep an app private anymore, you can remove the lock. Select one or multiple apps under the App Lock tab and then press the delete key. And the app(s) will be accessible as normal.

Enable the Auto Lock if needed Click Preferences in the toolbar, and you will find the Auto Lock feature. If the feature is enabled, unlocked apps will be relocked automatically after a period of inactivity or after you are away from your Mac for a while.

The Preferences window displays the Auto Lock feature

Enable the Launch at system startup option Turn on this option in Preferences. This way, it will start locking apps right away upon Mac startup, making the locking more effective.

How to lock apps during certain hours You lock apps on Mac to protect privacy. Also, locking an app during certain times can help limit the time spent on it. And you can use the Schedule feature for this purpose. Select an app under the App Lock tab to bring up an clock icon. Click the clock icon and enable Custom Schedule.

selecting an app under the App Lock tab brings settings to schedule app locking

How to quit You need to enter the password in order to quit (and uninstall) AppCrypt. This prevents people from bypassing the locking by quitting the app locker.

the Quit option


Method 2. How to lock apps on MacBook and iMac etc. with AppLocker

As its name tells, AppLocker is a dedicated to adding a lock on your apps. It can do a decent job of what it is designed to do and is very easy to use. According to user feedback, sometimes it can stop working properly. If so, a user can contact the developer for help. Without further ado, let’s see how to use it.

1. Install AppLocker on your Mac.

2. Open it. Create a password when asked.

3. In the menu bar along the top of your screen, click its icon. When prompted, enter the password. Click Enter.

4. Click the plus icon in the top right corner.

the plus icon

5. The Select Applications to Lock window will open, displaying a list of all the apps on your Mac.

6. Enter the name of the app to which you’d like to lock access. Click the app, and it will be locked immediately.

The tool has a free version, which lets users lock only one app, making it sort of a free locker for Mac. To be able to lock two or more apps, users need to make a purchase.

When you try to launch a locked app from the Launchpad or Dock, it won’t open. Instead, you will see the “app is locked” screen. When you enter the password, the screen will go away and the app will be unlocked. But if the password is incorrect, the screen will remain there. All accesses to the locked apps, successful or failed, will be recorded in Activity Report.

If your Mac has Touch ID (which is supported on MacBook Air 2020 and MacBook Pro 2021 etc.), AppLocker will allow you to unlock locked apps with your fingerprint.

Method 3. How to lock third-party apps on Mac with Disk Utility

This method, along with Method 4, is not that practical. I still talk about it here for you to consider. Note that it doesn’t lock any built-in Mac app.

This method to lock apps on Mac involves the use of Disk Utility, a built-in macOS utility to perform disk-related tasks, and is about creating an encrypted disk image and moving the apps of your choice to the disk image.

1. On your Mac, open Disk Utility.

2. From the menu bar, select File > New Image > Blank Image.

select File

3. In the Save As field, enter a name for the disk image you are creating.

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 to lock apps

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 the extension .dmg).

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.

14. Lock the specific Mac apps by moving them from the Applications folder to the locked disk image. Make sure you hold down the Command key while moving apps by dragging.

15. In Finder’s sidebar, control-click the DMG file and choose Eject.

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

Method 4. How to put a lock on apps on Mac with Screen Time

This method uses Screen Time, a feature available on macOS 10.15 or later and iOS 12 or later. Thanks to the “Block at end of limit” option available in Screen Time, there is a way to lock apps on Mac with this feature.

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

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

set a passcode to lock apps

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

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.

enable locking

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


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? There are easy methods. This article can help you find a straightforward and effective way to get the job done.

Rosa Reyes
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Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.

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Comments (6) Leave a Reply

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  • Glenda

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

    5 years ago Reply

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  • Joana

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

    5 years ago Reply

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  • Kenyon

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

    5 years ago Reply

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  • Bella

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

    5 years ago Reply

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  • Eve

    The paragon of unierstanddng these issues is right here!

    6 years ago Reply

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  • 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.

    6 years ago Reply

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