Activating your regular phone lock is sometimes not enough. You may want to keep your phone safer by putting a password on individual applications. This article shows you how to lock your Android apps.

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What does locking an app do?

When you lock an application, the person who wants to open it will need to enter a code. This keeps the app safe from unauthorized users.

When you lock several applications, the passcode doesn’t need to be the same for each of them. Locking an app is especially helpful when you allow others to use your phone, for example, your kids. Also, people like to lock essential apps to maximize security, for instance, those with credit card or payment information.

Locking an app is different from hiding an app (preventing the app from appearing in the app drawer). For more information about hiding apps, please refer to another article on our site, How to Find Hidden Apps on Android.

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How do you lock certain apps on Android?

There usually are four ways to lock apps on Android. They are:

  • Locking with an app lock.
  • Locking apps by enabling a guest account.
  • Locking apps with native features on phones.
  • Locking apps with a third-party launcher.

Locking apps with an app lock

Various applications are available for you to lock your apps with a passcode. One such powerful app-locking application is Norton App Lock.

To get started, download Norton App Lock from the Play Store. After that, launch the App and review the License Agreement. The Application will ask for permission to allow display over other applications. Toggle the Switch on and go to Setup. Select Norton App Lock Service, enable the toggle switch for Use Service, and tap on OK.

Next, you will need to select a passcode and sync your Google Account with the app. This is done so that you can recover your application if you forget the passcode. Finally, select Continue, and on the list that pops out, select the individual applications that you want to lock.

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Other app lock applications work in the same way. Some of the best are AppLock, Smart AppLock and App Lock by Smart Mobile.   

Locking apps with a guest account

When you lock apps with a guest account, you don’t put a password on your applications; instead, you show different instances of the apps to different users.

With this account, others may be able to access the applications you have installed, but they will not be able to see your data. For example, users can open Gmail on your phone, but they can’t see any of your mails. They can enter their own login credentials and use their email account.

Follow these steps to enable guest account on your phone:

Step 1: Launch Settings on your phone and go to System.
Step 2: Go to Advanced > Multiple Users.
Step 3: Select Guest. You can enable Turn on Phone Calls to continue receiving phone calls .
Step 4: Hit  OK, and you can start using this account.

For Older Versions of Android (Android Nougat 7.0), the path is Settings > Cloud and Accounts > Users > Guest. You can also access the account in the notification panel by tapping on the user icon (you can normally see it in the lower-right corner).

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To get out of the guest mode, visit the path of the same settings, and tap on Reset the Guest Account. You will need to enter the passcode for your phone.

When you reset the guest account, all data that has been saved on the phone with this account will be removed. 

Locking apps with native settings

You can use the native settings of Samsung and Redmi devices to install an app lock.

Samsung (Secure Folder)

A Samsung secure folder is a passcode-protected folder where you can add various apps that you want to keep private. Follow these steps to create and add a secure folder on your Samsung smartphone.

Step 1: Launch Settings on your Galaxy Device.
Step 2: Find Lock Screen and Security. In newer devices with Fingerprint, you will need to go to Biometrics and Security.
Step 3: Scroll down until you find Secure Folder. Tap on it, and login with your Samsung account.
Step 4: Set a Passcode. It can be a Pattern, Password or a PIN. Tap on Done.

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After you have executed the above steps, open your app drawer, and you will see a secure folder. Open it with the passcode you set, and tap on Add Apps on the bottom of the screen. 

For Xiaomi Redmi devices

You can lock your apps and hide them if your Xiaomi phone uses the MI user interface. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Launch Settings.
Step 2: Scroll down until you see App Lock.
Step 3: Turn the toggle switch on for the app you want to lock.
Step 4: Set the passcode for the application. It can be a Password, PIN, Pattern or Fingerprint unlock.

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We also recommend you link your app lock to your MI account. You can use the MI account to recover the passcode for the individual apps you lock.

Lock apps on Android with a third-party launcher

We will talk about the Nova Launcher, which is one of the safest, fastest, and most convenient launchers for Android. With Nova Launcher, you can install a “theme” on your phone, and this theme has a setting that lets you hide apps from everyone’s view in the drawer. Follow these steps to install Nova Launcher and hide applications on your device.

Step 1: Download and Install the Nova Launcher.
Step 2: Launch the Nova Launcher Settings and find App & Widget Drawers.
Step 3: Go to Hide Apps and Select the apps you want to hide. To access them, you can type their name in the search box on the app drawer. 

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Nova Launcher can make older phones slow if they don’t have enough RAM or processing capabilities. Choose an App Lock application if your phone slows down with Nova Launcher.

How to pin apps on Android?

Pinning an app can be a helpful feature for many who are letting others use their phone, especially kids. When you pin an application, only it will be shown on the screen. The user can’t navigate outside of it unless they enter a passcode.

For example, if your kid wants to access YouTube, then you can pin it on the screen and let them access only YouTube. They won’t be able to open other apps. Your child will also not see any notifications.

Here is how you pin an app:

Step 1: Enable Pinning. For this, go to Settings > Security (or Security & Location) > Advanced > Screen Pinning. Turn it on. On some phones, the path can be Settings > Lock Screen & Security (Biometrics & Security) > Other Security Settings > Pin Windows.

Step 2: On the same screen, Toggle the Ask for PIN before Unpinning button on. Enter your PIN.

Step 3: Open the app that you want to pin and press the home button.

Step 4: Tap on the overview button (the square button on the bottom of the screen) to open the Recent Tab.

Step 5: Swipe to the app you want to pin and tap on the Pin Button on the bottom of the screen. In some cases, you need to tap on the top of the app listing and tap on Pin this App.

Step 6: Finally, your phone will show a prompt to confirm the action. Press on Start.

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Now, only the app you pinned will be usable. To get back to the normal state, press the Overview and the back buttons at the same time. Enter your PIN.


Locking apps provides you with an additional layer of security apart from your regular phone. Only eligible users can access these secured apps. If you’re a mobile app developer , you might be particularly interested in exploring such security features. There are various ways of app locking, including downloading an app for the purpose, or using native settings. Other methods such as hiding the application from the app drawer or using a third-party launcher can be helpful.

Related Sources to Read:

When to Consider Mobile App Development for Your Business
Why Mobile Apps Are Important for Your Business
Factors to Consider When Hiring a Mobile App Development Company
Mobile App Development Cost Estimate in Malaysia

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