How to lock apps on your iPhone using Apple's 'Screen Time' feature for limiting app usage

Flickr/Kārlis DambrānsUsing Apple’s Screen Time feature, you can lock apps on your iPhone by preventing them from being opened without a passcode.
  • If you’d like to limit the use of some or all apps on your iPhone, Apple’s Screen Time function allows you to lock apps with a passcode-protected time limit.
  • You can lock apps on your iPhone using Screen Time to prevent access to any apps containing sensitive information or provide privacy on shared devices.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Whether you’re looking to spend some time away from your iPhone but can’t seem to drag yourself away from the grasp of social media apps, or just need some quiet from work emails while on vacation, Apple’s Screen Time feature is here to assist you.

When Apple introduced iOS 12 last year, it also introduced Screen Time and its ability to limit certain iPhone apps to “make more informed decisions about how you use your devices.”

Using the Screen Time function, you can also essentially “lock” any iPhone apps that you’re looking to prevent yourself or others from accessing.

Here’s how to do it.

How to lock apps on an iPhone using Screen Time

1. Access the Settings app from the homescreen, find and select “Screen Time.”

2. Once in the “Screen Time” menu, find “App Limits.” Note that if you’d like to set a passcode for Screen Time that is different from your Lock Screen passcode, you can do so by selecting “Use Screen Time Passcode” at the bottom of the menu before continuing.

Apps2Meira Gebel/Business InsiderIn ‘Screen Time’ find ‘App Limits.’

3. Once you’ve created a Screen Time passcode, enter it to access the “App Limits” menu.

4. In the “App Limits” menu, make sure “App Limits” is on by sliding it until the bar is green.

5. Once you’ve turned “App Limits” on, tap “Add Limit” at the bottom of the menu.

6. Here you can choose which apps you wish to limit by various groupings like “Productivity” or “Social Networking.” You can set limits on all apps by selecting “All Apps & Categories” and tapping “Next” in the upper righthand corner of the screen.

Apps4Meira Gebel/Business InsiderChoose the apps you wish to limit.

7. After you’ve selected which apps you’d like to limit, you can now choose for how long, what days and whether or not you’d like to block the app after the limit has been hit. Blocking an app will passcode-lock it.

8. When finished, tap “Add” in the upper righthand corner.

How to lock individual apps on an iPhone using Screen Time

1. Go to Settings > “Screen Time.”

2. Tap on the name of your iOS device in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

3. Scroll to find the app you wish to limit.

4. Find “Add Limit” at the bottom of the screen.

Apps11Meira Gebel/Business InsiderScroll to find the app you want to limit. For example, Instagram.

5. Once you’ve entered your Screen Time passcode, set a time limit by using the dials. Then tap “Add” in the upper righthand corner.

How to access an iPhone app locked by Screen Time

1. If you’ve hit the time limit you’ve placed on an app but wish to continue to use the app, tap “Ask For More Time” under the icon of an hourglass pictured.

Apps6Meira Gebel/Business InsiderOnce an app has been locked you will see this screen.

2. Tap “Enter Screen Time Passcode.” If you haven’t created a Screen Time passcode, this will just be your lock screen passcode you use to unlock your iPhone.

3. Enter the four-digit Screen Time passcode you created or your lock screen passcode when prompted.

4. Once you’ve entered your passcode, you can choose how much longer to allow use of the app – either 15 minutes, an hour, or all day.

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