It’s frightening to think about how much information we have stored on our smartphones.

Take a moment to think through the apps you have on your phone right now.Social media. Email. File sharing. Photos. Texts. Banking.
All of this information is stored in a small box in your pocket. 

Imagine what would happen if a thief got their hands on your mobile device. Sure you might have a PIN, pattern, or passcode but a smart hacker could get through that in minutes. After that, they’d have free reign to do whatever they want. Imagine the vital parts of your life in another person’s hands.

It’s scary, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable or unavoidable as locking certain apps on your smartphone can add extra protection to your data. It might seem like an unnecessary step but it could be a bridge between disaster and safety if a hacker were to get into your phone.

Why you should lock apps on your smartphone

Mobile devices are the digital key to our lives. Anyone who has access to your smartphone can likely get in the following apps with relative ease:

  • Your social media accounts.
  • Messaging apps.
  • Banking or peer-to-peer payment tools.
  • Photos and videos.
  • Personal or professional email and other documents.
  • Your calendar.
  • Ecommerce apps (with easy access to your payment details). 

Potentially, that person can do an awful lot of damage with a small amount of effort. It’s especially dangerous if they can get access to your bank account, payment details, or any important passwords – as that’s essentially a free pass to your life. At a minimum, your smartphone contains a large amount of data that could be used to learn more about you.

While many users take their privacy seriously by installing mobile security solutions for their smartphones, locking individual apps often goes under the radar as an effective solution to keeping your personal information private. It’s a failsafe that more people are starting to buy into.

Method one to locking your apps: Using an app lock app

There really is an app for everything – including helping safeguard the apps on your phone. App lock apps (app-ception!) are simple but powerful solutions that hide access behind a four-digit pin.

A number of free app lock apps exist, but you’ll want to make sure you’re using one that’s built by a trusted developer and that it offers a wide range of features.

Norton App Lock, for instance, offers full customisation in terms of which apps are locked behind either a pin or pattern. Hide everything behind the programme, lock certain apps, or let us tell you which ones to lock with a digital key. If someone enters the password wrong more than three times, the app takes a picture of them through the front-facing camera so you can see who it is.

While app lock is ideal for personal information protection, the parental control feature also gives parents peace of mind that their kids aren’t using anything they shouldn’t.

App lock apps are simple to use and easy to configure, so it really is worth taking a few minutes to set them up.

Method two to locking your apps: Using your smartphone’s built-in app lock feature

While app lock apps are extremely versatile, secure and often go along well with a mobile security solution, there’s always the option of using the built-in features on iPhone® and Android™. While Apple has made it fairly easy to lock apps from the settings menu, Android operating systems differ and may not always have a simple way to do so.

On your iPhone, the easiest way to lock individual apps is by:

1. Tapping on the ‘Settings’ button.
2. Going to the ‘General’ tab.
3. Finding ‘Restrictions’.

From there, you can set up a passcode and clearly mark the apps that should be restricted.

Each manufacturer behind Android phones has its own method for allowing users to lock apps. Samsung, the creator behind the popular Galaxy brand, has a Secure Folder setting that lets you put apps into a folder which is then only accessible with a password. You can find this by:

1. Going to ‘Settings’.
2. Tapping on the ‘Lock screen and security option’.
3. Finding ‘Secure Folder’.

Every brand will have instructions on how to access this feature, so be sure to google it to find out how. Given that Android may lack a comprehensive built-in feature to lock individual apps, many people choose to download a free app lock app from Google Play as it’s easier.

Our smartphones carry so much of our personal information, but the apps that the data is stored on is vulnerable to anyone who can get access to your device. Keep your social media, finance and work programmes secure by downloading an app lock solution.