Sometimes you just want a little extra privacy. Whether you share your smartphone with your children or prefer to leave it unlocked (bad idea, by the way), locking apps provides an excellent additional security layer.
With Android, you have a few different ways of how you go about this. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll give you two options for how to lock your apps, one through built-in tools and the other way a third-party app. Let’s dive right in.
Using Android Screen Pinning to Lock Apps
Android Screen Pinning has been around since Android 5.0 Lollipop. With it, you can lock your devices to specific apps and restrict access to settings, device functionality features like the displays, and other apps.
It works very simply. When you use Screen pinning, it locks an app in an open view. If someone tries to close it or navigate to a different screen, it immediately prompts the lock screen.
To turn Screen Pinning on, follow these steps:
- Settings and tap Security or Biometrics and security
- Tap Other security settings
- Swipe down to Advanced and tap Pin windows
- Turn on Screen pinning and Ask for PIN before unpinning
- Navigate to the App Overview screen
- Tap the app you want to pin
- Press and hold Back + Overview (for some phones, this may be Back + Home). This will pin the app to the screen.
- Enter your pin or use your biometric security option to unpin the screen
How to Use a Third Party-App to Lock Apps
So, you might be saying, “That’s a nice way to lock my phone. But I want to restrict access to specific apps but leave my phone generally navigable.”
You’ll need a third-party app to do that. These days, the most popular option is the aptly-named App Lock. App Lock is free and enables you to set both lock codes and patterns on each app individually.
Using it is also super easy.
- Download and install App Lock on your phone
- Open the app and set lock code and security question
- Select the apps you want to have password locked
- Before leaving the app, turn the Install/Uninstall switch “on.” This will require a passcode for App Lock to be uninstalled. That way, someone can’t just delete App Lock and then access your information.
As a bonus, you can also use App Lock to lock access to your media files, including personal videos and photos.
Additional Steps to Improving Android Security
While you’re securing your apps with either Screen Pinning or App Lock, now’s also a good time to do a security audit of your phone.
Our phones contain so much valuable data. From our email and social media accounts to your home address, digital payment methods, and more, you need to be careful about who can access your phone. You need to do everything you can to improve the security of your device.
While locking apps is a great way to protect threats in the real world, the vast majority of all cyber-crime happens online. Anytime you connect your phone to the internet (a.k.a. all the time), you need to be vigilant.
To protect your phone and your data, you need to arm yourself with the latest security tools. And there’s nothing better nor more affordable than a VPN. What is a VPN? A VPN is a virtual private network (https://nordvpn.com/what-is-a-vpn/) used to encrypt internet connection and shield your browsing activity.
It’s the best way to prevent hackers and other privacy threats like advertisers, big companies, and even nosy friends and family members, from tracking what you do online. Best of all, the top VPNs cost just $5-6/month and sometimes even less if you sign up for annual plans!
In addition to VPNs, be sure to invest in other great and easy-to-use security tools like password managers. Password managers help you create and store super-tough unique passwords that no supercomputer in the world could crack in a billion years! While doing so, they also make it easier for you to securely login to your online accounts. Talk about a win-win!
Android is the best mobile platform. It’s flexible, customizable, and full of amazing apps. Whether you have the latest Samsung flagship or have been holding onto a 10-year old Motorola, protect yourself and your data and start adopting these security strategies and tools.