How to Lock a File or Folder on iPhone

You can lock a file on your iPhone using the Files app or a third-party app like Folder Lock. iOS also allows you to hide photos and videos in the Photos app.

Hi, I’m Devansh. Being obsessed with cyber security, I’ve researched how to lock files and folders on an iPhone to keep them safe from prying eyes.

In this article, I’ll show you the native and third-party methods of locking files and folders on your iPhone. Along with that, I’ll also talk about how to lock photos, apps, and notes!

If you allow your friends and colleagues to use your iPhone but want to ensure they don’t stumble upon sensitive files, keep reading!

Two Ways to Lock Files and Folders on iPhone

As with most things in iOS, there are two ways to do anything: with a native feature or a third-party app. When it comes to locking files and folders, this is more true than anything else. So, let’s discuss both ways to lock files and folders on your iPhone.

Native Feature to Lock Files

The Files app in iOS 16 and above allows you to lock a PDF file. Open Files, go to the PDF file you want to lock and open it. Tap on the downward-facing arrow beside its name and tap on Lock PDF.

A new page will appear, letting you set and verify a password to access that file. Enter it and tap Done. In the Files app, that file will now have a lock icon on top of it. When you open it, it’ll say, ‘This document is password protected’ and let you input the password below.

What if you want to hide photos and videos? iOS also allows you to do that in the Photos app! Just open Photos and select any photos or videos you wish to store away in a locked folder. Tap the More button (circle with three dots), tap Hide, and Hide Photo. To access it again, go to the Albums tab, and tap on the Hidden folder under Utilities.

These photos won’t appear in your library, in other albums, or the Photos widget. If you have iOS 16, they can only be accessed with a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.

Apps to Lock Files, Photos, and Music

Apple considers iPhones to be personal devices. This is why they don’t offer much in the way of adding secondary layers of security for your individual files. This is where many apps come into play, like MaxVault, Keepsafe, and Folder Lock.

These apps are quite versatile and can lock many types of files, like photos and videos, documents, audio files, and notes. Since they require a passcode, the files you save in them can only be accessed with the right credentials.

Some cloud apps also offer secure folders, like Microsoft OneDrive. It has a feature called Personal Vault that locks your files using identity verification.


Here are two common questions about locking a file or folder on your iPhone.

How to Lock Notes in iOS?

If some of your notes have sensitive data, you can also lock them. Just open the note in the Notes app, tap the More button, and tap Lock. You can lock the note with your iPhone passcode or create a separate password. You can also use Face ID or Touch ID if your iPhone supports it. Visit this Support page for further info.

Can you Hide Apps from the Home Screen in iOS?

No, that’s not yet possible. Alternatively, you can set a passcode to activate them using Screen Time in Settings. Go to App Limits, choose the apps you want to lock, and set a 1-min limit. Check out this Support page for more info on how you can set this up.


All in all, it’s possible to lock a file on an iPhone using the Files app. The Photos app also offers the feature to hide photos and videos. If you need more features, like the option to hide more file formats, you can check out apps like MaxVault, Keepsafe, and Folder Lock.

Do you wish iOS and iPadOS would have more native features for locking files and apps? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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