TiPb Answers: Secure Individual Apps on the iPhone?

TiPb loves answering your emails, but we also love sharing our answers with the community in hopes that more people will benefit, and even better answers will present themselves (hey, that's why we have them forums!). For today's debut TiPb Answers, reader Ryan asks:

I've installed some apps on my phone from itunes, one being facebook mobile. What concerns me is that once i've entered my user/pw the first time it is never required again and anyone who simply "slides" the phone unlocked will have full access. I assume this is true for email as well (although I haven't set that up yet.)

My question is, is there any way to passcode a particular icon on the iphone? Or put a security lock on it?

TiPB answers, after the jump...

Unfortunately, Ryan, there doesn't seem to be any facility to lock or password protect individual Apps on the iPhone (unless the individual App in question provides that on their own, like 1Password for example). Two options you may want to consider are:

  1. Enable the Passcode on the iPhone (Settings - General - Passcode Lock), so you have to input a 4 digit Pin in order to unlock the iPhone, and therefore launch any App or access your data.
  2. Use WebApps (website based applications) instead, which you log into via MobileSafari on your iPhone and typically won't store your credentials unless you check a box (and even then you can clear cookies to remove the login info). In some cases, like Facebook, the WebApp is arguably even better than the native App as well.

Security and convenience are eternal enemies. The iPhone currently defaults more towards convenience.

Anyone have any other options for Ryan?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

TiPb Answers: Secure Individual Apps on the iPhone?


to be true ... Only for jailbreak iphone's ... There is a application called lockdown which let's u set password to apps which u have installed ... Plus I even has a password to log into the app .. You can fine it in cydia .. It's called lockdown

yea but u get apps that app store or apples won't let u have on a normal phone ... Like mms and apps that are usefull .. And not limited to what apple wants ...

@ Omar
Warranty means nothing nowdays. Eapecailly with mobile devices. Jailbreaking is worth the risk. People have come up with amazing code that apple would probably reject from the app store. This is what drives the mobile industrys. I can't wait till andriod gets released. Open market = product or in this case software evolution which is great for the end user, us.

A simple restore before a trip to the Apple store restores your warranty even on a jailbroken device ;)

@edgar....You get mms on jailbroke phones?! How does it work? Like a normal mms would? Can you still use all the apps from the app store? What about when a new firmware is released are you screwed and have to do a restore?

Yes you get mms in jailbreak iPhone ... The program is swirlymms ... You can find more info on swirlyspace.com ... Yes u can still install apps from apps store just like a unjailbreak iPhone .... And when a new firmware comes out I just upgrade with iTunes just like every one else and rejailbreak my phone ... Note might wait a day or to for the new jailbreak software to jailbreak the new firmware

Umm..correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the unlock "flaw" still exist in 2.1 as well, making the passcode pointless unless the buttons are reassigned anyways?

Hi Bla1ze,
No, the flaw that allowed access beyond the "emergency call" functionality was fixed in 2.1. You can no longer double-press Home when locked to get to favorites, which was the exploit vector for that flaw.
With 2.1, all you can do is "emergency call"

There is a way to secure access to your facebook mobile page. Once logged in, tap your profile button and in the upper left hand corner you find the logout button. Tap it and you will be forced to log in next time you want access. This way if someone grads your phone, ythey cannot access your facebook page unless they have your log in info. Hope this helps.