How to Lock Apps on Screen on Android

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Giving your phone to someone can be like giving your whole life away. There is usually a lot of personal information that they can access. Android’s “app pinning” feature can help prevent someone from leaving an app. This is how you can lock an app on Android.

By “pinning” an app, you lock it on the screen. Whoever hands you your device will not be able to exit the app unless they know the special key combination or passcode. It is a little trick that every Android user should know.

How to enable app pinning on Android

App pinning may or may not be enabled by default on your device. Open the Settings menu on your Android phone or tablet by swiping down from the top of the screen (once or twice depending on your device manufacturer) to open the notification shade, then tap the gear icon.

Next, look for a “Security” section. Samsung devices call it “Biometrics and security”.

Choose the "Security" option

Scroll down and select “Fix app” or “Fix Windows”. You may need to expand an “Advanced” section or go to “Other security settings” first.

Select "App pinning"

Turn on the switch (if you haven’t already) to activate the feature.

turn on the switch

A pop-up message will explain how the feature works. Tap “OK” to continue.

accept the pop-up message by tapping the "OKAY" button

The last thing you can do is ask for your lock screen passcode or pattern to unpin the app. Toggle the switch to “Ask for unlock pattern before unpinning”.

If you want, you can require your lock screen PIN or pattern to unpin an app

How to use app pinning on Android

Now that we have the features enabled, let’s pin an app. First, open the Recents screen by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and holding for a second or tapping the Recents button (if on-screen navigation buttons are enabled).

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open recent apps menu

Next, scroll through your recently opened apps and find the one you want to pin. Tap the icon above the app preview.

In the menu, select “Pin” or “Pin this app”.

Select "Nail" from the menu

A pop-up message will tell you that the app is pinned and explain how to unpin it. Tap “Got it” or “OK”.

tap on the "It is understood" button after reading the message about how to unpin an app

Now, to unpin the app, swipe up and hold the gesture again. If you’re using three-button navigation, press and hold the Back and Recent buttons at the same time.

open recent apps menu

The app will be unpinned. If you have enabled the pattern lock option, you will be taken to the lock screen. Unlock the device and the app will no longer be pinned.

Unlock your device with your lock screen PIN or password

That’s all about it. Anytime you need to hand your phone over to someone, here’s a trick you can use to make sure they don’t snoop.

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