Passcode lock folder on iPad

How to passcode lock a folder on your iPad. PLUS: how to passcode lock your iPad to a single app, and how to passcode lock your iPad.

Because we're great guys (and because we like people to visit this website), here at PC Advisor we try to respond to reader queries. And one question we are asked time and again is 'how can you passcode lock a folder on iPad'?

And here we run into trouble: the truth is you can't. At least, you can't passcode lock an individual folder on your iPad without installing a third-party app. It just isn't something for which iOS allows. We do wonder if this will change in future, particularly if Apple wants iPad and iPhone to be a serious option in the business world.

However, even today there are some third-party options. We'll get into that later on. First - here is what you can lock on your iPad.  It's possible this may solve the issues you are having if you want to keep secret the contents of a single folder. (See also: How to reset a forgotten iPad or iPhone passcode.)

What you can passcode lock on iPad

Lock iPad to single app

If you want to allow someone - a child perhaps - to use a specific app on your iPad, but you don't want them to access the photos and email, you can lock your iPad to a single app.  

Go to Settings, General, Accessibility, and select Guided Access. Flip the switch and tap Set Passcode to create a four-digit passcode. Make sure you can remember it!

Now in the app you want to lock into Guided Access mode and launch it. Once it's up and running, quickly tap the home button three times.

When you're ready to lock to the app, press the Start button in the top righthand corner of the screen. When it's time to put your iPad back to normal, triple-click the home button and enter the four-digit passcode.

Passcode lock your iPad

Alternatively, you could passcode lock the whole iPad. Really, this is only sensible, and you should do it for your iPad regardless of whether you choose to passcode lock an individual folder. It will prevent anyone who happens upon your iPad opening it up.

Go to Settings, General, Passcode Lock. You'll be asked to input a four-digit code on the onscreen display. Again, make sure it is one you can remember. You'll need to use it to unlock your iPad every time you use it. (See also: How to delete browsing history on iPad.)

Use app to passcode lock folder on iPad

Passcode lock folder on iPadOkay, we're going to assume at this stage that the suggestions above don't solve your problem, and you still wish to create a folder that requires a passcode lock to open. You'll need to purchase a third-party app.

We chose Secret Folder Icon, aka 'Folder'. Which costs £1.49 from the App Store. There may be free- or better options. If you know of one let me know in the comments below.

Install Secret Folder Icon and a folder named... 'Folder' will appear on your desktop. Open it up and you will be asked to set your four-digit passcode. This is a little odd as the onscreen numeric keypad has no numbers, rather the names of the types of things you can store in your Folder.

But it runs 1-9 from top left to bottom right, and you can reset your passcode if you aren't happy or you don't get it right first time around. This is important, because there is no way of recovering the passcode if you forget it. You are given the option to back it up via email, and we suggest you do so.

Once this is done you can use your secret Folder. It's pretty intuitive. You can place (or create) in here photo and video files, notes, contacts and passwords. You can also add in to-do items and audio notes, and download files to your secret folder.

It's worth noting that saving a photo to the Folder doesn't delete it from the original Camera Roll. The same is true of Notes and so on. If you want something to be secret, you need to move it to the Folder, and then delete at source.

It works okay, although there is always that slightly clunky feeling of using a third-party app within iOS7. It's just not quite the same thing. However, if you really need a password-protected folder on your iPad, it works and is worth a try. (See also: How to wipe iPad and iPhone back to factory settings.)