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Here's how to lock apps and files with your fingerprint

Keep specific apps and files away from prying eyes.
By
May 4, 2022

Fingerprint scanners make it easier than ever to secure your smartphone, reducing the need to type in a PIN code. Whether you’re locking or unlocking your device, or signing into apps, it’s undoubtedly one of the most practical features on today’s phones.

There’s also another use for biometric security on smartphones, with fingerprint app lock functionality being a popular feature. Sadly, there’s no official solution for granting access to specific apps and files using the fingerprint reader. Thanks to third-party solutions, there are ways to do anything on Android, though, and there are some ways to accomplish this. Whether it’s your social media app or naughty photos, let’s look at how to lock content behind a fingerprint.

Also: The best security apps for Android

QUICK ANSWER

The easiest way to lock apps and files with your fingerprint is by using a third-party app. One of the most popular and trusted ones is AppLock. Grab it from the Google Play Store and set it up. Keep reading to learn how to do this.


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Using a third-party app

Google Play Store on smartphone stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The easiest way to lock apps and files and use your fingerprint to access them is by using a third-party app. One of the most trusted and popular ones is AppLock, so let’s show you how to use this app first.

  • Download AppLock from the Google Play Store.
  • Open the app and set up an unlock pattern.
  • Once in the app, tap the Protect tab.
  • Toggle Fingerprint Lock.
  • Go back to the Privacy tab.
  • Find the app you want to secure and tap the lock next to it.
  • Grant the app the necessary permissions.
  • Try to access the app you locked.
  • When the app asks you for the pattern unlock, use your fingerprint instead. The app should be unlocked.

How to lock files using AppLock

AppLock also has a neat feature that allows you to lock files and access them using your fingerprint reader. The Vault feature can hide away photos, videos, audio, random files, and even APK files. The app will move the file to its own protected folders and keep it away from other apps.

  • Open AppLock.
  • Under the Privacy tab, go into Vault.
  • Select the type of file you want to protect.
  • Tap the + button.
  • Find and select the file.
  • Tap the Lock button.
  • Hit Confirm.
  • Let the app work its magic. After doing this, the selected files will only be visible within the Vault, and you can access them using your fingerprint reader.

Note: These instructions were put together using a Google Pixel 4a with 5G running Android 12. Keep in mind steps may differ depending on your hardware and software.

Other great third-party apps for locking apps and files with your fingerprint

Of course, there are plenty of other options in the Google Play Store. Here are some of our other favorites.

Also: These are the best app locks and privacy lock apps


Phone manufacturers that let you lock apps and files

The great thing about Android is that developers and manufacturers always try to fill in the voids when Google doesn’t offer a solution for something. Some smartphone manufacturers make it simple to lock apps and files using their own apps and integrations. Let’s go over some of the popular ones.

Samsung

Samsung logo
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Samsung is one of the most popular smartphone makers worldwide, so we know many of you are rocking their handsets. You’ll be happy to learn Samsung has its own method for locking apps and files, allowing you to access them with your fingerprint. There is no need to download any apps; it’s built right into the system.

  • Go into the Settings.
  • Access Biometrics and security.
  • Select Secure Folder.
  • Follow instructions to create a Secure Folder.
  • Go back into the Secure Folder settings and tap Lock type.
  • Enter your PIN, password, or pattern.
  • Under Biometrics, enable Fingerprints.
  • Go to the Secure Folder app on your home screen or app list.
  • Tap the + button and select the apps you want to protect. You can also tap the three-dot menu button and hit Add files. Select the files you want to protect.
  • You can now access the Secure Folder using your fingerprint reader. All your protected apps and files will be there.

Note: These instructions were put together using a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus running Android 12. Keep in mind steps may differ depending on your hardware and software.

OnePlus

OnePlus logo
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

OnePlus has offered fingerprint scanners since the OnePlus 2, but they’re not merely used for locking and unlocking the phone. The company has delivered fingerprint app lock functionality for a few years, dubbed App Locker.

  • Go into the Settings.
  • Select Utilities.
  • Tap on App Locker.
  • Enter your PIN.
  • Hit Add apps.
  • Pick the apps you want to secure and go back.
  • You’ll be asked for authentication next time you try to access the selected apps. Use your fingerprint.

OnePlus has also added a way to hide files within its File Manager. It’s called Lockbox.

  • Open the File Manager.
  • Go into Lockbox.
  • Set a PIN.
  • Now use the File Manager app to find the files you want to protect.
  • Select them and tap the three-dot menu button.
  • Select Move to Lockbox.
  • When you try to access the Lockbox, you’ll be asked to verify your identity. Use the fingerprint reader.

Note: These instructions were put together using a OnePlus Nord N200 running Android 11. Keep in mind steps may differ depending on your hardware and software.

LG

LG V60 logo and camera macro 2

LG also has a system tool for unlocking content with your fingerprint, but it only works with a couple of apps. You can use LG Content Lock to hide away items in your Gallery or QuickMemo+ apps.

  • Go into the Settings.
  • Select Lock screen & security.
  • Tap Content lock.
  • Set your lock options and make sure Fingerprints is toggled on.
  • Open either Gallery or QuickMemo+.
  • Select what you want to hide.
  • If you’re using the Gallery app, tap the three-dot menu button and select Lock.
  • If using the QuickMemo+ app, tap on Lock.
  • Now you can tap the three-dot menu button and select Show Locked files/memos.

Note: These instructions were put together using an LG Wing running Android 10. Keep in mind steps may differ depending on your hardware and software.


Next: The best password managers available

FAQs

Can others get into my secured apps and files?

No one has the same fingerprint, so people won’t be able to use that method. Sadly, though, most methods for locking apps also use either a PIN, pattern, or password. If other people know any of those, they will likely be able to access your locked apps and files.

What happens to my locked apps and files once I do a factory reset?

Unless the app allows you to back everything up in the cloud, any settings and content locked will be deleted or cleared.

How else can I hide content from others? 

Locking and protecting content works great most time, but some users prefer their private files are entirely offline. You can look at external hard drives, USB flash drives, or SD cards to store confidential data securely.