Use this iPhone trick to lock any app with Face ID

Use this iPhone trick to lock any app with Face ID

Face ID is one of the features of the iPhone that keeps you locked into the Apple ecosystem. While the argument that Touch ID may be more convenient in various scenarios may be valid, Face ID surpasses Touch ID in usefulness and speed. It is not about locking and unlocking the handset. You can also use Face ID to sign in to iPhone apps that support 3D facial recognition. So is Touch ID, but Face ID does it passively before you even have to think about it.

Unfortunately, not all iPhone apps support authentication. Or for Face ID. This is where a mind-blowing iPhone trick comes into play, as you can close any application with Face ID, even if the developer does not support it.

Many apps that require user authentication support Face ID. It’s the only way to sign in to apps, especially apps that protect sensitive information like online banking, other fintech apps, health data, and more.

Using Face ID means you never have to worry about typing in a complicated password every time you log in. And this makes it much easier to use password management apps to generate strong, unique passwords for each app or web service you use.

That’s what I do with Face ID. I use facial authentication to log in to all apps that support it. And I have no idea what the user passwords are, since I use a separate password manager for them. And yes, Face ID allows me to authenticate in 1Password as well.

iPhone timer is a key feature that allows you to lock any app with Face ID.
iPhone timer is a key feature that allows you to lock any app with Face ID. Image credit: Chris Smith, BGR

Some apps do not support Face ID authentication. Or apps that never get it. But these apps may contain sensitive data that you don’t want others to see. Or maybe you don’t trust others with your iPhone and can’t get into Photos or iMessage.

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This is where the brilliant trick comes into play. Redditor fishmiloo found an iOS quirk that can be abused via Shortcuts to create automations where only iPhone users can access certain apps:

This is a weird “hack”. “Start timer – stop playback” will lock the screen and you’ll need FaceID again to slide it back into the phone. Set it to 1 second and turn off “Ask before run” and “Notify on run”.

To activate “Stop Timer – Stop Game”, the automation for opening any app (like Twitter) does exactly that – opening the app starts a 1 second timer that completes the screen lock and requires Face ID to unlock.

Set up Face ID for any iPhone app

The following steps will help you set up Face ID protection for any iPhone app. You will need to repeat the Shortcuts steps for each application.

First, you need to go to the Clock application:

  • Choose the Timer menu
  • Tap the When the timer expires and select Stop playing

When the timer expires, music playback stops and iPhone locks itself. This step is essential.

Create Face ID lock automation with the Shortcuts app.
Create Face ID lock automation with the Shortcuts app. Image credit: Chris Smith, BGR

Second, go to the Shortcuts app:

  • Choose the Automations sheet
  • Touch the + icon and select it Creating personal automation
  • Scroll to tap App, and select the iPhone app you want to block using Face ID. In this post, we will continue to use Twitter as an example.
  • Set the trigger to position Is open and touch it Following
  • Choose the Add action to item option, then search for it Start Timer
  • Set the timer 1 second then touch it Following
  • Disable the Ask before running fast
  • Tap the Ready.
The timer appears when you open Twitter and your iPhone closes. Image credit: Chris Smith, BGR

Let’s say someone uses your iPhone and opens Twitter to see your social activity behind your back. iPhone will automatically lock itself after 1 second. The person will be locked out of the phone and unable to communicate with them. But when you use the app, Face ID authenticates you and then you can use the app.

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The iPhone trick isn’t perfect

You don’t have to worry; it will not be included in the 1 second Face ID reauthentication cycles. The app you had open before you locked your iPhone is already open when you unlock your iPhone, so you can use it.

You can use the Face ID trick to protect any app, including iOS system apps like Settings, Photos, and Messages. As for the person being locked out while using Twitter, remember to close Twitter completely when asked to unlock your iPhone. Or at least open another app in the foreground. Otherwise, they can access it.

You can create as many separate automations as you need to protect apps with Face ID.
You can create as many separate automations as you need to protect apps with Face ID. Image credit: Chris Smith, BGR

The problem with this unusual Face ID iPhone feature is that you have to give up the timer feature. This includes having the phone play content and automatically turn itself off at night.

Also, if someone already knows your iPhone passcode, they will only use it to bypass the temporary lock. Also, since you are using your iPhone in public, Face ID misfiring may cause you to log into your iPhone with your PIN/password, which may reveal it to others. On this note, you can create iPhone passwords that are stronger than the ones you’re using: Here’s how to do it.

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