iOS 18 to get a neat trick that parents will absolutely love

You'll be able to share your phone without fear thanks to this useful new feature

Face ID
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

With WWDC 2024 just hours away, some last-minute leaks have snuck in just before the official announcements begin – and one of them should delight parents. If like me the phrase "can I play on your phone?" is a regular in your home, on the bus or in the car then you'll like the new feature that's coming to iOS: app locking via Face ID.

At the moment, you can lock some kinds of things on your iPhone: you can create hidden apps in Photos, lock up your Recently Deleted photos album and prevent other people from getting into your secret plans for world domination in Notes. But in iOS 18 you'll be able to lock specific apps behind a Face ID shield to prevent other people from accessing content or apps you don't want them to access.

How will the new Face ID feature work?

According to MacRumors, you'll be able to select a specific app or apps and then lock it or them with Face ID, and presumably Touch ID or a passcode too. When you want to use the app it's just a matter of putting your phone in front of your face or under your finger, but the feature will act as a bouncer when anybody else tries to get in.

Some of this has been possible for a while via Apple's Shortcuts app, but of course that's a bit more effort than just toggling a Face ID button. By bringing Face ID app locks into the operating system it should mean many more people can know about it and use it. 

The big winners for this one, I suspect, will be parents like me: I don't mind letting my youngest into my phone to play Geometry Dash or select things from Apple Music, especially if it'll make a long trip more bearable for both of us. But there are apps I don't want them to use – so for example I don't want my youngest getting their hands on my unfiltered YouTube app, or getting into the unfinished song I've got open in Logic for iPad

The new feature is expected to debut in iOS 18 for developers this week, but the official release won't be until September. We don't yet know if it'll apply to all apps or just Apple ones, or if app creators will be able to opt-out. Those details should emerge this week.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).