The Value of App Privacy Settings

William Wong



With our escalating reliance on mobile devices, a major challenge that every industry must face is the security risk inherent in the technologies. Mobile apps are an area of particular vulnerability.

Recent research by Veracode revealed that the average global enterprise has around 2,400 unsafe applications installed on employee mobile devices. Keep in mind that each of these vulnerabilities has the potential to become a hacker’s entry point to gain access to your corporate network and steal your data.

With this in mind, in addition to their other security best practices, companies should use privacy locks to protect individual apps. This is particularly important for iOS users, since while Apple provides a built-in passcode to protect iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch from unauthorized usage, it does not include privacy locks for applications.

Here are a few solutions to consider:

  • Guided Access. One workaround solution from within the app itself is to use Apple’s Guided Access feature, which allows users to restrict usage of their apps. The primary benefit of Guided Access is that you can use it to restrict and limit (temporarily) your iPhone or other iOS device to a single app, while also controlling the availability of app features by disabling hardware buttons and areas of the screen that aren’t needed for a task.


  • Folder Locker. Apple’s internal solution may not give you the depth of security that you seek to protect the applications themselves. Fortunately, there are a limited number of locking apps (non-Apple) that allow you to safeguard individual applications on iOS. Folder Locker, for example, is designed to protect your applications that contain personal information, including documents, photos, notes, and more. To access your locked files, though, Folder Locker requires you to reenter the app.
  • WPS Office for iOS. Perhaps the best solution is to use the app privacy settings within WPS Office for iOS. In addition to offering ample document security to secure and encrypt sensitive documents with passkeys, the application also offers advance read and write permissions so that you can choose who can view and edit your documents. A particularly valuable tool is that WPS Office for iOS offers a Passlock feature that allows the iPhone owner to enter the app without hassles.
  • App permissions. Another layer of app security comes on the front end—WPS Office comes equipped with a permissions system for individual apps, both for iOS and Android. This feature can ensure that you don’t install apps that you don’t want, increasing your protection.
  • Android for Work. While not app-specific, remember that if you’re an Android user, WPS Office recently launched Android for Work, which includes a feature that limits document-sharing features. These restrictions help provide security and customization around employees’ sharing and usage.

As you take steps like using passwords, privacy locks, and encryption to protect your individual applications from cybertheft and malware attacks, always keep in mind the general best practices of mobile document security. Keep mobile apps updated, use security features on your device, and don’t download applications from unknown third parties. While no solution is foolproof, you can greatly enhance your app’s protection with these smart moves.