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I already asked a similar question sometime ago (though that was focused on free apps) and the answers were negative, but I've done some research and it seems there could be a way.

Basically, I’m looking for apps which lock the phone, either for a specific app (I.e. “don’t use Facebook for 1 day”) or for the full phone (I.e., “don’t use any app for the whole day, except for phone calls & SMS”). On Android this is doable with Offtime. On iOS Offtime (conveniently renamed to “Offtime light”) is totally useless (it doesn’t lock anything at all).

However, on the iPhone I found two more apps which seem to be able to do what I want: Flipd and Freedom.

Flipd

The app requires me to install a MDM certificate on my phone in order to allow locking. However, I don't know what a MDM certificate is, and since this is a company mobile, I cannot risk third parties to access my emails and documents. Is it safe to install the MDM certificate?

Freedom

This app doesn't seem to require a MDM certificate (I can't be sure because I haven't downloaded it: it looks like there's no free trial, so before buying it I want to be sure it works). It does require a "limited VPN", though. Again, is this safe?

If both apps aren't safe, are there safe alternatives?

closed as too broad by nohillside Jul 12 '18 at 16:50

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Are you allowed by your company to install 3rd party apps on that device? Many, not all, company phones are already managed by that companies Mobile Device Management (MDM) software. Does your iPhone have this already? Also, 'safe' is relative so you might want to rephrase your question to avoid downvotes or closure votes. – fsb Jul 11 '18 at 19:13
  • @fsb I said that I can't risk third parties to read emails and documents on my iPhone. That's what I mean as "unsafe". How do you propose I modify that? – DeltaIV Jul 11 '18 at 19:21
  • Is your iPhone already managed by your companies MDM? What about text messages? Flipd FAQ's explain what an MDM is and says you can use the app without the certificate. Freedom uses a VPN and that can view all your network traffic, including email, although their FAQ's state they don't do that. I recommend reading the FAQ's of any app you're considering (is it worth losing your job if these apps don't do what they say?). – fsb Jul 11 '18 at 19:55
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    There are several questions within your question which will make it difficult to answer. Can you please focus on one aspect only per question. Also keep in mind that "is it safe" depends very much on your definition of "safe", so it might be better to be specific here and/or to ask how MDM certificates work first. – nohillside Jul 12 '18 at 16:52
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    Basically you seem to seek information about what an MDM profile can and can not do, at least that‘s how Inunderstand the driver behind your question. But I may be wrong, so it‘s better if you edit your question yourself. – nohillside Jul 12 '18 at 20:47
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I'm from the Flipd team and just wanted to chime in here. The MDM used to activate the Full Lock in order to hide your apps is completely safe. Not only does Apple thoroughly vet apps like ours that use MDM, the call we make via MDM is only to hide your third-party apps and then to push them back onto your device over the internet at a scheduled time. This feature is similar to Apple's Restrictions mode, but on a schedule.

The only error you might run into is if you have a weak or no internet connection; at which point your apps may not appear as scheduled. This is easily resolved by uninstalling the MDM and your apps will return immediately.

I hope this helps!

  • Thanks for stepping up and providing an answer. Does your company have a knowledge base or link to Apple to substantiate that your profile doesn’t conflict with the OP’s company policy? My understanding that Apple doesn’t endorse or vet any third party profiles - but they do make sure that the account in question that is tied to the profile has entered a legally binding contract with Apple. – bmike Jul 15 '18 at 16:34
  • Specifically - here is the page where Apple publicly documents the MDM provider responsibility to document their use of lock features: support.apple.com/en-us/HT202804 Refer to your MDM solution documentation for additional details. – bmike Jul 15 '18 at 16:35

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