6 mobile games you can play without unlocking your iPhone, from Snake to Minesweeper

​Morning commutes, boring meetings, that extra lengthy toilet visit – mobile games are a cure for all our daily wasted dead time. Now you can store and play them in secret too, accessing the addictive time-passers without even having to unlock your iPhone. Seriously.

Sounds like some sort of smartphone gaming witchcraft, right? Don’t worry though, cutting those painful seconds between you and a bit of casual gaming doesn’t require a degree in hacking or a Hogwarts diploma. All of the below can be downloaded from the App Store. Instead of populating your handset homescreen, they will sit in your drop-down ‘Notifications’ menu, meaning you can play without ever having to unlock your handset for sneaky, speedy gaming. You’re welcome.



Forget your passcode and fingerprint scans, it’s time to game from your iPhone’s lock screen and there’s no better place to start than this dinosaur-filled side scroller. Steve – because not all dinos are called Rex – has been left in the desert and it’s your job to help get him through it.

You can do this by tapping the screen to make him jump over the ever increasing cacti minefields. It’s simple, sure, but then aren’t so many of the best games? WARNING: Downloading this game will result in hours of your life being stolen in addictive ‘just one more go’ fashion.



Who doesn’t love a good paper airplane? They’re the best thing in origami since those little fortune tellers we used at school to see if that boy/girl we liked would be our one true love forever (they weren’t, the bastards). Paper planes aren’t the most accepted in office meetings, though – unlike sneaking a bit of game time on your phone which is totally fine. Honest.

Like Flappy Bird for the paper folders out there, Overglide sees you dodging a series of floating obstacles, utilising strategic taps to help your rudimentary aircraft navigate its way though the narrowing gaps. It’s fun, fast and sure to pass the time on the train.



It’s ok, you can finally chuck your Nokia 3310. Apart from its mammoth battery life, the classic brick’s best feature – Snake – is iPhone available and just waiting to fill your Notifications menu for a bit of on-the-sly gaming thanks to the Quickgets Snake app.

Letting you chase food pellets around a box that your ever-growing body is quickly filling, four-way control arrows let you command your snake in any direction without cluttering the compact playing window. It’s where smartphone gaming began, and it still doesn’t get much more fun.



Like a high-tech version of Overglide, the Helicopter Widget puts some power in your aircraft, trading air for an engine in helping you navigate your way through a floating block obstacle course.

Tapping the screen sees your mini chopper gain altitude, while releasing sees it take a strategic nosedive in order to duck beneath the latest barrier standing between you and aviation salvation. It’s another simple side-scrolling win, and one that will have you constantly clamouring to beat your own high score.



If there’s one thing we like more than stealthily stored notification games, it’s emoji. What better then than combining the two in a double win of techy love? That’s what the terribly-titled ‘Emoji Game Widget’ has done, and it’s seriously addictive.

Testing your emoji-based memory skills, you’ve got to look at a series of emoticons for three seconds before recreating the pictogram-based order from memory. Sound simple? Well it is, at the beginning at least. Get past a four emoji code, however, and things quickly go from fun to fiendishly tricky.



If Windows 98 had a baby with your iPhone, this is the best of both worlds creation that would  emerge to appease both the old and the young of mobile gaming. It’s time once again to break out your rudimentary bomb disposal skills then, so get working on your steady hand.

Dominating your Notifications window, it’s a bit of gaming nostalgia to make you all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Until you hit a bomb that is, then it’s straight up panic stations and alarm bells.