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How to set a passcode on an iPhone

Keep your mobile under lock and key…

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We’ve all got tons of sensitive data stashed away on our iPhones nowadays. Bank details. Contact numbers. Family addresses. And to keep all that important stuff safe, you’re going to want to set a strong passcode. So, here’s everything you need to know about setting one up. Plus, answers to a bunch of common questions on all thing’s passcodes. Let’s get cracking…

Setting up or changing your iPhone password

Your iPhone passcode is like your own digital key that keeps all your personal info secure. Here’s how to set it up or change it:

  1. Open the ‘Settings’ app on your iPhone.

  2. Scroll down and tap ‘Face ID & Passcode’ or ‘Touch ID & Passcode’. This depends on what kind of iPhone you’ve got.

  3. You’ll be asked to enter your current passcode if you have one. If you don’t, you’ll be able to set one up from scratch.

  4. Hit ‘Turn Passcode On’ to make a new passcode.

Changing Face ID and Touch passcode on iPhone

If your iPhone supports Face ID or Touch ID, you can change their passcode too:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’.

  2. Choose ‘Face ID & Passcode’ or ‘Touch ID & Passcode’.

  3. Enter your existing passcode.

  4. Press ‘Change Passcode’.

  5. Follow the instructions to set a new passcode.

Setting up a four-digit passcode on iPhone

Find that a four-digit passcode is easier to remember? Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Head to ‘Settings’

  2. Tap ‘Face ID & Passcode’ or ‘Touch ID & Passcode’.

  3. Type in your current passcode.

  4. Press ‘Change Passcode’.

  5. Enter your old passcode again.

  6. Choose ‘Passcode Options’.

  7. Pick ‘4-digit Numeric Code’.

  8. Enter your new four-digit passcode.

  9. Re-enter your new passcode to confirm it.

Managing automatic lock settings

Automatic lock settings decide how quickly your iPhone locks itself when you’re not using it. Here’s how to change up these settings:

  1. Open up ‘Settings’.

  2. Scroll down and pick ‘Display & Brightness’.

  3. Press ‘Auto-Lock’.

  4. Pick the amount of time you want to pass before the phone will lock. This ranges from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.

Changing your iPhone lock screen password

To update your lock screen password (which can be different from your passcode – it’s all a little bit confusing, we know) follow these steps:

  1. Fire up ‘Settings’.

  2. Go down and choose ‘Face ID & Passcode’ or ‘Touch ID & Passcode’.

  3. Type in your current passcode.

  4. Scroll down to the ‘Allow Access When Locked’ section.

  5. Hit ‘Change Password’.

  6. Follow the instructions on the screen to set a new password.

Does the iPhone erase data after 10 attempts?

Nope. This one’s a bit of an urban myth. It will stop you from getting into your iPhone for a certain amount of time though if you keep getting the code wrong. We go into that in some more detail down below.

Turning off passcode security

If you do want to switch off your passcode security for any reason, here’s how to do it:

  1. Open ‘Settings’.

  2. Scroll down and press ‘Face ID & Passcode’ or ‘Touch ID & Passcode’.

  3. Type in your current passcode.

  4. Go down and tap ‘Turn Passcode Off’.

We wouldn’t recommend this though. Without any passcode security, you’re leaving your phone open to unauthorised access. And that could lead to you losing a load of personal data.

How to reset an iPhone passcode

If you forget your passcode and get locked out of your iPhone, you can reset the passcode by restoring it to its factory settings. Here’s how:

  1. Plug your iPhone into a computer or laptop you’ve used before.

  2. Launch iTunes (or Finder on macOS Catalina or later).

  3. Put your iPhone into recovery mode. The steps might be slightly different depending on the iPhone you’ve got.

  4. When you’re asked in iTunes or Finder, choose the ‘Restore’ option. This will completely erase all the data on your iPhone – including the passcode.

  5. After everything’s been deleted, you can set up your iPhone as a new device, where you’ll then be able to make a new passcode.

FAQ

How do I change my iPhone passcode on my child’s phone?

You can change the passcode on your kid’s iPhone by heading to ‘Settings’ then ‘Face ID & Passcode’ or ‘Touch ID & Passcode’ and following the steps we’ve mentioned above. The difficult part will probably be getting the phone off them in the first place!

How many wrong passcode attempts on an iPhone do I have?

You’ll have six wrong passcode attempts before your iPhone will temporarily disable itself. If you carry on failing with the wrong code, you’ll be locked out for even longer. And this amount of time will keep going up and up. So, make sure you get it right. Otherwise you’ll be sat around waiting for ages.

How to change your iPhone passcode from another device?

Use the ‘Find My’ app on another iOS gadget (like your iPad) that’s linked to your iPhone. Pick your iPhone from the drop-down list and choose ‘Erase iPhone’. This’ll let you set a new passcode as part of the setup process, but it’ll obviously wipe all of the phone’s data. So, it’s a bit of a last resort. Make sure you’ve backed up all your data before you do it!

Why is my iPhone asking me to change my passcode?

That’ll be because your current passcode isn’t strong enough. If it’s something as simple as 1, 2, 3, 4 – or the year you were born – then you’ll want to change it to something that’s way more secure.

Why has my iPhone passcode changed to six digits?

Apple did it to beef up their security. After all, six digits are a lot harder to guess than the four that they used to use as standard. But you can use either.

Need a hand with any other iPhone bits and bobs? Then we’ve got all the answers. Here’s how to scan documents on iPhone. And when you get bored of your background, we’ll show you how to change the wallpaper on an iPhone.

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Call security!