As an iPhone user, you likely use your phone for many aspects of your life. From texting and phone calls to banking and emails, your iPhone holds a significant amount of your personal information. Creating an effective passcode helps protect your information from anyone who might get ahold of your phone. Find out why iPhone passwords are important and how you can change yours to increase your phone’s security.
Why Having a Passcode Is Important
In today’s world, having a secure phone is crucial. For many iPhone users, their phone is one of the primary spaces for storing sensitive data like credit cards, social security numbers, addresses, birthdays, contacts, emails and much more. Many people even work from their phones, which means their company’s information is also stored on the phone. The ability to store this information at your fingertips is convenient, though it poses a serious security risk.
Police and government agencies have begun purchasing technology that can unlock password-protected iPhones if necessary for evidence in criminal cases — but there’s nothing stopping hackers from doing the same. Short numerical passwords are easy to crack, and iPhones automatically let users set up four- or six-digit passcodes, depending on the iOS operating system on the phone. While these short passwords are convenient to type in and easy to remember, they can be cracked in anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the length.
Newer iPhones have Touch ID and Face ID that scan your finger on the Home button or scan your face to unlock the phone, both of which help improve iPhone security. However, a passcode is still required to set these up, and iPhone will require the passcode to be entered in these situations:
- After your iPhone restarts
- Your iPhone hasn’t been unlocked in over 48 hours
- You haven’t used the passcode to unlock your iPhone in the past 6.5 days
- You haven’t used Touch ID or Face ID to unlock your iPhone in the past four hours
- Touch ID or Face ID is unsuccessful after five attempts to unlock the iPhone
- Using or viewing Emergency SOS or Medical ID
- Your iPhone is remotely locked
While Touch ID and Face ID are effective additional layers of security, a strong password is still the most effective defense from hackers. Find out how to change an iPhone’s passcode to make it more secure.
How to Change My iPhone’s Password
Standard iPhone passcodes are six digits when you’re using iOS 9 or higher, though there are ways you can customize your password to different lengths or include numbers, letters and special characters. Follow these steps to set or change your iPhone’s password.
Step 1: Accessing Your Settings
Depending on your iPhone’s operating system, you’ll want to choose either “Touch ID & Passcode” or “Face ID & Passcode” from the first screen in the Settings app. If you don’t already have a passcode, you’ll be prompted to “Turn Passcode On,” and if you have a passcode but want to change it to be stronger, you’ll choose “Change Passcode.” If you’re changing your passcode, you’ll be asked to enter your current password before proceeding.
Step 2: Choose Passcode Options
To be effective and secure, you should have a minimum of six digits in your passcode. If you have a newer iPhone, the automatic passcode length is six digits, though to make your password more secure, you can choose “Passcode Options” to create a custom numeric or alphanumeric code. These options are far more secure because of the sheer number of possible passwords. For example, if you create a custom 10-digit numerical code, a hacker would have to go through 100 million different combinations to find your passcode.
If you choose an alphanumeric password, you can create a password using lower case and upper case letters, numbers and special characters. The number of password possibilities with this option increases significantly. Of course, the longer your password is, the more effective it will be. Just don’t make it so long that you can’t remember it!
Once you decide on a password, enter it on the “Set Passcode” screen. Next, you’ll be asked to confirm your password to ensure it wasn’t accidentally typed wrong. After confirming your new password, you’re done. Now, when you wake your iPhone, you’ll be asked to enter your password to unlock the phone.
Step 3: Use Other Security Measures
iPhone offers additional settings to amp up your phone’s security, and they’re well worth setting up while you’re still in your settings. From your passcode settings, you can change when your iPhone asks you to input your password. The most secure option is “Immediately,” which requires the password before even entering the phone. This is typically the standard setting for iPhones, but if yours is set to something else, consider changing it for security purposes.
Next, you should consider setting up Touch ID or Face ID if your device supports these options. Choose “Set Up Face ID” to enable this feature and be able to scan your face to unlock your phone. For Touch ID, choose “Add a Fingerprint” instead, and you’ll be able to scan your finger to unlock your phone. These features are convenient and add security to your phone. While these settings are optional, they can significantly help improve your iPhone’s security.
Tips for Setting Your iPhone’s Passcode
If you’re unsure about how to create an effective iPhone password, here are some tips to keep in mind when setting your passcode:
- Avoid simple words and common numbers: Dictionary words and common strings of numbers may be easy to remember, but they’re easily hackable, too. For example, using “123456789” or “password” as your password isn’t secure.
- Use a combination of available characters: Instead of simple words and common strings of numbers, use a combination of the available characters in an alphanumeric password. Using a variety of letters, numbers and symbols will help make it more difficult to guess your password.
- Create a random passphrase. Long passwords are effective, though random numbers and letters are difficult to remember. Try creating a passphrase instead. Combine a few random words and relate them to each other so it makes sense to you. For example, you could use “tunaeggmacaroni” as your password and think to yourself, “they’re all salads” to help yourself remember it.
- Change your password often. Changing your password frequently helps keep unwanted hackers from getting into your phone. Use a variety of characters each time and use different formats to avoid being predictable.
Learn More iPhone Tips and Tricks from Gazelle
As technology becomes more advanced, your passwords should become more secure. Change your password and use these tips to help ensure the information on your iPhone stays private. There are a number of ways to adjust your iPhone’s settings for your own use — it’s just a matter of knowing how. For more iPhone tips and tricks, check out our blog at Gazelle.