iPhone 101: How to Passcode Lock Your iPhone

Welcome to iPhone 101, the best place for those of you who are new to the iPhone to learn the basics.

We all worry about misplacing our precious phones or, worse yet, having them stolen. Some may even worry about snoopers trying to read our private info when we're not looking. In case one of these things happen, you should really consider protecting all of your personal data on the device. TiPb has got you covered, to see how to passcode lock your iPhone read on after the break!

From the homescreen, tap the Settings icon. From there you will want to press the General tab.

Once you are within the general settings tab you will see Passcode Lock is set to off.

Now tap Passcode Lock and you will be prompted to enter a four digit passcode.

After entering your four digit code you will now see the following options.

  • Require Passcode: allows you to select a time period that has to pass before the lock is enabled. If you don't want to have to enter your code too frequently but still want some protection, you can set this to 15 minutes or even 1 hour or more.

  • Show SMS Preview: on by default, this shows incoming text messages on your homescreen. Turning this feature to off will only display "New Text Message" on the home screen, which can keep the identity of your texter safe from snooping eyes if that's a concern.

  • Erase Data: simply erases all data on your iPhone after 10 failed passcode attempts. This is the nuclear option, but if you're really worried about losing your iPhone and have really important data on it, it can be something to consider.

Once you have configured your settings as you see fit, tap your home button to exit and that's all there is to it. You have successfully passcode locked your iPhone. It's as simple as that.


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There are 44 comments. Add yours.

Zach says:

This lock is OK but (as an iPhone junkie) I'm totally jealous of my brothers lock option on his Google G1 (android) that combines the swipe with a "security" code in one motion. Totally cool. They stole "borrowed" enough ideas from Apple, can we "borrow" this one from them?

Steve says:

I didn't use this for the longest time because I always thought it would be too inconvenient. But it really is slick to have the timer set (15 minutes for me). I rarely ever have to enter my passcode... but if I lose my phone, I'm protected. It's definitely worth the one extra second of time it takes for the piece of mind.

Danny R says:

My problem is that if a set my passcode, I am obligated to have the passlock on, I want to be able to set it, so that no one can change it. Currently if I don't have it enabled anyone can come and set their lock on my phone.

Fredraniya Berry says:

go yo setting then go to general and scroll down and go to passcode

critical says:

Lame... just lame.
I'm unbookmarking you guys... kindergarten, not 101...

Janice says:

Ok - I have a problem... I have forgotten my passcode ? I set it to quickly and now I can not get in my phone. Help????

Kristi says:

Passcode lock won't turn off on 3g iPhone even when I change it. I go back out and still on.

Priyan says:

How did u manage to unlock the phone when you forgot your passcode? Please please help

judy says:

I just got my iphone yesterday. I set the passcode lock, entered my four digit pin and a call came through. I didnt think it took, (not used to it!) then a few minutes later I went to use it and it was locked. Oddly enough the four digits I had used did NOT unlock the darn thing. Does anyone know if this happens often? I know I entered them the same. I'm locked out for 60 minutes now. Thanks

Raed1235 says:

This works, but how to lock the phone without having to wait for the time until it get locked automatically. In another word, if I want to lock it now without having to wait for the one or 10 minute? i could not see an option for this..Thanks

connie says:

I have set the passcode lock, but does it really able to block my data if it is stolen. I understand from my subscriber that it is still not of any use as the thief can just change a sim card and still access to my data. is it true ?

Chris says:

With that 10 failed attempt erase thing, is it 10 in a row? Or like try it three times, shut it off, try it again 9 times, shut it off, try again 5, etc? Or 10 total no matter what?

norm says:

I know the procedure to set pass lock but it does not work. I cannot get it from "off" to back to "on"

Brian says:

I have a problem, I reset my passcode and totally forgot what it was, after the ten failed attempt thing it totally won't do anything but display the apple logo, does this wipe the OS out with all your data in it and how do I reset this , please someone help

Jerome says:

I set the passcode to go off at 1 minute but after one minute of using, it doesn't seem to turn up! I can lock and unlock without the password coming up. Why? Btw, I am on firmware 3.0

scott says:

i have a new 3G and set my passcode, but now I want to turn off the passcode lock feature and there is no icon for "passcode off" under the passcode lock page, it should be above the "change passcode" icon by pictures i have seen

fetcom says:

I have the same problem with scott. There is no “passcode off" icon on passcode lock menu. Please help me to turn off the passcode lock I've already set.

kali says:

I have the same issue as Scott and fetcom. No button for "turn passcode off" I've tried syncing, re-installing the latest software, etc. I could really use help on this!

Schatzer says:

Same here, I have NO "turn passcode off" in my new 3G iphone settings and I have the latest software updates from iTunes. I have tried all re-configure possibilities and I need desperatly to not have to type in a passcode when I recieve a new e-mail.
Tried leaving a comment on http://www.apple.com/feedback

Jack keeth says:

I tried to answer an important call and some how locked the keypad. can anyone tell me how to unlock it?

electricbrains says:

Same problem: There is no passcode off button
Is it because of their marketing or windows large quantity of failures that we think apple doesn't make mistakes

Ryan says:

Apple should make an optinion that could make the lock have more numbers. I don't think four is enough.

Nidal says:

You just shut up with your comments

Casey says:

To turn the pass code off go back to SETTINGS select GENERAL select PASSCODE LOCK ON enter your code, from here you can turn the pass code on or off as well as change the code

Bill says:

Thanks for the info about the Iphone passcode. So simple but I passed over it several times. Thanks again.

Naser says:

just shut up billy the goat

spotnick says:

Casey, tried that , but no option to turn PASSCODE LOCK OFF

Rob says:

I have the same problem with my new 3GS. The submenu for Passcode lock does not have a button to turn passcode lock off.

Maki says:

My problem is that I cannot see the "Passcode Lock" and "Restriction" feature on my iphone. Anyone has heard of this?

iPhone Guru says:

Hey, Ryan, I just figured out how to do this!!! What you do is go to http://www.apple.com/support/iphone/enterprise/ then download the utility. Launch the utility, then plug in your iDevice and make sure your photo program and iTunes are closed. Then create a new configuration file. Name it PasswordPro or something like that. Select the configuration profile and under general their will be a text feild labeled discription or something like that. Label that Password. Then go under passwords. Select the default duration to anything other that 4. Go to your device in the program. Unlock your iPod or iPhone. MAKE SURE YOUR UNLOCKED AND IN THE HOME SCREEN. Now select the profile (under one of the tabs in the device list thing) and click install. A window will pop up. Click allow or install on your Idevice. Your good to go as the rest is self explainitory.
Hoped that helped. Email me at webmasterjab @ gmail . com if you wish to contact me or require more instructions (writing my email this way stops spam bots)

Emilio says:

For those who don't see a "Turn Passcode Lock Off" choice, it may be that you have an MS Exchange mail account feeding to your iPhone. Apparently that causes the "Off" function to disappear. Found it here: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1685880

mili says:

my iphone dosen have pass loc in setings what is the meater can sombady help wat to do how to get it back

brentvw says:

I would just like to say that this can be dangerous. My iPhone 3GS slipped out of my pocket in a Vegas cab at 2AM. The passenger that found it called my recents and left it at the Mandalay bay where i picked it up at 4am. About 6 months later it fell out in a parking lot while I was in the store. Someone picked it up and called my recents who was with me at the time and said I'm outside in the parking lot with your iphone.
Think about this next time you lock your phone. Had I been a locker I would be out $1,200 right now.

Mel Talat says:

Wassup cheers for this cool entry. It sure was really heart felt.

Sara says:

When you say that all data will be erased after 10 attemptes, what does that accually mean. Does it only include messages and notes or does it include music that you have bought from iTunes from the iPhone.

Dana says:

Go to settings turn Notifications Off then you will be able to turn passcode lock off.

sfwrtr says:

Time to update this intro. The panel has changed.

Reza says:

How can i connect to Itunes. I do not have passcode.

Kenny says:

If the phone is locked and you would like to allow someone to use your phone to make a call, you have to unlock it. How do you lock the phone while the call is still active? (first generation iPhone)

Reed says:

If you lock your iphone with mobileme....If someone makes a call to your iphone and the person who stole it answers it, can they get into your phone?

Dvdgamer says:

My 3gs only shows 15 minutes as max. Was this changed? Wanted to set it to 1 hour.

Dave says:

I forgot the passcode to use my phone. My son was playing with and does not now what he hit. Do I have to reinstall the software to unlock it? That seems crazy.

apple guru says:

i am the worst person i in the world -

Stephanie says:

This comes in handy! I love it! My mom goes through my phone but she can't anymore! Thanks iPhone! LOL