How to secure your iPhone or iPad with a 4-digit passcode

Leaving your iPhone or iPad might feel like a convenience, but if you ever leave it unattended, lose it, or have it stolen, it leaves you open to everything from pranks to having all your personal data exposed. By enabling a simple, easy-to enter 4-digit Lock screen passcode, you not only make it much, much harder for someone to get at your data, but you also make it much harder for them to do anything but user it as a paperweight if you ever lose it or have it stolen.

How to enable a passcode on your iPhone or iPad Lock screen

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode).
  3. Tap Turn Passcode On.
  4. Enter 4 digits to use as your passcode.
  5. Re-enter the same 4 digits to confirm your passcode.

You can choose to require passcode entry immediately, for maximum security, or after up to an hour, for increased convenience.

You can also choose to have 10 incorrect passcode entries trigger a data wipe. That means anyone who gets your iPhone or iPad and tries to brute-force their way through your passcode by entering different numbers over and over again, will be limited to 10 tries.

Note: Originally published March 2009. Updated April 2014.