If a simple 4-digit passcode isn't secure enough for you, you can choose to protect your iPhone or iPad Lock screen with a longer, stronger alphanumeric password.

That greatly reduces the chances that anyone can guess or brute-force their way into your device and access your data without your permission. What's more, Apple makes it easy to set up.

How to protect your iPhone with a long, strong alphanumeric password

  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Tap Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode).
  3. Enter your existing 4-digit passcode if you have one.
  4. Scroll down and toggle Simple Passcode off.
  5. Re-enter your existing 4-digit passcode if you have one.
  6. Enter your new long, strong alphanumeric password.
  7. Re-enter your new long, strong alphanumeric password.

If you only use numbers, you'll still get the bigger, easier to use passcode entry interface. You'll just be able to enter more than 4 digits.

If you do go for full-on alphanumeric, and need help choosing a long, strong password, check out this article from AgileBits and Steve Gibson's page on password haystacks:

That's it! The next time you want to unlock your iPhone or iPad you'll have to enter that strong alphanumeric password and any time someone else tries to break in, that's what will hopefully stop them dead in their tracks.

What are you using to secure your iPhone or iPad? Touch ID? Passcode? Password? Nothing at all? Let me know what you've chosen and why!

Note: Originally published October 2011. Updated April 2014.