How to use the Lock screen on iPhone or iPad: The ultimate guide

How to use the Lock screen on iPhone or iPad: The ultimate guide

The Lock screen exists in between states, when your iPhone or iPad is no longer asleep, but is also not yet open and fully functional. It can protect your device from unauthorized access and actions by a simple slide-to-unlock gesture, by a 4 number pin-code, by a strong alpha-numeric password, or Apple's Touch ID fingerprint identity scanner. Yet the Lock screen can be functional as well. If you want to, you can access Notification Center and Control Center, the Camera, and Siri. On the iPhone, you can even make emergency calls. Yes, the Lock screen can be secure or it can be convenient, it's entirely up to you!

How to change the Lock screen wallpaper to customize your iPhone or iPad

How to change the wallpaper on your iPhone or iPad

One of the ways to make your iPhone or iPad your own is to set a different or unique wallpaper for your Lock screen, your Home screen, or both. As long as the photo is roughly the right resolution and aspect ratio, it should look great. You can change your wallpaper in either the Settings app or the Photos app.

How to change the auto-lock time on your iPhone or iPad

How to change the auto-lock time on your iPhone or iPad

The auto-lock feature on the iPhone and iPad lets you control how long you want the screen to stay on when the device isn't being used. The shorter the amount of time you set it for, the faster the screen will go off due to inactivity. A shorter auto-lock time will make your iPhone or iPad prompt for a passcode faster, which results in better security. Not to mention battery life can improve since the screen isn't on as often. Follow along and we'll show you how to edit your auto-lock settings.

How to secure your iPhone or iPad Lock screen with a passcode, password, or Touch ID

How to secure your iPhone or iPad with a strong alphanumeric password

Protecting your iPhone with a 4-digit passcode, long, strong alphanumeric password, and Touch ID, if available, makes it much, much more difficult for anyone to access your device and do things with it — like steal your data — without your permission. Passcodes provide enough protection for most people, most of the time. Long alphanumeric passwords provide stronger protection if you need it. Touch ID, if you have it, makes it quicker and faster to access your device without having to use the passcode or password.

How to quickly access your iPhone camera from the Lock screen

How to quickly access your iPhone camera from the Lock screen

The iPhone's iSight takes great photos under a wide range of conditions, but you still need to have it in your hands, ready to shoot, whenever the need arises. Sometimes that's when you least expect it. Sometimes that's when you see something spectacular or your child does something amazing. It's not planned, it's not posed, but it's still incredibly important to you. That's where quick camera access comes in. Apple knows you may need to get to the Camera app in a flash, and they've built in a great way to get right to it!

How to access and use Notification Center from the Lock screen on your iPhone or iPad

How to use Notification Center for iPhone and iPad

Notification Center collects and organizes all your alerts, all in one place, including on the Lock screen. Whether they're in Notification Center proper, or a banner or a popup, whether they beep or buzz, Notification Center does all it can to make sure you get all the alerts you need. And if you prefer not to risk having anyone else access your notifications from the Lock screen, you can easily turn it off.

How to access and use Control Center from the Lock screen on iPhone or iPad

How to access and start using iOS 7 Control Center

Control Center can be called up right from the Lock screen. Once activated, Control Center gives you instant control over radios like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and lets you toggle Airplane mode and orientation lock. There are also media controls for your audio and volume, brightness controls, and a way to quickly launch everything from the camera to the calculator. Of course, if you don't want anyone accessing apps, toggling settings — or putting your device into Airplane mode! — from the Lock screen, you can easily disable Control Center.

How to access and use Siri on the Lock screen of your iPhone or iPad

How to set up, configure, secure, and start using Siri

Siri is Apple's virtual, personal, digital assistant with a personality straight out of a Pixar film. With Siri, your iPhone or iPad can help you do all sorts of amazing things, from keeping in contact, to keeping on time, to keeping informed. And you can access all of it right from your Lock screen! If you don't want anyone having access to Siri from your Lock screen, you can also turn that off.

How to get more help with Lock screen and iOS

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

How to use the Lock screen on iPhone or iPad: The ultimate guide


With Extensibility in iOS 8, you could have a Notification Center widget that you pull down to see reminders/notes on the Lock screen.

An app could also make a Lock screen notification that pops up at the right time/place.

About notifications and banners: since iOS 7 with the zoom in/out option, when you enter/close apps, the notification banners are nullified when doing this! Why?! I've missed MANY notifications because of this! Is this applied to the zoom in/out effect? I bet you have noticed that at the right second you open an app (tap it) or closing app (pressing the Home button) you see a banner comes down BUT the banner notifications pulls app instantly! And at the "very second" you accidentally nullify this banner completely and you don't see NOR hear it at all! F*cking annoying! Haven't you noticed this? The banner should be permanent UNTIL it's either goes automatically like usual OR you pull it away manually..

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