Although Apple has numerous protections in place to keep 6-digit — and even old-style 4-digit — passcodes safe, including time delays and optional erasure, typing in a short series of numbers remains more about convenience than it does security. While not easy, the ability to shoulder surf or brute-force — watch while you're typing or find a way to try every alternative — passcodes remains easier than long, strong, passwords. So, if absolute security is what you're after, this is what you'll want to switch to.
How to protect your iPhone with a long, strong alphanumeric password
Before you begin, figure out the long, strong alphanumeric password you want to use. If you need help choosing one, check out this article from AgileBits and Steve Gibson's page on password haystacks:
The password should be long enough that it's extremely difficult to crack with current technology, but not so long that you can't remember it or enter it accurately when you need to.
- Launch Settings.
- Tap Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode).
- Enter your existing 4-digit or 6-digit passcode, if you have one.
- Tap Change Passcode
- Re-enter your existing passcode if you have one.
- Tap Passcode Options.
Tap Custom Alphanumeric Code.
- Enter your new long, strong alphanumeric password.
- Re-enter your new long, strong alphanumeric password.
I've used as short as eight characters (letters, numbers, and symbols mixed), as many as twenty, but often somewhere in between.
If you're going anywhere you suspect might be risky, you can also temporarily deactivate Touch ID for unlock, which will force password entry to access your iPhone or iPad. That way no one can try to touch your finger to the Home button either while you're sleeping or otherwise immobilized.
Again, less convenient but more secure. Most people will, hopefully, won't have cause to worry about all these options but everyone should take comfort in them being there.
What are you using to secure your iPhone or iPad? Touch ID? Passcode? Password? Nothing at all? Let us know what you've chosen and why!
- How to use two-factor authentication
- How to protect your data from being hacked
- How to quickly temporarily disable Face ID
- Best practices for staying safe on social media
- Best VPN services
- How to lock down your data on iPhone and iPad
- Best ways to increase iPhone and iPad security
- How to back up your iPhone, iPad, and Mac
- Differential privacy — Everything you need to know!
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
Apple's 'High Desert' will star Patricia Arquette, directed by Ben Stiller
The new comedy series follows the story of Peggy, a former addict who decides to become a private investigator after her mother dies.
CEO of UK smartphone carrier EE tells employees a 5G iPhone is 'days away'
Marc Allera, CEO of EE, says that a 5G iPhone is "just days away" in a new video shared with the carrier's employees.
Czech girl tips off authorities to malicious apps on iOS and Android
Malicious apps on both iOS and Android reportedly clocked 2.4 million downloads and over $500,000 in revenue. The apps bombarded users with intrusive ads and even hid their icons to prevent users from uninstalling them.
These HomeKit cameras work with iOS14's Face Recognition and Activity Zones
iOS 14 brings some powerful new capabilities to HomeKit Secure Video-enabled cameras like Face Recognition and Activity Zones. Here's all of the cameras and doorbells that support the latest and greatest HomeKit features.