Lock screen: The ultimate guide

Because Lock screen is the first screen you land on when you boot up or wake up, it serves as both assistant and gatekeeper — it keeps you informed and up-to-date at a glance, and keeps your iPhone and iPad secure against unauthorized access. That means there's a lot of functionality you can get to quickly, but also a lot of privacy options you can toggle to make sure what's available is only what you want to have available.

How to navigate the Lock screen on iPhone and iPad

Apple has re-invented the Lock screen, changing everything from the way you unlock your iPhone or iPad, to the way you glance at your info or quickly take control. It's simple, once you get the hang of it. You just need to familiarize yourself with where everything lives in this brave new Lock screen world!

How to customize the Lock screen on iPhone and iPad

Lock screen serves two contradictory purposes: It provides fast, convenient access to a ton of features like the camera, Siri, Control Center, and more, and it also prevents unauthorized access to the private contents of your iPhone or iPad. You can absolutely swap your wallpaper to make it your own, but you can also disable many of the conveniences if you'd prefer your Lock screen to be on lockdown.

How to set up and use a passcode on iPhone and iPad

Setting a passcode means anyone picking up your iPhone or iPad has to enter a series of numbers — or, optionally, a full-on password — to unlock it. It also enables hardware-level encryption for all your data. That means it's incredibly hard for anyone who doesn't have the passcode to get at your private messages, photos, financial and health information, etc. Because Touch ID, Apple's fingerprint identity sensor, makes it so you don't have to enter your passcode very often, you should set a passcode, and set as strong a passcode as you feel comfortable with.

How to set up and use Touch ID on iPhone and iPad

Touch ID made the Home button smart. Instead of a simple mechanical switch, Touch ID lets the Home button identify who you are. That way, your iPhone or iPad know to unlock, to authorize iTunes, App Store, and Apple Pay purchases, to give you access to your password and banking apps, and more. And they know to keep other people out. Don't think of it as a security system — a strong alphanumeric password is still best for security — but think of it as a convenience. With Touch ID, you can stay relatively safe, but still make it quicker and easier than entering your passcode when you need to get into your iPhone or iPad.

Note: Touch ID works on iPhone 5s or later and iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 or later.

Any Lock screen questions?

If you have any trouble with the Lock screen, or you need more help, drop your questions in the comments below!

Originally published September 2012. Updated for iOS 10 September 2015. Last updated November 2015.