For most people, their iPhone contains all sorts of important data. It contains precious photos, videos, SMS messages, emails, browser history and for some, it contains bank or credit card information. The introduction of Passbook also allows for using your iPhone to make payments. Suffice to say that, in the hands of less than honest people, an iPhone that is not password protected could be incredibly detrimental to the owner. Today we’ll walk you through the process of how to set a passcode on iPhone, along with other tips for keeping your iPhone secure.

set passcode on iPhone

1. On your iPhone, navigate to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode.
2. Scroll down and select ‘Turn Passcode On’.

Enable passcode

3. You’ll be prompted to enter a four digit numerical code.

Set passcode
4. Enter your code and re-enter the passcode to confirm.

At this point, the initial setup of your passcode is complete, but there are a number of configuration settings that you might want to explore.

Advanced vs Simple Passcode
By default, Apple allows you to set a 4-digit numerical passcode, which they call a Simple Passcode. If you are looking for a more advanced and secure option, follow these directions:

  1. Toggle the Simple Passcode option to Off.
  2. Enter your existing passcode
  3. You now have the option of using the full keyboard for your password
  4. Enter your new passcode and then re-enter to confirm

Advanced passcode

You can change the time settings for when you require a passcode. For example, by default it is set to Immediately. This means, every time that your iPhone turned off/standby, a passcode is required to unlock it. You can change these settings to:

  • After 1 minute
  • After 5 minutes
  • After 15 minutes
  • After 1 hour
  • After 4 hours

Obviously, the shorter the timeframe, the more secure your iPhone will be should it fall into the wrong hands.

Important: On recent iPhones and iPads that include a fingerprint scanner, Apple has included Touch ID. This allows users to unlock their phones using nothing more than their fingerprint. If you have Touch ID enabled, you cannot change the default time settings to require a passcode. Each time your iPhone is in sleep mode, you must use one of the two security options to unlock it.

With more information and features becoming available in the lockscreen, Apple’s iOS allows for you to enable those features without having to enter a passcode. Navigate to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. Scroll down and you’ll see options to All Access When Locked. You can make changes to what can be accessed when the iPhone is locked. The options include:

  • Today
  • Notifications View
  • Siri
  • Passbook
  • Reply with Message

By toggling any of these to off, it would require the iPhone be unlocked in order to access that particular feature.

Access while locked

Other features which can be disabled include Passcode. The convenience of using Passcode is somewhat diminished if you have to disable it. Since a number of Passbook apps are tied to your credit card, I’m looking at you Starbucks, one might take a pass on convenience for a more secure phone. The other option that can be turned off is ‘Reply with Message’.

The final option allows you to set an option to erase all data on your iPhone if someone makes 10 failed passcode attempts. I’d caution those with kids about enable this option, as they could easily trip this feature.

Failed passcode attempt

The amount of personal information we carry on our phones is staggering. Photos, videos, emails and even ways to make payments for products. If you lose your iPhone, it’s relatively easy to restore using an iCloud backup. Using Find Your iPhone and lost mode could help you recover or at minimum, delete your data. Some people by nature are good folks and will do the right thing, often looking for a way to return your phone. In the event your iPhone falls in the hands of thieves, the chances of getting it returned are lower. If you have a passcode lock setup, you will at a minimum, feel a level of comfort knowing that your data is still secure.