Num pad with secure passcode

While many of us know about and use the simple four digit passcode or more complex alphanumeric passcode to secure the data on our iOS devices, I recently discovered an interesting option built right into the system that I find to be more secure than a simple passcode and more convenient than an alphanumeric passcode.

As mentioned in a recent episode of the Mac Power Users podcast, you can make your passcode more complex without complicating it by using more than 4 digits without involving letters and still using the num pad.

While a simple passcode is a 4 digit number, turning off simple passcode and setting up a complex passcode using on numbers allows you to benefit from the ease of use of the lockscreen numpad while having more security than a simple 4 digit passcode.

Setting this up is almost exactly like setting up the default passcode. Simply navigate to Settings > General > Passcode Lock, then be sure to set the Simple Passcode switch to OFF. Now tap Turn Passcode On and your keyboard will appear with letters, but choose the numeric view and enter the multi numeric passcode of your choice.

You will need to verify your passcode, then depending on how soon you have your device set to require passcode entry, it should immediately be activated.

You could even opt to use more digits (or as few as a single digit for more added convenience), but personally I find 6 digits to be the secure sweet spot.

While 4 digit passcodes are plenty secure and certainly more secure than no passcode, using the complex passcode option leaves intruders clueless as to how many digits to even guess adding an extra layer of security without having to fiddle with the alphabetical keyboard.

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15 Responses to “How-to: Strengthen your iOS device’s security with a multi-numeric passcode”

  1. Interestingly, if you put a 4 digit numeric passcode in in the non-simple passcode mechanism, it helpfully switches simple passcode back on for you.

  2. Except now you have to push “OK” every time you unlock your phone…

  3. solomondj says:

    I’ve been using this feature in this article for a very long time ago now. Probably a year or more. I’m just wondering why it’s news now. Personally, I never had time to share on this blog or sites, but I just signed yup for WordPress for this comment and I’m always reachable.

    • Zac Hall says:

      Hey thanks for the comment. It’s something I learned recently and found useful and interesting. Sharing not as news but as a useful tip. If you have anything you find useful feel free to share at tips@9to5mac.com anytime!

      • solomondj says:

        Will do. It just wowed me as I have loved using 8 or 12 digits codes on my phone. Thx for the feedback and I will surely save it in my contacts under tips for iPhone/iPad use.