Your iPhone passcode is the only thing that stands between you and your personal information. Here’s how to make it even better and more secure.
When you enable a passcode on your iPhone, you’re essentially putting your device on lockdown so that only you can access the information that’s stored on it. By default, you can set a four-digit numeric passcode, which is pretty secure for the most part, but it’s not the most secure option.
All it takes is a little bit of luck for someone to guess your iPhone passcode, especially if you have an easy passcode set up. Plus, any brute force attack could guess your passcode in a matter of minutes if it came down to that.
Instead of just using a four-digit passcode, you can make your iPhone passcode even more secure by entering more than four digits and even include letters.
We’ll show you how to enable this feature on your iPhone in iOS 9, as well as provide you with some tips on how to create a more secure passcode in the first place.
Enabling Your iPhone’s Complex Passcode Feature
If you want to be able to enter in a more-secure passcode than just a four-digit numeric selection, follow these simple steps to make it happen:
- Open the Settings app and select Touch ID & Passcode. If your iOS device doesn’t have Touch ID, it will just be Passcode.
- Tap on Change Passcode, and then enter in your current passcode.
From there, you’ll now be able to change your passcode and it will automatically default to a six-digit passcode, but you can tap on Passcode Options for other types of passcodes you can have. You can go back to a four-digit passcode or create a custom-length passcode with numbers and/or letters.
You’ll enter in your new passcode twice, and after the second time, your new passcode will immediately be applied and finalized.
Now, whenever you go to enter in your passcode, you’ll enter in your new complex passcode that’s much harder for others to guess. Plus, any brute force attack would take considerably longer. Of course, because of the iOS waiting period between attempts after three incorrect tries, brute force attacks are unlikely, but still, consider this:
- Four-digit passcode = 10,000 possible combinations
- Six-digit passcode = 1,000,000 possible combinations (a drastic increase by just adding two more numbers)
Using an alphanumeric passcode increases the possible combinations drastically. Since there are 204 characters available on the iPhone keyboard, even just a simple four-digit alphanumeric passcode would result in over 1.7 billion possible combinations.
Creating a Better Passcode
Again, the reason for having a passcode enabled on your iPhone is so that unauthorized users can’t get access to it. Enabling a passcode and setting one up is the first step, but you also need to make the passcode secure and difficult to guess.
You have a simple four-digit passcode set up, you want to make sure that it’s at least hard to guess, which means that it shouldn’t be 0000 or 1234, but rather something more random, like 4937 or 0928. Better yet, tie your passcode into something that’s memorable to you, like a birthday, your lucky numbers, or a pattern that you can easily remember.
If you have a complex passcode enabled, treat it as a regular password for your online accounts. Hopefully your email password is somewhat complex and not something simple like password, but rather CoolGuyPaul4395. Use this same complexity with your complex passcode on your iPhone.
Is a Complex Passcode Necessary?
While creating a complex passcode on your iPhone can increase the security of it, is it really necessary to do so?
It’s probably not entirely necessary, but now that Touch ID is becoming more ubiquitous, there’s no reason not to create a complex passcode, especially if you use Touch ID most of the time. That added complexity shouldn’t even matter.
Plus, if you can up the difficulty of someone else guessing your passcode, that’s something that you would likely be in favor of. If anything, just bump it up to a simple six-digit numeric passcode, since that will be way more secure than a four-digit passcode by far.