Join Nick Brazzi for an in-depth discussion in this video Enabling passcode and fingerprint locks, part of Learning iPhone and iPad Security (2015).
- In this movie, I wanna talk about passcodes and fingerprint locks on an iPhone or iPad. Passcodes are essential to get any level of security on a iOS device. I also wanna talk about the fingerprint lock feature that comes with some iPhones and iPads which is known as Touch ID. There's more information about both of these features in iOS 8: Essential Training. But first I wanna see what it looks like when I have a passcode lock on my phone and to do that I'm going to put the device to sleep and I'm gonna wake it up by hitting any of the buttons then I'll swipe on the screen and I have to type in my passcode to get into the device.
When I first set up this device, it prompted me to create a passcode which is a good thing. You may have skipped that step when you set up your device. But that's fine, we'll see how to set up a passcode in a minute. So, of course, to unlock my device, I'll type in my passcode. Now, I've got a very simple, basic passcode here. It's just one, two, three, four. But it's generally not a good idea to use a passcode that's so easy to guess. In fact, when I first set up this passcode, the iPhone warned me that this passcode is very easy to guess and it suggested that I not use it.
But since we're just using it for example purposes, I think it's fine for now. So, that's the passcode in action. Let's take a look at some of the settings. I'm gonna go into Settings on my device. Gonna scroll down a bit and I'm looking for the option for passcode. Now, on my device it says Touch ID & Passcode because I have the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on this device. But if you do not have the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, the option will simply say Passcode. So, I'm gonna go ahead and go into this.
Before I can make any changes to these settings I have to type in my passcode again here. So, I'll go ahead and do that and now we're in and we can make some changes. Now, this is where you would go to turn off your passcode or to change your passcode. This is also where you would go to set up a passcode if you don't already have that set up. And I recommend that you do because it is the most basic, essential security precaution that you can and should take. But how secure is it? With a passcode, we're really walking the line between security and convenience.
If you don't use a passcode, it's super easy to unlock your phone with just a swipe on the screen. But then anybody can pick up your phone and do whatever they want with it. A four digit code is more secure but it takes a little effort every time you unlock your phone. So, it's a little less convenient. Now, you can make things more convenient by adjusting some settings. So, for example, if I scroll down here a little bit there's this option that says Require Passcode Immediately. I'm gonna tap on that and I can change it to a different amount of time.
So, I'm gonna change it to one minute. So, what does that do? Well, now when I put my device to sleep and I wake it up and I swipe. I don't have to put in the passcode. But if I were to leave my device asleep for one minute or longer then I would need to type in the passcode. So, it's just a thing that will make it more convenient if you're gonna be checking your device constantly every few seconds. So, I'm gonna go back into my settings for a Touch ID and passcode.
I'll have to type in my passcode to get in and I'm gonna change that require passcode back to immediately. So, changing the require passcode time will make things more convenient. Now, here's something you can do to make things a little bit more secure although it would be less convenient. And that is to disable the simple passcode option. Now, the four digit passcode that we've been using is a simple passcode. So, if I turn this off and I'll need to confirm by typing in my current passcode, now I can type in a new password that can be any length.
It can be complex. It can include different characters, and numbers, and symbols. The idea is that a four digit code might be fairly easy for somebody to guess or to look over your shoulder and see when you type it in. But if instead you set up a longer, more complex password it's more secure but it will be a little more tedious every time you have to type it in. I'm just gonna cancel this. I think you have the idea. So, those are passcode options. Let's talk for a minute about Touch ID which is available on the newest iPhones and iPads.
Touch ID, which is the fingerprint sensor, is an extra layer on top of the passcode feature and this is where a lot of confusion comes in. So, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna set up the fingerprint sensor and all I need to do is scroll here and I'm gonna hit this option to add a fingerprint. Of course, this will not be here if you don't have a device that uses Touch ID. And now I'm just gonna have to scan my fingerprint. To do that, I'm just gonna touch the fingerprint sensor several times and let it scan my finger over and over again.
After the initial scan, it's gonna ask me to adjust my grip so that it can scan the edges of my fingerprint. So, I'll do that, I'll hit continue. And now I'll let it scan the edges just by placing the edges of my finger on the fingerprint sensor. And now I've completely scanned my finger and I'll hit continue. Now, here's the important part. Touch ID does not replace the passcode. It's simply an alternative to the passcode. I've heard people say that they don't like the idea of the fingerprint sensor because they don't wanna be locked out of the phone if the fingerprint sensor doesn't work for some reason.
But that's not the case. Once you've set up Touch ID you can put your device to sleep and when you wake it up you can just touch the fingerprint sensor and it will unlock. Or if you choose you can wake up the device, swipe, and type in your passcode. You see, you're not able to set up a fingerprint unless you already have a passcode or password lock enabled. So, once you set up Touch ID you can choose to scan your fingerprint or type in the passcode.
It's really a way to keep things secure but also maintain some convenience. So, the fingerprint sensor is much more convenient and it's safe to use but it's not necessarily more secure. Sure, nobody can use your fingerprint sensor without your actual finger but they could still unlock your device if they had the passcode. You should still make sure your passcode is unique and not easily guessed. So, with all this in mind, if you have Touch ID, there's a way to keep your iPhone or iPad very secure while still keeping some convenience.
And that is to turn off this simple passcode option then create a long, complex, difficult to guess password but still make sure it's something you'll remember. Then enable Touch ID. You'll have the option to type in your password when you need it but you'll usually unlock the device using just your fingerprint. Now, at this point, consider how secure you need your device to be and how convenient you want it to be to unlock your device.
Then, I suggest you configure your passcode and Touch ID settings accordingly.
- Protecting passwords
- Keeping iOS and apps up to date
- Enabling locks
- Locating and disabling a lost device
- Adjusting app privacy permissions
- Installing malware-free apps
- Erasing a device—or preventing it from being erased