You should use a strong passcode on your personal electronic devices.

That said, how many of us are using a simple passcode on our iPhones because it’s so convenient to enter a four-digit number? I know it’s tempting to simply use the year of your birth/graduation/wedding, but think about how easy that would be for a potential thief to guess.

According to my sources, the most common iOS passcodes are 1234, 0000, and 2580.

Changing to a complex passcode is very simple:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Passcode Lock (enter your existing passcode if prompted)
  4. Turn off “Simple Passcode” (enter your existing passcode if prompted)
  5. Enter a new, more complex* passcode.
  6. Scroll down and make sure “Erase Data” is selected.

But, can you have your cake and eat it too?  If you enter a new passcode that is all numbers, but longer than 4 digits, you will greatly increase the difficulty of cracking your passcode. When you attempt to unlock your phone, you will still be presented with the easy to use number pad:

passcode

How long is my passcode?  I’m not telling, and a potential thief will have no idea, either.

Combine this with the option to have your phone’s data erased if the passcode is guessed incorrectly 10 times, and you should be significantly safer than the standard four-digit passcode. Please don’t use your phone number or “1234567890.”

* Disclaimer: You really should use a complex, long passcode combining uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. However, for unlocking your phone, which is something most of us do a great many times per day, the simplicity of the four-digit passcode is very tempting if only for the ease of using the larger buttons provided. I present the option of an all digit passcode simply as an option to get people to increase the length of their passcode.

 

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