How to Password Protect Pages, Keynote, & Numbers Documents on iPad & iPhone

May 12, 2014 - 1 Comment

Password Protect iWork Documents

The iWork suite of productivity apps include Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, and each of them allow users to password protect individual documents. In practice, this means that a document created within iWork in iOS, OS X, or iCloud, can be safely locked with built-in encryption, and the document can not be opened or viewed without entering the defined password on any other device. For example, you can set a password to a Pages document on your iPad or iPhone, then open it again on the Mac from iCloud or the native OS X app, and it will require a password, and of course this works the vice versa as well.

Here’s how to use this great feature on any platform offered by Apple, whether you’re using Pages, Numbers, or Keynote in iOS, iCloud, or on a Mac.

Set a Password for iWork Documents in Pages, Numbers, or Keynote for iOS

Every iWork app in iOS allows document-specific password protection, here’s how to use this security feature on the iPad or iPhone:

  1. Open the document you wish to password protect in either Pages, Numbers, or Keynote app
  2. Tap on the Wrench icon to access Settings
  3. iWork settings button in iOS

  4. Choose “Set Password”, entering the password and a hint to secure the document instantly
    1. The setting takes effect immediately, and if you close the document you’ll find that the preview gets replaced with a little lock icon indicating it has been password protected. This is the same in Pages app, Keynote, or Numbers.

      Trying to open the document now from any platform will require a password:

      Password required to open iWork Document

      This means that if you set a password from iOS, then email the document to yourself and try to open it from a Mac, that password will be required. Likewise, if you save the document from an iPhone or iPad into iCloud, accessing it from any other devices through iCloud will require the password too.

      Set a Password for an iWork Document from iCloud

      You can also lock documents with passwords from iCloud, this is basically the same as iOS:

      1. From iCloud.com, open the app you want to access and password protect the document from (Pages, Keynote, or Numbers)
      2. Choose the Wrench icon to access Settings and again choose “Set Password”
      3. Confirm the password and close the document to secure it

      Set Password on Pages document in iCloud

      Again, once the password has been set, that document will be protected on any device that tries to open the file from iCloud, whether it’s another Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or even another visit to the iCloud.com website.

      Password protected document

      While locking individual files can be beneficial, this is no replacement for having a broader password on your Apple devices. That means requiring a Mac password and a lock screen iOS pass code for your iPhone and iPad at the very least, though more advanced protection methods like firmware or FileVault passwords should be considered as well for Mac users who are particularly concerned about security, while iOS users can use complex passcodes and encrypt their backups through iTunes for added protection.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Security, Tips & Tricks

One Comment

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  1. Jason says:

    When you password protect a Microsoft Office file, it uses 256bit AES encryption. That’s a decent level of encryption that I would trust with a good password.

    What type of encryption does Apple choose to use?

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