How to Password Lock Notes on iPhone & iPad

Apr 5, 2016 - 18 Comments

Password lock Notes on iPhone and iPad

The latest versions of the Notes app for iOS allow users to password protect particular notes within the app, making it an excellent place to store personal information and private snippets that you’d like to keep away from prying eyes. In addition to password protection, Notes in iOS also allows users to lock and unlock notes with Touch ID as well, so if the iPhone or iPad supports that feature you’ll be able to use a quick unlock access method too.

We’ll run through how to lock notes in iOS, as well as how to unlock and access the note(s) after they have been locked. Notes app supports locking with any version of iOS after 9.0, earlier releases do not have this feature. By no means is this a substitution for using a passcode to lock the iOS device, instead it should be looked at as an additional layer of security to protect extra sensitive data contained on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

How to Lock Notes with Password Protection in iOS

This demonstrates how to apply password lock protection on any note within the Notes app on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  1. Open the Notes app in iOS if you haven’t done so already
  2. Tap on the sharing icon in the upper right corner of the note, it looks like a little box with an arrow flying out of it
  3. Tap the sharing icon to start locking a note

  4. In the action menu, find and tap on “Lock Note”
  5. Choose Lock Note in iOS SHaring

  6. Fill out the password and hint that you want to use as the note lock, and optionally but recommended keep “Use Touch ID” enabled” and then tap ‘Done’ *
  7. Fill out password to lock notes with

  8. The note will verify that it has been locked with a “Lock Added” message, you can now lock the note by tapping on the lock icon at the top of the note, or by locking the screen of the device as you would normally
  9. Note has been locked successfully

Once the Notes app has been closed, the device screen has been locked, or the notes have been deliberately locked, any locked notes will remain locked until the proper password has been entered or Touch ID has been used to unlock the protected note(s). And yes, this works to lock any notes at all, whether they’re a standard text note, a drawing or sketch made in Notes app, a checklist, a collection of pictures contained in a note, or whatever else you have kept in the note(s) you want to lock down.

* Be aware that the set password will lock and unlock any of the notes locked within Notes app, each note does not have a separate password. This applies to Touch ID as well.

Unlocking Password Protected Notes in iOS

Want to access and view the contents of a locked note in iOS? Here’s what you’ll want to do:

  1. Open the Notes app and tap on the note that is locked
  2. At the “This note is locked” screen, choose “View Note”
  3. View a locked note

  4. Enter the password for the note to view the contents, or use Touch ID (if applicable)
  5. Use Touch ID or enter a password to view the note

Once you’re finished viewing or editing the note, you can lock it again as usual. You can also remove a lock permanently from a note by returning to the Sharing section, and tapping on “Remove Lock”

A locked note in iOS

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that for iPhone and iPad users that have a Mac as well, as long as the computer is updated to the latest version of OS X and using the same Apple ID, then the locked iCloud notes will be accessible from both devices. You can learn more about password protected Notes in Mac OS X here.


Related articles:

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


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  1. R says:

    1) can notes be locked completely without having to lock an individual note? 2) csn folders be locked ? 3) pictures stored in notes disappear, at times an icon is there to show it existed at times they just don’t show up? 4) how to copy notes on a non Mac laptop ?

  2. Don says:

    I’m on iPhone 8 and use notes everyday. Some time in past I locked one of my notes. Now I don’t remember password and hint is useless.
    How am I going to open the note now?

  3. Sarah says:

    I upgraded my iPhone from a 6S to an XR. On the 6S my note was locked using Touch ID. The XR only has face recognition, when I try to unlock a note it only asks for a password, which I don’t recall giving it one.

    • Desarae says:

      I am in the exact same position (moved from 7S to XR) and now I have no idea how to unlock this note that I need very badly as I’ve always used touchID to open it. I tried resetting it but it only works for all new notes. Does anyone have a way to open an old note that transferred from an old phone without having the old password?

  4. Rose says:

    So I recently bought myself a new phone and synced all my notes from my iCloud on to it. All my notes from my iCloud were locked and now to open them, I have to enter the password, that was set on my old phone, of which I can’t seem to remember. Can anything be done for me to regain access to my iCloud notes? Resetting the password for notes does nothing really as the password was set on my old phone.

  5. Kym says:

    I recently backed up and reset my phone (at my bank’s request). All of my notes were restored except my locked notes… What happened and how do I prevent this in future?

  6. Pat says:

    Nice feature, as is the pretty colored drawing. Unfortunately, both features only work if storing your notes on the device. Neither work if you have chosen to work in iCloud. Seems like this is something Apple can improve upon.

    • Toby says:

      iCloud Notes support password protection, you must have upgraded the Notes to iCloud Notes though. There is usually a little message when you launch Notes to ask you about this, Jony Ive knows how to trigger it aside from that.

  7. YW says:

    I also don’t have the lock option on my iPhone notes, have updated to the newest downloadable version 9.3.1

  8. R.Bellamy says:

    I would have thougth (dire wolf) would have interjected in his maniac rant by now . Maybe he has took a couple of asprins and gone for a lie down Watch the blood pressure.

  9. Kua says:

    Great tip!…now if I want to change the notes password how can I do it?
    Thank you

  10. Rec says:

    Lock only works on ‘Notes on my iPhone’. If the Notes are not stored on the iPhone, you don’t get the lock option. I have just one note on my phone, I get the option to lock that. The rest, that are stored on gmail servers (or wherever it’s stored) I don’t get the Lock option for.

    The above is for those saying that they aren’t getting the lock option.

  11. Vyrdal says:

    No lock on my iPhone notes. iOS 9.3.1.

  12. Anne Bennett says:

    No lock on my iPad notes. iOS 9.3.1.

    • Alan says:

      Same here. How do we update Notes to the latest version? I can’t find it anywhere on the Apps store or any update facility within Notes.

  13. Gion says:

    Hm. Would be nice to do that. Unfortunately my note does not show the lock option. What IOS and note version is needed to do this ?

  14. David says:

    How about using Touch ID to lock Contacts, where so much personal and sensitive information is contained?

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