How to Switch to Four-Digit Passcode on iPhone & iPad
Want to use a shorter 4 digit passcode on your iPhone or iPad again? You can do that, though it’s important to remember that shorter passcodes are not as secure.
If you’re a long-time iPhone or iPad user, you probably remember the old days when you were able to use four-digit passcodes. Although Apple defaults users to six-digit passcodes now, you can still switch to a four-digit passcode if you prefer to.
As you may recall, the default passcode required to unlock iPhones and iPad used to be four-digit numeric codes. However, with the addition of Touch ID and Face ID enabled devices that makes unlocking faster and more convenient, Apple has moved to a more secure six-digit passcode. This doesn’t mean you cannot use four-digit passcodes anymore since it’s still available as an option in settings. So if you’re having a harder time remembering the six digit passcodes, want to use a simple passcode for a kids device, or just find it more cumbersome to use a lengthy passcode, and you understand the relative security and privacy risks of using simpler passcodes, you can use this as an option and switch back to a four-digit passcode on your iPhone and iPad.
How to Use a Four Digit Simple Passcode on iPhone & iPad
Using a four-digit passcode on your iOS / iPadOS device is not as hard as you may think. In fact, it’s as simple as changing the passcode itself. Here’s how:
- Head over to “Settings” from the home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
- In the settings menu, scroll down and tap on “Face ID & Passcode” or “Touch ID & Passcode” depending on the device you use. You’ll be asked to enter your passcode before you’re able to proceed to the next step.
- Here, scroll down and tap on “Change Passcode” to use a new passcode.
- Next, you’ll be prompted to enter your current passcode.
- Now, you’ll be able to enter a new passcode. Instead of using a new six-digit passcode, tap on “Passcode Options” to continue.
- Next, make sure you choose “4-digit Numeric Code”.
- Now, you’ll be able to enter a new four-digit passcode of your choice.
That’s it. You’ve successfully managed to switch to a four-digit passcode on your iOS/iPadOS device.
Although a four-digit passcode is easier to type out, it’s far less secure than a six-digit passcode. Since there are only 10000 possible combinations with a four-digit passcode, it’s easier to guess or crack by brute force. In comparison, a six-digit passcode has 1 million possible combinations. And of course, the alphanumeric and longer complex passcodes are even more difficult to guess or crack, and thus more secure.
Typically, you’re using Touch ID or Face ID to unlock your device. You’ll only be asked to enter your passcode if you’ve accessed SOS, restarted your device, or if the biometric authentication fails. However, since many people are wearing masks nowadays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, passcode unlock has become common again among iPhone users (for what it’s worth, you can try this trick to use Face ID better while wearing a face mask.)
Likewise, you can also set an alphanumeric passcode on your iPhone or iPad for enhanced security.
If you use an Apple Watch as a companion device with your iPhone, you may have noticed that Apple still defaults users to a simple four-digit passcode for that device. However, there’s an option available in settings to use a more complicated passcode for the users who need it.
Are you thinking of using a four-digit passcode on your iPhone and iPad? Is this a temporary measure, or something you prefer, or are you switching to a four digit passcode for another reason? Share with us your thoughts, tips, experiences, and advice in the comments.
Isn’t the 4-digit passcode vs. 6-digit passcode discussion made somewhat academic by the Apple’s practice of locking the phone after the failure of 10 passcode attempts?