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How to make a secure iPhone passcode that’s almost impossible to hack

Published Jan 30th, 2023 11:28AM EST
iPhone 14 Pro Lock Screen.
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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The iPhone offers strong end-to-end encryption for all your data, and that’s a great feature to have on the most important computer in your life. But that encryption is only as good as the PIN or password that protects your Lock Screen. Not using a password renders all that iPhone security useless.

Even if you have a password and combine it with Face ID or Touch ID, thieves and hackers who get their hands on your iPhone might attempt to hack it. Thieves will want to get into the phone and hopefully remove protections that prevent them from selling it. And of course, hackers will want your personal data.

That’s why a strong Lock Screen password is advisable, no matter if you’re on iPhone or Android. Since attackers can guess four-digit and six-digit passcodes with relative ease using the right equipment, there’s one more thing you can do to improve the security of your data. You can create a secure iPhone passcode that’s almost impossible to hack.

As GadgetHacks explains, a four-digit PIN number has only 10,000 possible combinations. Hackers might need only minutes to try all combinations possible with software. Most iPhones now suggest six-digit PINs, meaning hackers must go through up to a million combinations to guess it. And protections in iOS might make it impossible for them to brute-force their way into your iOS (or iPadOS) device.

But if you want to make it nearly impossible for hackers to break into your iPhone, you need an even stronger passcode. GadgetHacks notes that increasing the number of digits but using only numbers isn’t enough. Recent research says an 18-digit numeric iPhone password could still be cracked within three weeks.

You will need to combine numbers with symbols and letters to increase that theoretical timeframe significantly. An 11-character iPhone password featuring other symbols and letters would take up to 34 years to crack. Add one more character, and you’re looking at 3,000 years.

Finally, a 13-character password would take up to 200,000 years, according to the research. That assumes Apple’s brute force protections are bypassed.

https://bgr.com/tech/apples-ar-vr-headset-will-reportedly-let-users-create-apps-via-siri/
How to change the iPhone password in iOS 16. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

Switching to an alphanumeric password on iPhone is incredibly easy, and anyone can do it. Just head over to the Settings app, tap the Face ID & Passcode menu, enter your passcode and choose Change Passcode.

After you verify your old passcode again, the iPhone will invite you to enter a new six-digit code. But don’t do it. Tap on the Passcode Options menu button above the keyboard and then go for Custom Alphanumeric Code.

This is the option that will give you access to the entire keyboard. You can combine letters with numbers and symbols. And uppercase and lowercase letters are also available.

Now enter your new iPhone password. You can make it as long as unique as you want. just remember to pick something memorable. The point here is to secure the iPhone and make it almost impossible for hackers to breach it. But you’ll still want to access the phone rather than being locked out because you forgot an extremely secure password.

Also, you won’t want to use any of the strong passwords you might be using elsewhere. Just in case the hackers targeting you might have access to those.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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