How to set up a complex passcode on your iPhone or iPad

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 25 Mar 2015

With almost every iteration of iOS, Apple has made it even more difficult to bypass a passcode lock, and made our iOS devices even more secure with Touch ID.

But last week we reported about a tiny IP box you see above, which was able to use brute force to bypass a passcode and gain entry to a locked iOS device while keeping its data intact.

And as we reported yesterday, a hacker has created a utility for Mac called TransLock, that can do the same job over USB. If that has got you worried, then you should set a complex password on your iOS device instead of the simple 4-digit passcode.

Here’s how to set up a complex and strong password:

  • Launch the Settings app.
  • Scroll down, and tap on Touch ID & Passcode.
  • If you’ve set a 4-digit passcode, enter the passcode when prompted.
  • Scroll down, and tap on the toggle next to Simple Passcode to turn it off.
  • You will be prompted to enter the old passcode. Enter your old simple 4-digit passcode.
  • In the next screen, you will be prompted to enter the new passcode. This time round, you’ll be able to enter a passcode using the full keyboard. So you can use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. You could also use accented and alternate letters to create a super strong passcode. But it is important to note that the more complex the passcode, the more likely you’ll forget it, so do keep that in mind.  This is why apps like 1Password (iTunes link), that allows you to create and save complex passwords can come in very handy. In case you didn’t know, you can also use Siri to create a complex password.

Set up complex passcode


  • Tap on Next after entering the passcode.
  • Re-enter your new passcode, and tap Done.

That’s it. After setting up a complex passcode, your new passcode screen will give you a full text-and-number keyboard to enter your passcode as you can see below.

Passcode screen - complex passcode

It’s a pain to enter the passcode, so using a complex passcode can be even more annoying, but with Touch ID you need to enter it only after you reboot your device, so it is still prudent to set a complex passcode.

While setting a strong passcode doesn’t mean that it cannot be bypassed, the length and complexity of the passcode can make it almost impossible to crack and will take a very long time to bypass. To give you an example, even a slightly longer 6 but character passcode, increases the number of possible passcode combinations from 10,000 (10^4) to 208.4 billion (77^6)).

Let me know if you’ve set up a complex passcode for your iOS device in the comments below.