How to Set or Change Your iPad Passcode and Fingerprint

Keep your iPad secure by updating the passcode

Combination locks on a row of red high school lockers

It's never a bad idea to add an extra layer of security to protect the data on your iPad. Apple offers multiple security options on its more recent models, including setting up a passcode and locking your tablet behind your fingerprint with Touch ID.

Before you set up security, however, you will want to make a backup of your iPad via iTunes. That way, you can restore from this backup in case you forget your passcode without having to restore the iPad as a new device.

These instructions apply to iPad Air 2 and later, iPad Mini 3 and later, and th iPad Pro.

How to Set Up Your iPad Passcode

To make a new passcode for your iPad:

  1. Open Settings on your iPad.

    The iPad Settings app
  2. Select Touch ID & Passcode.

    If you have a passcode set on your iPad already, you'll have to enter it to access the settings.

    The Touch ID & Passcode setting on an iPad
  3. To set up a passcode for the first time, select Turn Passcode On. To update your passcode, select Change Passcode.

    Select Turn Passcode Off to remove all of the payment cards you have set up with Apple Pay.

    Passcode options on an iPad
  4. If you're turning on your passcode for the first time, you'll enter it now and then confirm it. If you're changing your existing code, enter it on the next screen.

    Entering a passcode on iPad
  5. On the next screen, you'll pick a new code. By default, you'll enter a six-digit numerical passcode. Select Passcode Options to make a longer, shorter, or more complex one.

    Custom passcodes must be at least four characters long.

    • Custom Alphanumeric Code brings up your iPad keyboard and lets you create a passcode with both numbers and letters.
    • Custom Numeric Code lets you pick a number-based passcode.
    • 4-Digit Numeric Code is a less secure option, but if you have trouble remembering longer codes, you can set a shorter one with this option.
    Passcode Options on an iPad
  6. Enter your new passcode, then enter it again to confirm.

How to Set up or Add a Fingerprint to Touch ID

For an extra bit of security, you can set up Touch ID, which uses a fingerprint you save to the iPad to unlock the device and perform other actions. Here's how to set it up or add a new fingerprint.

  1. In the Touch ID & Passcode menu, select Add a Fingerprint.

    Add a Fingerprint option on iPad
  2. Follow the instructions onscreen to scan your fingerprint by placing it on the Home button.

  3. To rename the finger you just saved to the iPad, select its name on the menu and type a new one.

    Tap a finger's name to rename it for Touch ID
  4. To remove a fingerprint from Touch ID, select its name like you're going to rename it, then select Delete Fingerprint.

    Delete Fingerprint option on an iPad
  5. You can use Add a Fingerprint to add more fingerprints to Touch ID. Use this option, for example, if you want to be able to unlock your iPad with either hand.

Additional Options With Touch ID

Above the Fingerprints section, you'll see a heading labeled Use Touch ID For. The settings in this region control what your fingerprint can be used for.

  • iPad Unlock uses Touch ID instead of your passcode to open your iPad.
  • iTunes & App Store lets you verify purchases with your fingerprint before you buy an app, movie, or TV show.
  • Apple Pay uses your fingerprint to confirm purchases you make with the credit and debit cards you have stored on your iPad.
  • Password Autofill asks for Touch ID verification before you use one of the passwords you're storing in your iCloud keychain.
Use Touch ID For settings on an iPad