How to Delay Auto Sleep Mode and Passcode Lock on the iPad

Set your iPad to tolerate longer periods of inactivity without locking

Man lying on lawn with closed eyes holding digital tablet
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The iPad goes into sleep mode after two minutes of inactivity by default, which is great for conserving battery power. However, this feature can be annoying if you are in the middle of a task that requires you to jump back and forth between your iPad and another focus, or you need your iPad to continue displaying what is on the screen despite a long period of inactivity. For example, musicians who want to use their iPad to display sheet music certainly don't want it going to sleep after two minutes.

Instructions in this article apply to iPads running iOS 12 or iOS 11.

Fortunately, it's easy to delay the Auto-Lock mode on your iPad. You can also delay how often the passcode is required.

How to Delay the Auto-Lock Mode on iPad

  1. Open Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. In the left panel, tap Display & Brightness.

  3. Tap Auto-Lock in the Display & Brightness settings. 

    Auto-Lock setting on iPad
  4. Select the option you prefer. Choices are 2, 5, 10, or 15 minutes. You can also choose Never.

    Auto-Lock timing settings on iPad

Choosing Never means your iPad never goes into sleep mode automatically. This comes in handy in some situations, but it is recommended only for specific situations. Otherwise, if you put your iPad down and forget to put it into sleep mode, it stays active until it runs out of battery life.

Which Auto-Lock Setting Is Right for You?

If you are having problems with the iPad going into sleep mode while you are still using it, bumping it up to 5 minutes should be sufficient. While three extra minutes doesn't sound like a lot, it more than doubles the previous setting.

However, if you have a Smart Cover that automatically puts the iPad into sleep mode when the flap is closed, you might want to use the 10-minute or 15-minute setting. If you are good about closing the flap when done with the iPad, you won't lose any battery power, and the longer setting keeps the iPad from going to sleep when you are still using it.

How to Delay When the Passcode Is Required

If you don't have Touch ID or Face ID, entering the passcode can become a pain in the neck if you are constantly waking your iPad. If you have Touch ID or Face ID, you can unlock the iPad and do a few other neat tricks, but you don't need Touch ID or Face ID to skip inputting the passcode. You can set a timer for how often it is required in the Passcode settings.

Here's how to do that:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. In the left panel, tap Passcode or Touch ID & Passcode or Face ID & Passcode, depending on your iPad model and enter your passcode to open the Passcode Lock settings.

    Unlocking Passcode settings
  3. Tap Require Passcode.

    Require Passcode setting on iPad

    Don't see these settings on the screen? If you have iPad Unlock turned on for Touch ID or Face ID, you can't delay the interval. Instead, you rest your finger on the Home button or raise the phone and look at it, and the iPad unlocks itself.

  4. Select a setting — from Immediately up to 4 hours — although anything more than 15 minutes defeats the purpose of having a lock code.

    After 15 minutes option for Require Passcode on iPad