How to Lock Your iPad With a Passcode or Password

Protect your iPad from prying eyes and unwanted users

Lock icon on iPad
Apple, Inc.

If you're concerned about the security of your iPad, lock the tablet with a numeric passcode or an alphanumeric password. A locked iPad can only be used after the password or passcode has been entered.

The steps described below work for all iPad models.

Should You Secure Your iPad With a Passcode?

Passcodes aren't mandatory, but they're a good security practice.

One reason to lock an iPad with a passcode is to stop a stranger from snooping around if you lose the iPad or it gets stolen, but there are other reasons to lock up your iPad. For example, if you have young children in your household, you might consider a password so that they can't open apps like Netflix and find videos that you don't want them to watch.

How to Password Protect Your iPad

The password settings for iPad are located in the Settings app.

  1. Open the Settings app from the home screen.

  2. Select Touch ID & Passcode. If your iPad doesn't have fingerprint scanner, choose Passcode. The newest iPads use Face ID & Passcode instead.

  3. Tap Turn Passcode On from the right panel.

    Turn Passcode On button in iOS Settings

    If you enrolled fingerprints on your iPad, you'll be asked if you want to delete or keep them.

  4. Use the keypad to enter a passcode. Or, tap Passcode Options and choose a different authentication method such as Custom Alphanumeric Code, Custom Numeric Code, or 4-Digit Numeric Code.

    Passcode options in iOS Settings

    The iPad can become disabled if too many mistakes are made when logging in with this password or passcode. Secure your iPad with a phrase or number series that's easy for you to remember (learn how) but hard for someone else to guess.

  5. Enter the password or passcode again when asked.

  6. Type your Apple ID password, then tap Continue.

    Continue button for Apple ID Password in iOS Settings

    Did you forget your Apple ID password? It's easy to reset.

  7. Wait while the passcode or password is set and for the text box or keypad to disappear.

  8. Exit the Settings app and lock the iPad to verify that it's secured.

Before Leaving the Passcode Lock Settings

The iPad will now ask for the passcode before letting you into the home screen, however, there are a few things that are still accessible from the lock screen.

Siri is accessible from the lock screen. If you use it as a personal assistant, setting meetings and reminders without unlocking your iPad can be a real time saver. On the flip side, Siri allows anyone to set these meetings and reminders. If you want to keep your private information private, toggle Siri off so that it can't be used from the lock screen.

Consider disabling access to Today View and Notification Center from the lock screen. These items access meeting reminders, your daily schedule, and iPad widgets you have installed. Disable it from the lock screen to make your iPad super secure.

With Face ID enabled, you're also free to set a requirement that notifications don't display unless the iPad recognizes your face.

You may want to disable Home Control from the lock screen, also. If you have smart devices in your house (such as a smart thermostat, garage door, lights, or a front door lock), restrict access to these features from the lock screen. Consider turning this off if you have any smart devices that allow entry into your home.

Enable the Erase Data option so that your iPad will be wiped if the passcode is entered incorrectly 10 times in a row. While it's a neat feature to automatically remotely wipe an iPad should it get stolen, it might not always be helpful. If you have kids around, be aware that should they tap your iPad a few dozen times without knowing what they're doing, it could wipe all the data from your tablet.