How to Lock Your iPad Screen

You can use a passcode, password, Face ID, or fingerprint

What to Know

  • Open Settings. Select Touch ID & Passcode, Face ID & Passcode, or Passcode, depending on your iPad model and version.
  • Tap Turn Passcode On and enter a passcode or tap Passcode Options for other authentication methods such as alphanumeric codes.
  • Consider toggling off Siri and disabling Today View and Notification Center access so these tools can't be used via the lock screen.

This article explains how to lock your iPad with a numeric passcode or an alphanumeric password.

How to Password Protect Your iPad

Unless an iPad supports TouchID or Face ID, it can only be used after the password or passcode is entered. You can always use those methods, of course, to lock your iPad's screen.

Otherwise, follow these steps to password protect your iPad:

  1. Open the Settings app from the iPad Home screen.

  2. Many iPads don't have a fingerprint scanner or support facial identification. For these iPads, choose Passcode in the left panel.

    If the iPad has a fingerprint scanner, select TouchID & Passcode.

    On iPads equipped with facial identification, choose Face ID & Passcode instead.

    Only one of these options will be available in the iPad's settings.

  3. Tap Turn Passcode On in the right panel.

    Turn Passcode On button in iOS Settings

    If you enrolled fingerprints on your iPad, you may be asked if you want to delete or keep them, depending on your iOS version.

  4. Use the on-screen keypad to enter a passcode in the Set Passcode window.

    Passcode Entry Screen in iOS Settings

    If you prefer, tap Passcode Options and choose a different authentication method: Custom Alphanumeric Code, Custom Numeric Code, or 4-Digit Numeric Code.

    Passcode options in iOS Settings

    The iPad can become disabled if you make too many mistakes when logging in with the passcode. Secure your iPad with a phrase or number series that's easy for you to remember but difficult for someone else to guess.

  5. Enter the passcode again when prompted.

    Passcode verification screen in iOS Settings
  6. Type your Apple ID password when prompted to do so for verification.

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

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

  8. Exit the Settings app.

Before Leaving the Passcode Lock Settings

The iPad now asks for the passcode before letting you into the home screen. However, a few things 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 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 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 remotely wipe an iPad automatically should it be 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.

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.

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