How to Lock Your iPad With a Passcode or Password

Lock icon on iPad
Apple, Inc.

If you're concerned about the security of your iPad, you can lock the tablet with a numerical passcode or an alphanumeric password.

A locked iPad can only be opened and used after the password or passcode has been entered. However, there are a few settings you can enable that let you access certain features of your iPad even when it's locked.

The steps described below should work for all iPad models.

Should You Secure Your iPad With a Passcode?

You don't have to make a password or a passcode on your iPad, but you might want to for several reasons.

The iPad is a wonderful device, but like your computer, it provides quick access to information you might not want everyone to see. As the iPad becomes more and more capable, it also becomes increasingly important to ensure that the information stored on it is secure.

The most obvious reason to lock your iPad with a passcode is to stop a stranger from snooping around if you ever lose your 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 putting up a password so that they can't open apps like Netflix and find videos that you don't want them watching. Or maybe you have friends that you'd rather not have access to your Facebook or email.

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.

  3. Tap Turn Passcode On from the right panel.

    Touch ID and Passcode screen on iPad

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

  4. Enter a passcode using the keypad. Or, tap Passcode Options and choose a different authentication method like Custom Alphanumeric Code, Custom Numeric Code, or 4-Digit Numeric Code.

    iPad passcode options

    Your iPad can become disabled if you make too many mistakes when trying to log in with this password or passcode. Be sure to 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 and then tap Continue.

    Apple ID Password prompt on iPad

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

  7. Wait while the passcode/password is set and for the text box or keypad to disappear. You can now exit the Settings app and lock your iPad to verify that you've secured it.

Before Leaving the Passcode Lock Settings

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

Siri is a big one. Having Siri accessible from the lock screen is extremely useful. If you love to 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're mainly trying to keep your kids out of your iPad, leaving Siri on is fine, but if you're worried about keeping your private information private, you may want to toggle Siri off so that it can't be used from the lock screen.

Something else you might consider disabling access to from the lock screen is Today View and Notification Center. These things let you access meeting reminders, your daily schedule, and iPad widgets you have installed. Disable it from the lock screen to make your iPad super secure.

Home Control is another one. If you have smart devices in your house, such as a smart thermostat, garage door, lights, or a front door lock, you can choose to restrict access to these features from the lock screen. Consider turning this off especially if you have any smart devices that allow entry into your home.

Be mindful of the Erase Data option, too. You can enable this so that your iPad will be wiped if the passcode is entered incorrectly 10 times in a row. While it's a neat feature for automatically remotely wiping your 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.