iPad Security Tip #1: Use (Simple) Passcode Lock

Recently my iPad was stolen. Boy was I glad that I had enabled all the security that I had! I made it harder for the thieves to access my data. And from what I can tell by trying to track my iPad using FindMyiPhone on iCloud (https://www.icloud.com/#find), and also thankfully set up correctly before the theft, the thieves haven’t been able to crack my passwords to get my data or get online. Whew.

It’s important that you set up a passcode lock to be activated immediately when you close your iPad case, put your iPad to sleep, or turn it off. Here’s a quick video (2:54 min) on how to set up and use a simple Passcode Lock (using iOS 7).

Steps for Setting Up a Simple Passcode on Your iPad (iOS 7):

1. Turn on your iPad.

2. Go to Settings.

3. Choose General from the left hand pane.

4. In the right hand window, scroll down to Passcode Lock.

5. Tap on Passcode Lock.

6. In the new screen, tap on Turn Passcode On. Enter a 4 digit numerical password. Ideally it would contain 4 different numbers and something not that easy for another person to guess.

7. Re-enter in the passcode you had chosen. Your passcode is now set up.


On the same screen, turn the option called “Erase Data” to ON. This means that after 10 failed attempts to get into your iPad, your data will be wiped.

Then, at the top of this screen, click on General to go back one screen. Turn the slider ON for the option called Lock/Unlock. This means that when you close your iPad cover (for most iPad covers), your iPad will be locked automatically. And when you open your iPad, you will be required to unlock it.

Questions? Please ask. Thanks for following along. Susan

Published by

Susan Wheeler

I love to provide technology skills training and help in the workplace. There are so many wonderful tools and resources available to you so if you are not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place.

5 thoughts on “iPad Security Tip #1: Use (Simple) Passcode Lock

  1. Very nicely explained. What are the options if the password is forgotten? Let’s say one has a senior moment, LOL.

    1. Hi Mary Anne, sorry for the response delay. Good question!

      If you forget your passcode, you will need to restore your device.

      Here’s one way how to restore your iPad, assuming that you have iTunes as your backup source (instead of iCloud). That means I’m assuming that at some point in the past, you have connected your iPad to your computer and backed up all your information to iTunes. (If you haven’t, then you can still restore your iPad, up to step 6 below, but you may only have the factory settings restored, not all of your own data, depending on how you have synced your data. See my note below on the latter.)

      1. Insert your USB cable from your iPad into your computer that you use to sync from. Do not plug the other end into your iPad (yet). Let that part dangle.

      2. Start iTunes on your computer.

      3. Turn off your iPad. (Hold down the Power button until you see the message to Swipe to turn the iPad off. Swipe and turn the iPad off).

      4. On your iPad, press and hold down the HOME button. Simultaneously connect the USB cable to your iPad (the dangling end). By connecting your iPad to the USB cable, this will turn the iPad on. Keep holding down the HOME button. Now you should get a message in iTunes on your computer that your iPad in Recovery Mode has been detected.

      5. Click OK and click on the Summary Tab in iTunes.

      6. Click the Restore button. This will restore your iPad to the factory settings, as if it just came out of the box.

      7. Assuming you backed up your data previously, you will now be given an option to load a backup from iTunes. Follow the prompts and you will be good to go.

      NOTE: I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to backup regularly but I can see how the manufacturers are leaning more towards cloud-based services to help us more and more. For example, all my iTunes purchases are now registered in the cloud, in my private account. My documents, because I set them up this way, are all synced regularly via Dropbox, again in my personal account. So worst case, if I didn’t have a recent backup of my iPad data, or any backup, once I linked up my iCloud and Dropbox services on my restored iPad, most of my personal data would be restored.

      Hope this helps, Susan

  2. merci Susan…. i have a question.
    you wrote …your data will be wiped….. everything will be vanished? Is it possible to retrieve it?…if not .. I will write down my password… LOL

    1. Hi Carolle! Sorry for the response delay. To answer your question, yes, if you had set the Erase Data setting to ON, then after trying unsuccessfully to get into your iPad, ALL the data on your iPad will be wiped. So two key lessons here:
      1) Backup, backup, backup (establish a “regular” time to backup, whatever that means for you).

      2) Find a password manager that you trust, please, instead of writing down the password. 🙂

      For me, that means 1Password from AgileBits (https://agilebits.com/onepassword). When my iPad was stolen, I contacted Customer Support at Agile Bits to inquire about someone breaking into their software. Lucky me! Since I had used their program AND I use a strong password, Customer Support told me there was no way anyone could break into my password management software. That was worth it’s weight in gold (to me). Other password management tools that I’ve seen references to include: LastPass, KeyPass. Also, here’s a previous article I wrote on this subject. https://practechalsolutions.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/productivity-tip-remembering-passwords-online/ Best, Susan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s