Apple moves to six-digit passcode in iOS 9

The pool of possible six-digit combinations is 1 million, rather than 10,000 for four digits, Apple said

Apple will require six-digit passcodes for Touch ID-enabled mobile devices in iOS 9.

Apple will require six-digit passcodes for Touch ID-enabled mobile devices in iOS 9.

Apple plans to require six-digit passcodes to unlock its latest mobile devices that use iOS 9, its forthcoming mobile operating system.

Users already have the option in iOS 8 of setting a much longer passcode than four digits, which is the current minimum requirement. Symbols and letters can also be used.

Increasing the minimum number of digits to six means that there will be 1 million possible combinations rather than 10,000, which "will be a lot tougher to crack," Apple wrote on its website.

The move to longer passcodes is not likely to please U.S. authorities, who have expressed fears that stronger security measures, including encryption, may make it more difficult to obtain information for time-sensitive investigations, such as terrorism.

Apple beefed up the encryption in iOS 8, protecting more sensitive data and employing more protections within hardware to make it harder to access.

Security experts have said that the use of a four-digit passcodes in iOS 8 is likely insufficient to protect data despite the protections Apple put in place. Users are better served by longer, unique passwords, but rarely opt for more complicated ones.

The passcode change will apply to devices that have Touch ID, Apple's fingerprint scanner that is built into the latest versions of its hardware.

Touch ID eliminates the sometimes fiddly process of unlocking a phone using the four-digit code, but Apple does require it to be entered after a device is restarted.

iOS devices have other passcode protection features. For example, if a wrong passcode is entered, an iPhone can lock someone out for a minute and for subsequently longer times if wrong passcodes are repeatedly entered.

A device can also be configured to erase itself after 10 wrong attempts.

The move to six-digits could make it a lot harder for law enforcement to randomly guess passcodes on an iOS 9 device if it hasn't been configured to wipe its data.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilemobile securityAppleiosapplicationstelecommunicationMobile OSes

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?