How to Use Auto-Lock and Passcode Lock on an iPhone

By Joe Hutsko, Barbara Boyd

Auto-Lock and Passcode Lock are iPhone security options that enable you to protect your privacy and personal data. To access the options that follow, tap Settings, and then tap General.

How to use iPhone Auto-Lock

Locking your iPhone’s screen helps conserve power and guards against unintentional screen taps, like when you’re toting your iPhone in your pocket.

Tap Auto Lock and then choose the amount of time you want your iPhone to wait before it automatically locks the screen. Your choices range from one to five minutes, or you can choose Never, which means it’s up to you to remember to press the Sleep/Wake button to lock your iPhone.

How to set up Passcode Lock on an iPhone

Requiring a passcode to unlock your iPhone can help prevent others from viewing your personal data or making calls on your dime. To set it up, do the following:

  1. Tap Settings→General→Passcode Lock→Turn Passcode On.

    (Optional) Simple Passcodes are four digits. If you prefer to use a more complicated passcode, such as an alpha-numeric combination, tap Simple Passcode Off, then tap Turn Passcode On.

  2. Type in a four-digit passcode, or a longer passcode if you turned off Simple Passcodes, and then type in the code a second time to verify your code.

    You can change your secret code anytime by tapping Change Passcode, entering your old passcode, and then entering a new passcode.

  3. Tap Require Passcode and then tap Immediately if you want your iPhone to require your passcode whenever you unlock it.

    Or choose one of the time-out options if you want your iPhone to require your code after the chosen amount of time has passed.

  4. Tap Voice Dial On if you want to require the passcode to make voice-controlled calls.

  5. Tap Siri, Passbook, and/or Reply with Message to the On position if you want these functions to work from the Lock screen.

    When Siri is accessible from the Lock Screen, security features such as the Passcode Lock are overridden and, therefore, compromised — even though your iPhone is locked, you (or someone else) can make a phone call or take another action via Siri.

  6. Tap Erase Data On to protect your personal information in the event your iPhone falls into the wrong hands.

    Erase Data erases everything stored on your iPhone if the correct passcode isn’t entered after ten tries.