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How to Password Protect Your iPad


Did you know that you can enable password protection and hardware encryption on your iPad? It's an easy and effective way to protect your private data from prying eyes. After you enable password protection, users will have to enter a password to unlock the iPad or access certain iOS system settings, as shown below.

There are a couple different reasons why you would want to do this. If you're the only person who uses the iPad, you'll want to keep your email messages, Safari history and bookmarks, and app settings safe and secure when you leave your iPad at home or in the office. And if your iPad is ever stolen, password protection will provide peace of mind—you won't need to worry about an individual accessing the device or your data.

Do You Need to Password Protect Your iPad?

Enabling password protection has a serious drawback: You have to enter the password to unlock the iPad, and that task quickly becomes annoying. At some point you'll ask yourself whether password protection is really worth it. Do you really want to increase security at the expense of convenience?

Keep a couple things in mind. First, password protection on the iPad isn't right for everyone. Perform a personal risk assessment—how likely is it that another individual might try to access your data, and what would happen if they did? If the possibility of such an event is low, and the damage to your data would be negligible, you probably don't need to enable password protection on your iPad. On the other hand, if you store sensitive data on your iPad and you live or work in a high-risk environment, you'll definitely want to enable password protection on your iPad.

How to Password Protect Your iPad

Turning on password protection for your iPad takes only a couple of minutes. Here's how to do it:

  1. From the iPad's home screen, tap Settings.

  2. Tap General on the sidebar. The screen shown below appears.

  3. Tap Password Lock. The screen shown below appears.

  4. Decide what kind of password you want to set. You have two options:
    • Simple Passcode: This is a four digit number, just like the PIN for your debit card.
    • Advanced Passcode: This can be anything. You'll have access to the full keyboard, so you can make it as complex as you want. Just remember, you'll have to type this every time you unlock the iPad.
  5. To use a simple passcode, move the Simple Passcode slider to the On position.

  6. To use an advanced passcode, move the Simple Passcode slider to the Off position.

  7. Tap Turn Passcode On.

  8. You will be prompted to enter the passcode. Enter it once, and then enter it again to verify. The screen shown below appears.

We know that password protection is enabled, because the button at the top of the screen has changed to Turn Passcode Off. And we know that hardware encryption is enabled, because the message at the bottom of the screen says "Data Protection is Enabled."

Changing When the Password is Required

By default, your iPad is set to require a password immediately after the screen is locked. This is the most secure option, but it's also the most inconvenient since it means that you'll have to enter the password every time you want to unlock the screen. You can change this by setting the iPad to only ask for the password after the screen has been locked for a certain period of time. Here's how:

  1. From the iPad's home screen, tap Settings.

  2. Tap General on the sidebar.

  3. Tap Password Lock. The password prompt appears.

  4. Enter your password. The Password Lock screen appears.

  5. Tap Require Passcode.

  6. Tap a time interval. Shorter times are more secure.

Your iPad will now wait for the amount of time you specified before prompting you for a password.

Setting the iPad to Erase All Data After 10 Failed Attempts

If your iPad falls into nefarious hands, the criminal will probably try to guess your password. That's where a special iPad setting called Erase Data comes in handy. Enable this feature and your iPad will erase all of the data stored on it after 10 failed password attempts. It won't help you recover your stolen iPad, but it will ensure that your data is destroyed. (Note that you will probably not want to enable this feature if you have children in your house.)

Here's how to set your iPad to erase all data after 10 failed password attempts:

  1. From the iPad's home screen, tap Settings.

  2. Tap General on the sidebar.

  3. Tap Password Lock. The password prompt appears.

  4. Enter your password. The Password Lock screen appears.

  5. Move the Erase Data slider to the On position.

  6. A confirmation box appears. Verify that you want to enable this feature.

Your iPad is now set to "self-destruct" your data after 10 failed password attempts.

Disabling iPad Password Protection

If you ever decide to disable password protection for your iPad, you can do so by following these steps:

  1. From the iPad's home screen, tap Settings.

  2. Tap General on the sidebar.

  3. Tap Password Lock. The password prompt appears.

  4. Enter your password. The Password Lock screen appears.

  5. Tap Turn Passcode Off. The password prompt appears.

  6. Enter your password.

Password protection and hardware encryption have been disabled.

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Matt Cone, the author of Master Your Mac, has been a Mac user for over 20 years. A former ghost writer for some of Apple's most notable instructors, Cone founded Macinstruct in 1999, a site with OS X tutorials that boasts hundreds of thousands of unique visitors per month. You can email him at: matt@macinstruct.com.


 
                          





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