If you are like many people, you may not have a passcode to lock your iPhone. Many people do not bother enabling them. If you do have a passcode on your iPhone, you are likely using the iPhone's "simple passcode" option, which brings up a number pad and requires you to enter a 4-digit number to access your iPhone. Given that most people's phones now hold as much (or possibly more) personal information on them then their home computers do, consider something a little harder to break than 0000, 2580, 1111, or 1234. If one of these numbers is your passcode you might as well just turn the passcode feature off because these are some of the most common and easily guessed passcodes in use today.
The iPhone iOS operating system provides a more robust passcode option. Finding this feature can be a challenge because it's not the easiest setting to locate.
You are probably thinking to yourself "phone passcodes are such a hassle, I do not want to spend forever typing in a password to log into my phone". This is where you have to make the choice between the security of your data or the convenience of quick access. It is up to you on how much risk you are willing to take for the sake of convenience.
While creating a complex password is always recommended, most people don't want to make things overly complicated. Simply changing from a simple passcode to the iPhone complex passcode option will boost your security because enabling the alphanumeric/symbols instead of just numbers-only significantly increases the total possible combination that a thief or hacker would have to try in order to break into your phone.
If you use the simple 4-digit numeric password, there are only 10,000 possible combinations. That may seem high, but a determined hacker or thief will probably guess it in a few hours.
The total number of possible combos for the complex passcode option is mind bogglingly huge and could take a hacker several lifetimes to figure out, even adding a few more characters (6-8) is a huge roadblock to overcome for a hacker trying to guess all the possible combinations.
To enable a complex passcode on your iPhone / iPad / or iPod touch device:
1. From the home menu, tap the settings icon (Grey icon with a couple of gears in it).
2. Tap on the "General" settings button.
3. From the "General" settings menu, choose the "Passcode Lock" item, if you own and iPhone 5s then it will say “Touch ID & Passcode.”
4. Tap the "Turn Passcode On" option at the top of the menu or enter your current passcode if you already have a passcode enabled.
5. Set the "Require Password" option to "Immediately" unless you wish to have a longer window of time before it is required. This is where you have the chance to balance security versus usability. You could create a longer passcode and set a longer window of time before it's required so you won't be constantly entering it or you could create a shorter passcode and require it immediately. Either choice has it's pros and cons, it just depends on what level of security vs. convenience you are willing to accept.
6. Change the "Simple Passcode" to the "OFF" position. This will enable the complex passcode option.
7. Enter your current 4-digit passcode if prompted.
8. Type in your new complex passcode when prompted and tap the "Next" button.
9. Type in your new complex passcode a second time to confirm it and tap the "Done" button.
10. Press the home button and then press the wake/sleep button to test out your new passcode.