How to Get the Old 4-Digit Passcode Back in iOS 9

George Tinari

If you upgraded to iOS 9, you may or may not have noticed depending on the way you upgraded that your iPhone now requires a six-digit passcode to unlock your device. This is two digits more than the previous four necessary. From the moment I upgraded to the iOS 9 beta months before the public release, people who’d see me enter a six-digit passcode in my phone would shudder in disgust.

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Six digits just isn’t worth the extra security sometimes | ymgerman / Shutterstock.com

For the record, a six-digit passcode is more secure than a four-digit passcode simply because it allows for a much larger combination of possible numbers. However, it also lengthens the amount of time it takes to unlock your iPhone. So, if you’re looking to get back to the four-digit lifestyle, there’s a simple way to do so. As a bonus, iOS 9 offers a couple of other passcode options too.

Changing Your Passcode

The following steps should serve as a template for changing your passcode before you select which format you want. In other words, these are necessary before getting rid of those extra two digits.

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Launch the Settings app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Scroll down and select Touch ID & Passcode. You’ll be prompted to enter your current passcode before continuing. Yes, I’m sorry, that means entering in the dreaded six digits again. Once you’re in, scroll to choose Change Passcode. One final time, enter in your current passcode.

Now you’re ready to change to a four-digit passcode or perhaps an entirely different format.

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To change back to four digits, tap Passcode Options above the numeric keypad and select 4-Digit Numeric Code from the menu. You’ll notice the number of missing digits to fill in will shrink to four. Now you can enter in four digits. Tap in your preferred combination, then again to verify and you’re all set.

However, if you want to switch things up, you can try choosing one of two other passcode options. The Custom Numeric Code will let you enter any amount of numbers — even just a single digit, though that’s not recommended for security purposes even with Touch ID. The Custom Alphanumeric Code lets you combine letters and numbers to form a true password for unlocking your iOS device. This is the most secure passcode type for iOS.

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Tip: If you’re trying to avoid long or tedious passcodes, avoid these last two options. Though they’re more secure, they’re more timely to type in every time you want to unlock your device. That’s especially true if you choose an alphanumeric code, which uses iOS’ standard keyboard instead of the numeric keypad.

Feeling relieved? A four-digit passcode is a perfect balance between security and efficiency when unlocking your device. Don’t forget, if you forget this passcode you’ll have to restore your device, so make it something memorable.

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George Tinari

Written By

George Tinari

George Tinari has written about technology for over seven years: guides, how-tos, news, reviews and more. He's usually sitting in front of his laptop, eating, listening to music or singing along loudly to said music. You can also follow him on Twitter @gtinari if you need more complaints and sarcasm in your timeline.