Setting or Changing Your iPad Passcode and Fingerprint

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Setting Up Your iPad Password

To start setting up a passcode for the iPad, click on the "General" tab in the "Settings" app. Photo by Jason Hidalgo

Maybe you got a nosy roommate. Perhaps some evildoer snatched your precious iPad. Regardless, adding an extra layer of security to protect your data is always a good idea.

The good news is that setting up a password for an iPad is pretty easy. Before you do so, however, you might want to make a backup of your iPad via iTunes. That way, you can restore from backup in case you forget your passcode in the future without having to restore it as a new device (If you do make a backup when a password has already been made, you will have to restore your iPad as a new device if you forget your password, unfortunately).

Anywho, to start the password creation process, click on the "Settings" icon or app from your main screen (it's the one that looks like gears).

In the Settings menu, click on the "General" tab. This will bring out several options to your right. On older iPads with an older version of iOS such as the one showed above, you can click on "Passcode Lock," which will be the seventh option from the top. For iOS 9, particularly for new iPads and iPhones with the finger sensor, the option is called "Touch ID & Passcode." If you're changing passcodes, you will need to enter your current one to continue.

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Choosing a Passcode for Your iPad

You'll need to enter a 4-digit code for your iPad password. Photo by Jason Hidalgo

You will be asked to pick a 4-digit code for your password. Or you could succumb to your inner paranoia like me and enter eight numbers. You'll never get me, coppers! To be sure you picked the right passcode, you will be prompted to enter it again. Congratulations, you now have a password for your iPad. By the way, please do yourself a favor and pick something else besides 1234. I'm not sayin' but I'm just sayin'. For folks changing their passcode on both old or new versions of iOS, just click on "Change Passcode."

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Setting Your iPad Password Options

Once you have a password, you can continue to fine tune your settings. Photo by Jason Hidalgo

Once you have an iPad password, you can fine tune your set up via several options:

  • Turn Passcode Off: If your device never leaves your house or you want to live dangerously, this one's for you.
  • Change Passcode: As mentioned previously, this allows you to, um, change your password. Yes, I just blew my mind.
  • Require Passcode: Lets you set how quickly you want the iPad to require a password. More on this in the next page.
  • Erase Data: Lets you set an automatic to erase feature where the iPad erases all your stuff after 10 unsuccessful attempts in a row to enter a password — just in case some unauthorized person tries to use your iPad.
  • Add a Fingerprint: For newer iPads (or iPhones) with fingers sensors, you can add a fingerprint or two or — well, you get the drift — for extra convenience when unlocking your device. Note that the iPad will still require your passcode when accessing the device after powering it off.

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Setting the Required Time for Your iPad passcode

You can also set the time when you want the iPad to request a password. Photo by Jason Hidalgo

So basically, the "Require Passcode" tab lets you set the amount of time that passes by before your iPad asks for a password. "Immediately" is just as it sounds — the device will request that you enter a password upon turning on the device or waking it up from sleep. Otherwise, you can pick a time range between a minute to a few hours.

Jason Hidalgo is About.com’s Portable Electronics expert. Yes, he is easily amused. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhidalgo and be amused, too. For more iPad tips, don't forget to check our iTips: iPad Tutorials page