Remember when Apple first announced Face ID? There was a lot of commotion. Talking heads and experts thought it would create a terrible user experience. Instead of just pushing on your iPhone’s Home button, you’d have to pull it to eye level, and stare at it to unlock it – a major inconvenience.
But Face ID worked out for Apple, at least to the point where Apple is still using face recognition. Seeing how this is another way to authenticate your device, we decided to write an article discussing the different ways to unlock your iPhone and the security of each level of authentication. After all, if a snoop or hacker was able to break into your phone, they could install malicious apps that might wind up with you in the middle of an iPhone repair store for a software reset.
To set up the way you would like to authenticate your phone, unlock your iPhone and open up the Settings app. Scroll down until you see Touch & Passcode (or Face ID & Passcode) and tap on it.
Open Your iPhone with a PIN Number
Chances are you’ve set up some type of PIN number you use when you log into your device. The drawbacks of a PIN number is that it won’t recognize your fingerprint or face when you do sensitive things like unlock your iPhone, erase your entire device, change your passcode, or update your software and install new apps.
You might want to make your PIN number more secure by increasing the size of the passcode you use. Go to Touch ID & Passcode and find “Change Passcode.” Tap on this, enter your current PIN, and you’ll be able to set a new PIN. Even by increasing your PIN from four digits to six, you significantly increase the amount of security you will have to protect your phone.
Open Your iPhone with an Alphanumeric Password
Setting up a password is easy to do. Go to Touch ID & Passcode and select “Custom Alphanumeric Code.” From here, enter a string of numbers and letters that is easy to remember and hard to guess. Although a password might be more inconvenient to type in, it’s going to be a lot more secure than a PIN code, particularly if you are using a number with some significance to you that could be easily guessed.
Open Your iPhone with Touch ID
Touch ID is probably the most convenient way to open up your iPhone; in fact it might be the best way to unlock your phone in terms of speed and security. What’s more, you’ve likely already set it up on your device. That’s because Apple will prompt you to enable it when you set up a new iPhone or iPad.
If you skipped past these prompts, you can still be able to register your fingerprint using the Touch ID & Passcode section.
You can store up to five fingers, making it easy to figure out the way you typically grip or grab your phone and use the most convenient finger to unlock your phone. After you have logged your fingerprints, scroll to the bottom of Touch ID & Passcode and select “Erase Data.”
If someone tries to break into your device, it will erase your iPhone if they try 10 times unsuccessfully. Although this is a pain, it’s ultimately a lot safer.
Open Your iPhone with Face ID
If your iPhone supports Face ID, in your settings app, you’ll see “Face ID & Passcode” rather than “Touch ID & Passcode.”
Since iOS 12, you can register multiple faces – this is meant for you to log a different version of yourself, not to allow access for a different person.
This is a fairly secure option, provided that you don’t have an evil twin. If you would like to log into your iPhone a bit faster, it’s possible to turn off “Require Attention for Face ID” within “Face ID & Passcode.” If you do this, you will be able to unlock your device with a quick glance, rather than staring straight into your iPhone.
So these are the various ways you can log into your iPhone. You will want to choose the perfect combination of convenience and security for you. If your iPhone is typically left unattended in different places, you’ll probably want to use a strong alphanumeric password, which isn’t extremely convenient. If you use your iPhone alone at your house and don’t take it out much, a simple PIN might suffice.
Face ID is secure, but it is still possible for someone who resembles you to log in to your device, so if you live with family, you might want to opt for a different unlock method. Finally, Touch ID might be the best way to unlock your device unless you have highly sensitive data on your iPhone – the state can compel you to unlock your device with a fingerprint, but not a PIN code.
The choice is ultimately up to you, for now. Who knows what new and imaginative ways you will be able to unlock your iPhone in the future?