Set a Complex iPhone Password

Take a moment and set a complex alphanumeric iPhone password on your device. The added security benefits outweigh the inconvenience.

The time it takes to brute force a password.


The breakdown is simple; the above chart is for alphanumeric passwords of various lengths. Please note that theoretically, anything bellow a twelve character password is very insecure.

To set a complex passcode on iOS, one that can include numbers, letters, and special characters (like ñ or é), go to:

Settings > General > Passcode Lock.

On an iPhone 5s, the setting is listed under:

Settings > General > Touch ID & Passcode.

Next, toggle off the “Simple Passcode” setting.

If you haven’t set up a passcode at all yet, you’ll first have to select the “Turn Passcode On” option located near the top of the settings pane.

Your Complex Password

Recall the image above which showed the “time to crack” of various length passwords. We made an effect to guide you in the right direction by coloring the better options in shades of green. At OSS, we cannot recommend anything under 12 characters simply because the valuable portions of our lives live well beyond the length of time it takes to crack passwords. Even a twelve character password is theoretically crackable within a month and a half.

This is simply not acceptable. We recommended that no passwords should be under 13 characters long, as this provides you with about 39 years of comfort. A whole lot more than a year and a half if you just remember one more character.

Remember that while complex passwords such as “3esdt02r7u430” are great, forgetting them can be incredibly annoying. Do not worry about setting complex passwords as much as long ones. The passwords “takesavillageitdoes,” or “notimeburgerjoint,” are fairly easy to remember and are far more secure than “3esdt02r7u430” which is much harder to remember.

If you want to make a password more complex, you can employ l33t speak, this is when you replace the vowels (A, E, I, O) with numbers. Use 4 instead of A, 3 instead of E, 1 instead of I, and 0 (this is a zero) instead of O (capital O).

For example, the password “notimeburgerjoint” would become “n0t1m3burg3rj01nt.”

If it seems too complicated and/or not worth the effort, then don’t worry and don’t bother. This is because a brute force attack on either version of the password technically has the same time to crack, 17.9 million years. So…. either way, not bad.

Setup Continued…

Now that you know the importance of a good password and how easy it is to come up with one.

Once you have done so, you will be prompted to enter a complex passcode with the ability to choose from an array of numbers, letters, and special characters.

Note that you will be prompted to enter the passcode twice, the first time you tap ‘Next’ to continue and the second time you tap ‘Done,’ and is done to make sure you do not mistakenly type the password wrong.

As for your password, try to make sure you do not have birthdays or other relevant information that can be found on your social media or ‘about me’ section of dating websites as this would be the first place for social engineers and hackers to look for targeted attacks.

Also, please note that while you can enter special characters in a complex passcode, you cannot use emoji icons.

After setting up a complex passcode, your new passcode lock screen will look different, offering up the full ‘text-and-numbers’ keyboard for your passcode entry, which will likely take you longer to get into your phone.

For some, this will be a deal breaker and they will likely switch back to the standard pin due to the time it takes to unlock you iPhone. Though it is understandable, especially if you must enter this long complex password every time you want to check a text message or email.

We, however, still recommend the more secure complex password, especially if you have something to lose; because let’s face it, we all have something to lose.

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