You may have heard of a hacking tool called
GrayKey that was being used to crack iPhone and iPad passwords. It’s understood that the tool was being used by law-enforcement agencies, and could crack a four-digit passcode in a couple of hours. A six-digit code can be cracked in a few days.
The device, which needed to be plugged into a iOS device, could disable the usual delays and locks (one minute after six incorrect guesses, five minutes after seven and so on) that would normally stop anyone from brute-forcing their way past a passcode.
While you probably don’t have any reason to not want the police or government agencies to hack into your phone, the real concern here was that if it’s possible for the GrayKey device to hack into your phone this way, it’s highly likely that there will be similar devices and hacks available to criminals.
Luckily Apple blocked the GrayKey tech back in iOS 12, however, should such a thing become possible again – and it’s sure to – here’s what you should do to protect your phone:
- Choose a long passcode: one that’s longer than six digits. It could take a few months to hack an eight-digit pin, and a ten-digit pin could take a decade to crack!
- Use a passphrase containing words, rather than numbers. But use random words that wouldn’t normally appear together.
While passcodes only use numbers 0-9, a passphrase includes numbers, letters, symbols and case-sensitivity which should make your iPhone a lot harder to break into – although it may take a little longer to unlock your iPhone when you want to use it.
You might be thinking that your phone is secured by Face ID or your fingerprint, but remember your phone can still be unlocked with your passcode, so if that’s 0000 you have a reason to be worried!
How to set up a new passcode for iOS
- Open Settings.
- Tap Touch ID & Passcode (or Face ID & Passcode if you have an X-series iPhone).
- Enter your Passcode.
- Tap on Change Passcode.
- Enter your Passcode.
- Tap Passcode Options.
- From the options, choose either Custom Numeric Code or Custom Alphanumeric Code.
- Enter your new code and verify it.
If you use Touch ID or Face ID to unlock your phone you won’t normally need to use your passcode to unlock it, but there are exceptions: the passcode will be required when you haven’t used your phone for more than six days, for instance, or when you restart your device.
(On the subject of passwords, you can significantly improve your security by using a