Apple’s iOS 9 will require six digits for passcodes.

You’re Going to Need Two More Numbers for Your iPhone PIN

You’re Going to Need Two More Numbers for Your iPhone PIN

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 9 2015 10:17 AM

You’re Going to Need Two More Numbers for Your iPhone PIN


Photo by 2nix Studio/Shutterstock

I enter the passcode on my iPhone dozens of times every day, and yet I somehow still screw it up pretty often. I swear there's sometimes a lag in the touch response. But whatever the reason, things are about to get hairier. And more secure!

Apple said in its iOS 9 preview on Monday that it will require six-digit passcodes instead of the current four for newer iDevices that have TouchID. Passcodes will still be optional, and the idea is that TouchID is a lot easier than entering a PIN. But if you're gonna do it, Apple wants it to be strong.

A tiny note about longer passcodes.

Screencap from Apple


The problem with four-digit codes is that they're relatively easy to guess because there are only 10,000  combinations. With six digits, the number of combinations is a million. Much more respectable. Ars Technica, which was alerted to the change by a tweet from Jonathan Mayer, reports that users (or thieves) will have 10 tries to correctly enter the device passcode. If they get it wrong every time, the device will auto-delete its contents.

As the debate about government backdoors continues, it's noteworthy that Apple is adding stronger passcodes and more consistent two-factor authentication on its mobile devices. For now it seems like the company really doesn't want to roll out the red carpet for the feds.

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