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.