If a passcode hasn’t been enabled on your device, it’s worth setting one up to avoid unwanted access – whether by family, a friend – or a stranger.

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To do this, open the Settings app and select Touch ID & Passcode, then Set Passcode. From iOS 9 onwards the default passcode is a 6-digit numeric code (older versions of iOS use a 4-digit code). Type in your chosen sequence, and then when prompted type it a second time for verification. The password is then set.

To enable a different type of passcode, tap Passcode Settings from the Set Passcode screen. You can then choose between the old style 4-digit code, or a longer, more complex set of numbers (Custom Numeric) or a limitless string of both numbers and letters (Custom Alphanumeric).

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Whatever you choose, you’ll need this code to access the device in the future, so make sure to remember it.

To disable a passcode, open Settings, select Passcode, then Turn Passcode Off. Now enter the passcode to disable it.

How soon?

After setting a passcode, you can also choose how soon it’s needed after locking the device. Tap on Require Passcode and select from the options. A shorter length of time makes your device more secure. Bear in mind that if you have the fingerprint-scanning Touch ID enabled, the only option is to require the passcode immediately.