Can You Lock the Screen on an iPad?

By Anne Hirsh

The iPad offers a few options for locking your iPad screen. The default setting does what the iPad considers locking your screen, which means it goes into sleep mode and reveals the lock screen when you wake it back up. However, the default unlock is a simple finger swipe that anyone can perform, so it does not protect your data. For a better iPad screen lock, you can set a lock code that you must enter to pass the lock screen.

Setting the Lock

Your iPad's "Settings" app controls your lock options, so you will need to launch this app to set your lock code. Tap the "General" tab in the left menu, and then choose "Passcode lock" from the available options. Select the button to turn the passcode on, and then enter your passcode in the popup screen and re-enter it when prompted. This sets your lock, so when you put the iPad to sleep and then wake it up, the iPad will prompt you for your passcode.

Simple Or Complex Codes

The iPad has two passcode modes, which you can access from the "Passcode lock" screen in the "Settings" app. Simple passcodes are four-digit numbers, much like banking PIN. If you want a more secure lock, slide the onscreen "Simple passcode" switch to the off position. Follow the onscreen prompts to set and confirm a more complex passcode using letters and numbers, and special characters such as the "at" symbol.

Passcode Options

The passcode settings screen also provides other options, such as when to require the passcode. For highest security, set your passcode lock to "Immediately." Otherwise, you will not need to enter the passcode to unlock the screen from sleep mode until the time you specify has passed. Regardless of this setting, once you set a passcode you will need to re-enter it to change any passcode-related settings. You can also set the passcode to work with the iPad's picture frame setting on the lock screen and choose an automatic wipe for additional security. This last feature will delete all information from your iPad after someone tries to access it with the incorrect passcode 10 times. If you use this setting, back up your data regularly so you do not lose it if you forget your passcode.

Rotation Lock

If you're looking to lock the screen's orientation, rather than its privacy, the iPad features two screen rotation lock options. In the general settings screen, you can select "Lock rotation" under "Use side switch to." This makes the side switch on your iPad, next to the volume button, into a rotation lock. Slide it up to lock your iPad in its current screen orientation -- portrait or landscape -- and then slide it back down to release the orientation. If you prefer to use that switch as a mute button, lock the screen orientation by double-clicking the home button and then sliding your finger to the right over the row of active app icons. This reveals your iPod app and a few settings. Touch the lock icon to lock the current screen orientation and repeat the process to unlock the rotation.