How to Lock Notes on iPhone to Prevent Unauthorized Access

Secure your notes with a password or biometrics

by: - Last updated on: December 16th, 2021
Key Takeaways
  • Apple Notes can be used to create all kinds of notes on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, ranging from those involving free-form thoughts to ones containing personal data.
  • If you happen to have notes containing sensitive information like your financial details, medical records, etc., you must lock your notes to secure them from unauthorized access.
  • Apple lets you protect your notes with a password, Touch ID, or Face ID.

Notes is the default note-taking app for many iPhone, iPad, and Mac users. As of iOS 15, if you use Notes, not only can you jot down casual notes and thoughts on it, but you can also take notes with checklists, images, weblinks, and scanned documents in them.

Lock Notes on iPhone

IMAGE: Unsplash (Brett Jordan)

Since this means you may sometimes also use Apple Notes to store personal/sensitive information in your notes, it’s wise to secure your notes with a password. Apple gives you multiple options to implement this in Notes: you can either do it via a password or use biometrics like Face ID or Touch ID if your device supports them.

Follow along as we walk you through the steps to lock notes on iPhone and iPad.

How to Set Up a Notes Password

To begin with, you first need to set up a password to lock your notes on the Notes app. You have two ways to do this. One, you can set up a password inside the Notes app, or two, you can go into Notes’ Settings and create a password for Notes there.

Steps to Set a Notes Password From the Notes App:

  1. Launch the Notes app.
  2. Open an existing note or click on the new note icon on the bottom-right corner.
  3. Click on the three-dot options menu on the top right.
    set a Notes password on iPhone
  4. Tap on the Lock icon (with a padlock).
    set a Notes password on iPhone
  5. Enter a password in both the Password and Verify fields on the Set Password screen. (Make sure to enter the same passwords in both fields.) Additionally, add a password hint as well.
    set a Notes password on iPhone
  6. Toggle the option for Use Face ID or Use Touch ID, depending on your device, to enable biometric unlocking.
  7. Hit Done.

After this, the note on which you carried out these steps will be protected with your Notes password, and you’ll see a padlock icon next to it.

Steps to Set a Notes Password From Settings:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Notes.
    set a Notes password on iPhone
  3. Select Password.
    set a Notes password on iPhone
  4. On the Set Password screen, enter a password next to the Password and Verify fields.
    set a Notes password on iPhone
  5. Add a password hint, so you don’t forget your password and get locked out.
  6. Toggle the button for Use Touch ID or Use Face ID to enable it and use it for unlocking your notes.
  7. Hit Done.

Unlike setting up a Notes password in the Notes app, this method won’t lock any of your notes. So if you need to secure a note on the Notes app, you’ll need to follow the instructions in the following section.

Note: If you don’t see the lock option on a note, it could either be because that note is being shared with someone else or it isn’t synced to your iCloud account—and instead, synced to third-party email services like Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

How to Lock Notes on iPhone

Once you’ve created your Notes password, follow the steps below to lock notes on your iPhone. If you created your Notes password from the Notes app itself, you’ll have that particular note protected with the set password, in which case, these steps will help you lock other notes.

  1. Launch Notes and open the note you want to lock.
  2. Click on the More button on the top-right corner.
    lock a note on iPhone
  3. Tap Lock.
    lock a note on iPhone
  4. Click the (unlocked) lock icon to lock the note.
    lock a note on iPhone

Keep in mind that when you password-protect a note, its title is still visible on Notes’ home page (page with the entire notes list). So you may want to avoid having confidential information in the title of your notes.

How to Open Locked Notes

When you want to unlock a locked note in Notes, you can do so using the following steps:

  1. Launch the Notes app.
  2. Open the note you want to unlock.
  3. Click on the View Note button. Alternatively, tap the locked padlock icon on the top-right.
    accessing a locked note on iPhone
  4. If you enabled Touch ID or Face ID at the time of setup, authenticate yourself using them. If not, enter your Notes password to access the note.
    accessing a locked note on iPhone

It’s important to note that unlocking a single note will also unlock all your other locked notes. Similarly, re-locking one note will lock all other notes as well.

How to Re-lock Notes on iPhone

After you’re done viewing or editing a note, you can protect it by locking it again. By default, as soon as you exit Notes and lock your iPhone or iPad, all your notes get locked automatically. However, if you wish to re-lock your notes manually, you can do so as follows:

  1. Launch Notes.
  2. Open the note you want to re-lock.
  3. Tap on the lock icon on the top-right corner.
    re-locking a note on iPhone

Alternatively, you can go to the Notes app’s home page and tap on the Lock Now button to re-lock all your notes at once.

How to Change iPhone Notes Password

If, for some reason, you want to change your Notes password, keep your current password handy and follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Go to Notes > Password.
  3. Click on Change Password.
  4. Enter your existing password against the Old Password field.
  5. Fill in your new password against the Password and Verify fields.
  6. Add a hint to help you remember your password.
  7. Hit Done.

How to Remove Lock From a Note on iPhone

At any point, if you wish to remove password protection from a locked note in the Notes app, the following steps should help you:

  1. Launch Notes on your iPhone.
  2. Open the note from which you want to remove the lock and unlock it using the passphrase, Face ID, or Touch ID.
  3. Tap the More button on the top-right.
    remove lock from a note
  4. Click Remove from the menu.
    remove lock from a note

Protect Your Notes on the iPhone and iPad

Locking down your notes in Notes with a password or biometrics is a useful feature that you should embrace to secure your notes and prevent unauthorized access. This guide should have you covered with all the steps involved in the process, and you should be able to use them to lock notes on both your iPhone as well as iPad.

Be sure to make a note of your Notes password somewhere, like a password manager, and use a strong hint to ensure you never forget your Notes password in the first place. However, if you still forget it, you can reset Notes password on your iPhone to create a new password for your future notes.

FAQs About Locking iPhone Notes

According to Apple, secure notes are end-to-end encrypted using the user-provided passphrase. As such, when you secure a note, a 16-bit key is derived from your passphrase using SHA256 and PBKDF2 algorithms. Similarly, all of the notes attachments are encrypted with AES, and any unencrypted data is deleted.

No, it's not possible to lock a folder in Notes on iPhone as of iOS 15.

No. Currently, Apple doesn't allow you to lock notes with videos, audios, PDFs, or file attachments in them on your iPhone or iPad.

Weekly Newsletter

Sign up for a specially curated Tech Newsletter.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *