Apple gave us a peek into what novel features its next-gen operating system iOS 9 is expected to bring at the WWDC. One such feature is the six-digit passcode, which will replace the existing four-digit one.
Apple intends to deploy the six-digit passcode for unlocking iPhones and iPads that will run on the impending iOS 9.
With the introduction of this new measure, Apple will enforce stronger security in a bid to ward off brute-force attacks where thieves look to unlock stolen devices by guesstimating plausible four-digit passcodes. While iOS is designed in such a manner that any iPad or iPhone, which has over 10 incorrect password inputs, continuously will be bricked, security researchers have managed to find a workaround for this safety measure.
With the shift to a six-digit passcode, the possibility of the probable combinations increases manifold and, therefore, makes it more secure and difficult to crack.
Increasing the minimum number of digits to six means that there will be 1 million possible combinations rather than 10,000, will be "a lot tougher to crack," says Apple on its website.
iOS 8 users currently have the option of setting a longer passcode than the standard four-digit one. The password can also be alphanumeric.
The iOS 9 passcode alteration will be applicable for iDevices that tout the company's in-built fingerprint scanner, or essentially the Touch ID. With the Touch ID feature, one does not need to key in the passcode, which can be annoying at times. However, when the device is required to be restarted, one needs to input the passcode in devices with Touch ID.
With the six-digit passcode set to become the norm for Touch ID technology compatible iOS 9 devices, the only downer is people will have to key in two extra digits.
However, the move may not go down well with government authorities in the U.S. as they are wary of stringent security measures, especially encryption of data, which makes it tougher to gather data for investigations that are critical and time sensitive such as terrorism-oriented incidents.