How to lock or unlock notes on your iPhone or iPad

You can secure notes that have your personal data, such as financial details, medical information or website logins — with a password, Face ID or Touch ID.

Before you start

If you're signed in to iCloud with a Managed Apple ID, you can't lock your notes.


Use your iPhone passcode or a Notes password to lock notes

Beginning in iOS 16, you have two options to lock your notes. You can lock notes with your iPhone passcode. Or you can create a unique password only for Notes. Both options keep your information secure with end-to-end encryption for iCloud accounts.

If you use your iPhone passcode, you won't have to create and remember a separate password. If you access your iCloud notes on more than one Apple device, use the passcode or login password for that device to unlock those notes.

If you use a unique password for Notes, there's no way to access your locked notes if you forget the password. If you forget this password, you can reset your Notes password and use your new password to lock other notes. If you access your iCloud notes on more than one Apple device, use the same Notes password to lock and unlock all of them.

Apple doesn't have access to locked notes and can't help you access them if you forget your Notes password. If you forget your Notes password, resetting the password won't give you access to previously locked notes. If you reset and then create a new Notes password, that will only allow you to lock other notes.

 

Choose a password for Notes in the Settings app

  1. In the Settings app, tap Notes.
  2. Tap Password.
  3. If you have multiple accounts, tap the account that you want to set a password for.
  4. Follow the prompts to either Use iPhone Passcode or Create Password. If you choose to create a Notes password, set a password hint.
  5. If your device supports it, enable Face ID or Touch ID.
  6. Tap Done.

Choose a password in Notes

  1. Open Notes and go to a note that you want to lock.
  2. Tap the More button , then tap Lock.
  3. Follow the prompts to either Use iPhone Passcode or Create Password. If you choose to create a Notes password, set a password hint.
  4. If your device supports it, enable Face ID or Touch ID.
  5. Tap Done.

 

To lock your notes with your device passcode, you must turn on iCloud Keychain.


iPhone showing how to lock a note 

Lock a note

  1. Open the note that you want to lock.
  2. Tap the More button.
  3. Tap Lock .

After you've locked your note, it will stay open and you'll see the Lock icon at the top of the screen. You can hide the note's contents when you tap the Lock icon .

Find out more about locking notes on Mac

iPhone showing  

Open a locked note

  1. Tap the locked note.
  2. Tap View Note.
  3. Use Face ID or Touch ID, or enter your password.

Your locked notes stay open for several minutes, making it easy for you to jump to another note, copy and paste information from other apps and more. If you close the Notes app or your device goes to sleep, the note locks again.

iPhone showing how to remove a lock 

Remove a lock

  1. Tap the locked note, then tap View Note.
  2. Enter your password, use Face ID or use Touch ID.
  3. Tap the More button .
  4. Choose Remove .

When you remove a lock from a note, it's removed on all of the devices that you're signed in to with the same Apple ID.

You can only lock notes on your device and notes in iCloud. You can't lock notes that have tags, PDFs, audio, video or Keynote, Pages and Numbers documents, or notes that use IMAP to sync with accounts, such as Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail. You also can't password protect notes that you share with someone else. If you want to stop sharing a note, open the note, tap the Add People button , then tap Manage Shared Note > Stop Sharing.


Switch from your Notes password to your iPhone passcode

  1. Make sure iCloud Keychain is turned on. To use your device passcode for locked notes, you must turn on iCloud Keychain.
  2. In the Settings app, tap Notes.
  3. Tap Password.
  4. Select Use Device Passcode.
  5. Use Face ID or Touch ID, or enter your previous Notes password.
  6. Enter your iPhone passcode.
  7. Tap OK. All of your locked notes that used your most recent Notes password are now updated to use your device passcode.

If you choose to use your device passcode to lock notes but later remove your passcode from the device, you can still access the notes you've locked with your passcode.


Change your Notes password

  1. In the Settings app, tap Notes.
  2. Tap Password.
  3. Select the Notes account that you want to change, then tap Change Password.
  4. Use Face ID or Touch ID, or enter your previous Notes password.
  5. Enter a new password and password hint.


Reset your Notes password if you've forgotten it

To unlock a note, you need to enter the password that it's locked with. If you've forgotten your Notes password, Apple can't help you regain access to your locked notes. You can create a new Notes password or use your device passcode instead, but this won't give you access to your old notes. If you set a new Notes password or switch to your device passcode, you can protect any notes that you create going forwards with the new password.

If you have multiple Notes passwords, you won't be able to tell which password you should use when you look at your Notes list. When you open a note locked by an old Notes password but you enter your current password, you'll receive an alert that states you've entered the wrong password with a hint for your old password. If you enter the correct old password, you'll get the option to update that note's password to your current one.

To reset your Notes password:

  1. In the Settings app, tap Notes. Then tap Password.
  2. Select the Notes account that you want to change, then tap Reset Password.
  3. Enter your Apple ID password, then tap OK.
  4. Tap Reset Password again.
  5. Use your device passcode or enter a new password and password hint. Tap Done.
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