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How to lock your iPhone notes in iOS 16

Locking your notes is a great way to protect your privacy.

ios 16 icon with blurred iphone in background
Image: KnowTechie

The Notes app on the iPhone is a great place to quickly jot down ideas, make a task list, or even a shopping list. Over the years, the Notes app has taken on the role of a personal journal as well.

While you may not care if prying eyes can see your to-do list, it may make you angry if someone “stumbles” onto your private thoughts. Luckily Apple has made it easy to lock your iPhone notes.

If you want to make your iPhone notes private, we’ll walk you through the process below.

How to lock iPhone notes

Before iOS 16, you had to create a password to lock your notes. Having yet another password to remember is annoying, and Apple must agree with that sentiment.

Beginning with iOS 16, you can unlock your notes using your passcode, password, Face ID, or Touch ID.

  1. Open Notes and select the note that you would like to lockiPhone in the Notes app with arrow pointing to new note with purple background

  2. Tap the three horizontal dotsiPhone notes screen with red arrow pointing to the top left three dots

  3. Select LockiPhone in notes screen with arrow pointing to lock icon

  4. Select Use iPhone Passcode or Create PasswordiPhone passcode screen in notes locking a note purple background

  5. Enable Face ID or Touch ID (if you have it set up)iPhone screen with red arrow pointing to enable photo id tab

That’s all there is to locking individual notes.

If you are using iOS 16 or above, I suggest hitting Select iPhone Passcode, so you don’t have to remember another password. This will allow you to use Face ID or Touch ID.

Opening a locked note on iPhone

Being able to lock individual notes is great, but it won’t help you if you aren’t sure how to unlock them. Luckily, unlocking your notes is even easier than locking them.

  1. Open Notes and select the locked note
iPhone screen showing red arrow pointing to new note purple background
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap View Note
iPhone locked screen with arrow pointing at view note purple background
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Use Face ID, Touch ID, or enter your password
iPhone in the passcode screen
Image: KnowTechie

Your locked notes will remain open for a few minutes. This is done so you can jump around or copy and paste items.

If you close the Notes app, wait a few minutes, or your device goes to sleep, your note will automatically lock.

How to remove the lock on a Note

Sometimes you only need to lock a note if you put something temporary in there and want it to be secured. Once you no longer need a lock on a particular note, you can easily remove the lock.

  1. Open your locked note
iPhone screen showing red arrow pointing to new note purple background
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap the three horizontal dots
iPhone locked note with arrow pointing top right on 3 dots purple background
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Select Remove
iPhone note screen red arrow pointing top right remove tab purple background
Image: KnowTechie

If you want to lock the note again, you will have to follow the steps above to lock it.

Resetting your password

It is pretty easy to forget passwords, especially if you haven’t used them in a while. This is particularly true for something like Notes, where you may not enter the app for an extended period.

Once again, this is a straightforward fix. We’ll walk you through the steps below:

  1. Open the Settings app and select Notes
iPhone in the setting screen red arrow pointing to notes purple background
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Select Password
iPhone in notes screen with red arrow pointing to passwords purple background
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Select the Notes account and hit Reset Password
iPhone notes screen arrow pointing to reset password purple background
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Enter your Apple ID password and hit OK
iPhone notes reset password screen with arrows pointing to password and the ok tab in purple background
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Tap Reset Password
iPhone reset password screen with arrow pointing to reset password in purple background
Image: KnowTechie
  1. Use Face ID, Touch ID, or enter your password
iPhone passcode screen for notes in purple background
Image: KnowTechie

Resetting your password is only needed if you set a custom password. If you have iOS 16 or above, choosing Face ID or Touch ID should alleviate most password-related issues.

The beauty is in the simplicity

Apple takes create care in crafting a great user experience for its users. That concept is beautifully demonstrated when you need to lock your iPhone notes.

After the initial setup, it only takes a quick tap to lock or unlock your notes.

Even more, your notes will automatically lock if you forget to do. While Apple isn’t perfect, its stance on privacy should be commended.

Now you can pour your heart out into your notes without the worry of anyone stumbling on it.

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Steve is a tech enthusiast and an avid gamer. He loves writing about, tinkering with, researching, and reviewing the latest technology. When not doing something tech related, he enjoys spending time with his family, running, and hiking.

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