How to hard-lock your iPhone

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If you are asked or demanded by a federal agent or police officer, such as a TSA person at an airport, what should you do? Many people say “never”, but others will disagree. If you do have to, learn how to lock it quickly so it doesn’t leave your hands. This will protect your data.

Cult of Mac reported recently that some states now accept digital IDs in Wallet. We also found an interesting footnote while researching the topic. Literally. John Gruber, a Daring Fireball blogger, shared some details about Apple Wallet and driver’s licenses. He also discusses how to hard-lock an iPhone.

Although “Hard-lock” is not a term commonly used in Apple’s ecosystem, it is simply a way to lock your iPhone’s screen quickly.

Why lock your iPhone so hard?

Gruber explains that Apple has built in security to allow you to show Wallet information but not more than you need. However, if you give an iPhone without a lock screen to someone else, your chances of getting it locked are slim. The person might also keep the phone.

It is possible to lock your phone with just a few clicks. The screen of your iPhone is likely to return to locked status after a set time. You can unlock your phone by using Face ID or Touch ID.

You can force a hard lock, however, and it will not be unlocked by anyone pointing at you or pressing against a sensor.

It will only be unlocked by your passcode

How to lock your iPhone quickly

This is something you need to be able to do in an emergency. This is what happens when a cop demands you hand over your iPhone.

A Face ID phone

  1. To lock your iPhone, press and hold the side button or volume buttons.
  2. To get the “Slide-to-power off” screen, hold the button down for approximately two seconds. On that screen, you will also see the slide for Medical ID or Emergency SOS.
  3. To unlock your iPhone, you will need to enter your passcode.

Use a Touch ID iPhone

  1. Hold the power button down.
  2. To unlock your iPhone, you will need to enter your passcode.

You can make an SOS call to your iPhone and lock it in case of emergency.

  1. Press the power button quickly, five times per row. This works for many models, but check Emergency SOS in


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