Users might have noticed recently that Apple has quietly strengthened its passcode requirements for iPhone or iPads with the Touch ID feature enabled.
Users are now required to enter their passcode when their iDevice has not been unlocked with the passcode for six days and has not been unlocked via Touch ID in the past eight hours.
Macworld first reported the new restriction and also pointed out inconsistencies in Apple’s statement on the topic.
“Users (including this reporter) began noticing this change in the last several weeks, even though an Apple spokesperson says it was added in the first release of iOS 9. However, a bullet point describing this restriction only appeared in the iOS Security Guide on May 12, 2016, according to the guide’s internal PDF timestamp. Apple declined to explain the rationale for this restriction.”
More commonly, iDevices require a passcode unlock if it is restarted or it hasn’t been unlocked in 48 hours. There are other times it is required, for example, when new fingers are added to Touch ID or after several unsuccessful Touch ID logins. It’s unclear what prompted the new restriction or why the period of time for the new lockout was chosen.
Of course, Apple and the security of iPhones have been in the spotlight recently after the high-profile case involving the U.S. government and San Bernardino shooter Syed Ryzwan Farook’s iPhone 5c.