Passcode Requirement: You must change your iPhone unlock passcode within X minutes

Today I unlocked my iPhone and immediately got a strange message that said: “Passcode Requirement: You must change your iPhone unlock passcode within 60 minutes.” It also offered two options: “Later” and “Continue”.

As you might have experienced, when I tapped on “Later”, the next time I unlocked my device, the message still persisted with the countdown timer.

So I was wondering “What causes this?”, “Why my device forces me to change my current passcode?”, “Is this a sign of getting infected with malware?”. You know, I had never seen this kind of message before so I was a little concerned.

I decided not to change the passcode instantly. So I just dismissed the message and continued using my iPhone to see what would happen. After an hour, nothing happened – my device still worked. Weird!

I wanted to know why this prompt appeared. So I did read lots of articles and threads on Apple’s support forum that are related to the issue. It turned out there are several reasons for iOS devices to ask to change the passcode within a given amount of time.

If you’re facing the same issue, then let’s take a look at them.

1. Your current passcode is too obvious

Here are some code patterns that are too obvious (but this is just a sample list. If your passcode is a simple sequence of number, that is most likely your problem):

  • any 4 numbers that are the same (“0000” – “9999”)
  • any 4 numbers in sequence (“1234,” “4568,” etc,)
  • any binary pattern (“0101,” “0011,” “1001,” etc.)
  • any sequence with a simple pattern (“2468,” “1357,” etc.)

2. Microsoft Exchange can force a passcode on your iPhone

You may disable your Microsoft Exchange mail accounts or temporarily remove them from the device to see if the Exchange server was sending the message or setting any requirements.

3. Configuration Profiles

If you have configuration profiles installed on your device, it can trigger this Passcode Requirement prompt. To check these profiles, go to Settings > General > Profiles and Device Management. From there, delete the configuration profiles that are suspicious or not necessary.

Note that the Profiles and Device Management option is visible only if you’re having at least one installed profile.

Have you checked them all?

If yes and you cannot apply any of them to fix your issue, then keep reading because I was likely having the same issue as you.

In my case, I was using a 6-digit passcode and I don’t think it is simple. I had never ever used Microsoft mail service, nor installed any configuration profiles on my iPhone.

And after a while, the annoying message showed up again.

I decided to contact Apple support.

They told me that it was not any kind of malware or virus. They also recommended that I should

  • Ignore the pop-up.
  • Go to Settings > Passcode and change the current passcode
  • Go to Settings > Safari > clear history and website data

When I asked them for an explanation, they just replied ambiguously that the “Passcode Requirement” prompt was likely related to websites I’d visited before in Safari and resetting Safari history and website data could resolve the problem.

Eventually, I deleted the history and website data in the Safari browser as the support guy recommended. I also performed a soft reset by pressing the Home and Power button for about 15 seconds (If you’re using iPhone 7, try the lower Volume button instead of the Home button). Surprisingly, I was still using the old passcode but the message was gone and I haven’t seen it again until now.

So I think you’re able to fix this just by simply following what I did above. On the other hand, other iPhone owners claimed that when they hit Continue to change the passcode, they typed the old string but iOS still accepted and didn’t show the prompt anymore.

Whether it is a bug or malware, it’s still a mystery and I can’t say anything for sure right now, sadly.

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What if it also seems to have “forgotten” other passwords/passcodes? For example, I am also being prompted to re-enter e-mail passwords and my wifi password, all which were once saved.