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I don't want to have a different passcode for each device (iPhone, iPad, MacBook, ...), because I would either risk to forget them or I would be pressured to make them simple passcodes. Same argument applies to having a different device passcode vs Apple ID password.

So, a simple alternative is to set all my device passwords the same as my Apple ID password. I can then afford to have a complex password (since it's just one), that I can remember.

Can someone weigh in on whether this is a good idea, or not? Pros and cons? I have not found any "official" Apple advice on this, and no recommendation on setting Apple ID password different from device passcodes.

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I'm not sure this wouldn't just be considered 'opinion-based' but I'd say it depends on your chances of ever being seen to enter them.

I have the same passcode for all my devices, which is not coincidentally the same as the PIN I've had on my bank ATM card since about the mid 1980s. My multiple historical Apple IDs have the same long, complex password as each other. All the Macs in the house use the same password [different from Apple ID].

In practical terms no-one will ever see me enter my passcode when I'm out & about - as I have Touch ID. The same way they will never see me enter my Mac password… because there's no-one ever here but me when it happens. Same for my Apple IDs.

If you are in an environment where people could be snooping over your shoulder, you need to be more circumspect - but this could be just make sure no-one is looking..

I feel almost bound to include this cautionary note from from XKCD -

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Image from https://xkcd.com/538/ the license to which appears to allow me to inline here.

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Your Apple password SHOULD be unique from your device passcode(s).

Why?

  • Prevent an attacker who obtains your device and passcode from accessing your Apple account.
    • NOTE: An attacker can currently (2023) reset an Apple password with only the device and the device passcode, but this process will take longer and require a more sophisticated attacker.
  • Prevent an attacker who obtained your passcode from having your iCloud password.
    • If you don't have 2FA on, they could access your account. If you do, they could continuously send auth requests to your devices in hopes you would accept one of them ("MFA Fatigue").

You SHOULD use unique device passcodes.

  • Make them memorable (i.e. random words).
  • Back them up in a password manager.

Why?

Prevent an attacker in possession of your device passcode from accessing additional devices.

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  • I'm not sure I understand. You're suggesting to store the device passcode in iCloud Keychain? Also, even with biometrics, the devices routinely ask for the passcode (for instance iPhone asks for the passcode at least once a day, sometimes more often).
    – a06e
    May 6, 2023 at 22:10
  • iCloud Keychain would work, or any other Password Manager. Choose memorable device passcodes.
    – JBallin
    May 7, 2023 at 3:45
  • So in light of appleinsider.com/articles/23/02/24/…, there is currently no real advantage to having distingt device / Apple ID passwords, is there? A single device passcode is sufficient to access the whole thing.
    – a06e
    May 7, 2023 at 8:53
  • This suggests it's just better to have a single strongest password for everything.
    – a06e
    May 7, 2023 at 8:54
  • I tried to add more detail about the benefits. I agree that attack makes it less valuable to have unique passwords, but there's still value to it (added to answer). Ultimately the trade off of convenience and security is up to you.
    – JBallin
    May 7, 2023 at 23:55

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