Gadgets Lounge

Are we dumb (or) passwords are dumb?

Am I dumb (or) is the process we are using to secure our devices is dumb – you be the judge!

I am in the process of (regretfully) resetting my iPad Pro 2018 11″ to factory settings, as I couldn’t remember the passcode. As per Apple, if you forget the passcode for an iOS device like iPad, the only way to use it again will be to reset it to factory settings, this will erase all the contents in the device.

Normally, I have a mature process to handle this very situation (of remembering passwords)- where my passwords are stored in a password manager and the encrypted data file is protected in a heavily guarded vault deep inside the caves in Swiss Alps.

Yesterday, my son borrowed my iPad Pro to show some pictures to my mom, so I changed the passcode (from say 0000) to something (say 1234) that I can share to him. I keep the same passcode in all my devices (say 0000), like in my PC and my phone. My son returned the iPad when I was just about to sleep, half awake I changed the passcode (from 1234) to the original passcode (0000), or that’s what I thought.

Today when I tried upgrading to the new iPad OS, the device asked for the passcode and I tried 0000, didn’t work.

I still have my Face (so my FaceID is working), my Apple (Apple ID) Password, my fingers (so my fingerprints work but this iPad doesn’t have a reader), my eyes (so IRIS should work), my voice & my Aadhaar card – all are of no use. I can’t use them to reset the Passcode.

Moral of the story-FaceID, Finger Print, etc. are all humbug; Passcode (and Passwords) are the only truth, and, if you forget it even GOD can’t help you.

Follow the instructions from Apple Support here on what to do when you forgot the passcode for your iOS devices. To do this, power off fully (Volume Up + Top right power Button, then push the slider to right), then connect the iPad to a Mac or PC with iTunes with the Top power button pressed till you see the iTunes restore screen. In my case, when I connected the iPad Pro to my iMac 2011 it kept giving me an error #10 when I connected to my PC and tried the restore, it worked flawlessly.

Update 3/October/2019

iPad Air 3 (2019)
iPad Air 3 (2019)

I am setting up a new iPad Air 3 for my wife. I am finding it hard to log in to the Apple #iCloud account in the device and approve the device. I got it all done, but it was unbelievably difficult for someone who is not into Apple ecosystem fully, but a casual user of one of their products alone.

I do have the password, the mobile phone used for two-factor authentication, iCloud encryption key (iMac login password) and etc. It appears Apple is purposefully random in asking the three secrets (iCloud Password, iCloud Keychain password, verification code) and that too over and over again.

The funny part is that my wife hasn’t used an Apple device for last many years, still, the approval screen for the new iPad Air keeps sending the prompt to the last device(?) she used years ago.

The only other Apple devices in our home are my iPad Pro 11 (which she hasn’t logged in at all) and an iMac 2011 (she logged in to this many years ago), our home media server.

P.S.:

  1. Before Apple fanboys explain to me why Passcode can’t be reset because of the encryption in the secure enclave, I understand the technicality. I am just stating a fact here and as computer “engineers” I feel there has to be a better way than this.
  2. Passcodes are a godsend, I had a real-life experience on their importance in this lost and found episode that I went through. With Governments (and Hackers) becoming snoopier than ever, we need them more than ever. My complaint is with the technical process that is we currently having to manage them.
  3.  At times, I feel Tech giants are making a big issue of local encryption and secure-devices. It may be a distraction technique to take the focus away from the fact that they are being careless (think Facebook, think Yahoo) with our data, but pretend to do good for us with our devices. What’s the point of a device that’s super-secure, when it is leaking data all over the internet?. Before you write a comment to this, re-read #2 above. 

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