PIN Code Definition & Meaning

A PIN code is a series of numbers, typically four or six digits, that is required by applications, networks, or devices for access and authorization. The most basic example is a smart phone password, typically known as a passcode, but sometimes referred to as a PIN. This is the six-digit number that a user sets and must enter every time they access their phone after it’s been asleep.

PIN codes are frequently used for multi-factor authentication. Businesses often require a user to enter a PIN code after they try to change an account password: a verification or text will go to the email address or number associated with the account, and the user must then enter the PIN that was sent to their contact information. As multi-factor authentication has become more necessary for security maintenance, organizations may require a PIN code for activities even more common than changing passwords, such as entering a computer network for the first time.

The four-digit code required when using a debit card is known as a PIN code. The second added step of authentication gives the card transaction another layer of security, though it’s certainly not impenetrable.

Though PIN codes are helpful for authentication, biometrics such as facial recognition are an additional method of verifying identity.

PIN codes for streaming and casting

For devices that stream or cast media content to other screens, a PIN code is a password required to confirm and permit a device to impose its content on another screen. In Chromecast, Google‘s system for casting media content from one device to another, users can enable Guest mode to allow an outside device to cast its content. The guest must then use a four-digit PIN once prompted. The PIN might sync automatically based on brief voice commands, or the guest may have to enter it manually. Then the guest can begin casting a video or music to the other device.

Apple TV‘s AirPlay feature, often used for business conference rooms, allows devices to stream content to an Apple TV. After navigating to Settings for AirPlay’s Conference Display feature, a user can choose to require a PIN code each time a device tries to share its content with the TV. AirPlay allows both screen mirroring and streaming.






Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a contributor for websites such as Webopedia.com and Enterprise Storage Forum. She writes about information technology security, networking, and data storage. Jenna lives in Nashville, TN.

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