Wondering how to pick locks in Starfield? Then you have come to the right place. Learning how to pick locks in Bethesda’s game will get you through locked doors, open locked objects, and crack safes to hoover up some of the Settled Systems’ best gear and rewards. They’re also a fantastic way to earn XP.
Though the first instance of lockpicking comes with a tutorial, the wording certainly left us scratching our heads when we played through the game as part of our Starfield review. If you’re having a tough time figuring out how the system works, we’ll walk you through how to lockpick in Starfield. If you’re after more early game pointers, read up on how to dock in Starfield and how to change weapons in Starfield.
How to pick locks in Starfield
Lockpicking in Starfield works slightly differently from what you may be used to in previous Bethesda games like Fallout or Skyrim. Given you’re in deep space, it won’t be as easy to find bobby pins for example to help you with picking locks.
To access lockpicking on a safe, storage box, door, or any other lock in Starfield, you’ll need to have a Digipick. Each lockpicking attempt costs a Digipick. You’ll find you can loot them fairly readily across the cosmos, typically in space stations, bases, and in larger settlements.
Starfield Digipicks tend to spawn near safes or locks, so if you don’t have one on you, scout around the area near the lock and you should find one. We do recommend stocking up regularly by buying them at vendors though to avoid any hassle. The New Atlantis shops are often a good place for this.
There are different levels of locks, ranging from easy ones that won’t test your theft skill, to more complex locks that require a lot more thought. From the start, you’re able to pick Novice-level locks, but as you progress and you come across more complex locks, with more rings, so you’re going to need your Security Skill rank. Investing a skill point into each of the ranks will allow you to tackle Advanced, Expert and Master types of locks.
Once you have a Digipick, interact with the safe you want to get into to bring up the lockpicking screen to see the lockpicking mini-game. Each lock is presented as several layered circles. For novice locks there are typically two layers, rising to three layers for expert locks, and four for master locks. Alongside the circles are a selection of keys – the small circles on the right of the screen with small white marks in different configurations.
Follow the below steps to pick the lock:
- To pick the lock, rotate and line up the white marks so that they slot into the open slots on the ring layer on the left of the screen
- Once they’re lined up, press ‘Slot Key’ to fill in the empty slots one by one
- Depending on the lock, you may need to use several keys to unlock the first layer, before progressing to the next layer and repeating the process with the remaining keys
Bear in mind you’ll need at least one digipick to kick off the lockpicking minigame to start.
How to pick locks quickly
Though it might sound counterintuitive, the key here (pun intended) is patience. The difficulty is that a key that may open the first layer, might be needed for subsequent layers. For this reason, it’s worth trying to solve the entire lock mentally before doing so on screen to avoid failing and wasting a Digipick. You do get a few undos to help. If you are struggling with lockpicking, you can build up some auto attempts that show you what key fits the correct ring.
If lock picking is starting to cause some issues, the good news is there are a number of Starfield mods that tackle and improve some of the game’s mechanics, so we think there will soon be one available that allows Starfield fans to skip this mini-game altogether.
Lastly, keep in mind that some locks may actually have keys. If you encounter some master locks early on in the game for example, expect that there might be a different solution than trying to force your way through such a difficult pick so early in the game.
How do auto-attempts work?
An auto-attempt can be used one time to slot a key into the correct spot of a lock. While this is not really necessary when it comes to Novice locks, for Advanced locks and higher, it can be a lifesaver. For each rank in the Security skill, you’ll be able to store one extra auto-attempt:
- Rank 1 – two auto-attempts
- Rank 2 – three auto attempts
- Rank 3 – four auto attempts
- Rank 4 – five auto attempts
So long as you have a space free to store an auto-attempt, you will receive one auto-attempt back every time you successfully pick a lock. This means you probably won’t have more than a couple for most locks, so it’s best to try and save them for only the locks you’re really struggling with.
Is lockpicking worth it?
Lockpicking is usually worth the effort in Starfield. With more difficult locks like master locks often guarding some serious loot. If you’ve got the time and the digipicks, make an effort to unlock safes or rooms where you can. Even if the stuff inside isn’t directly useful, as long as you know how to sell items in Starfield, you can turn a good profit.
For now, though, this covers how to lockpick in Starfield. If you’re after an early game suit and ship combo, check out the Starfield Lair of the Mantis puzzle solution, or learn how to persuade Leah Casler to hand over the branch in Starfield. Otherwise, we have dedicated Starfield planet, Starfield skills, and Starfield companion guides to help you get to grips with the basics.
Starfield lockpicking FAQ
Is there a trick to picking locks in Starfield?
Yes. We advise solving the puzzle mentally, before doing so on screen. Doing this will make the entire process easier, and make sure you’re not wasting Digipicks.
Is lockpicking in Starfield hard?
The Starfield lockpicking minigame certainly isn’t a walk in the park, but in time you’ll learn to master it. Follow our tips in this article to see more success sooner.