How to pick locks in Starfield

Starfield Unlock Safe
Screenshot by PC Invasion

Starfield takes place hundreds of years in the future. There’s an old adage that says, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.’ Certainly, that’s true in Bethesda’s space opera. People still carry notebooks and pens around, and they still store things in safes that aren’t always up to the task of keeping away thieves. As you roam space, you might find yourself needing to fulfill that role on occasion. And so, here is our guide telling you how to pick locks in Starfield.

Note: For more guides from ships to crafting to combat, check out our Starfield page.

Starfield – how to pick locks

Most of the better loot you can find in Starfield has been hidden away in one safe or behind a locked door. Rather than take that personally, you can pick locks and grab the loot. To pick locks, you need a digipick and you need to succeed at a mini-game.

Starfield Digipick In Player Inventory

Screenshot by PC Invasion

As you roam the vast reaches of space, you may occasionally come across an item called a digipick. This handy little item grants you one attempt at picking the lock on a safe. To succeed, you must ‘link’ the digipick and then clear the ensuing mini-game. If you fail in your attempt to pick a lock, you can back out but you will use the digipick regardless. Therefore, you’ll want to get good at the mini-game in a hurry.

Related: Best ways to get Digipicks in Starfield

Starfield Linking Digipick At Start Of Minigame

Screenshot by PC Invasion

The lock picking mini-game

As the mini-game begins, you face a series of rings with gaps placed along them. You must clear the rings in the order they are presented. You do this by filling in the gaps using the available pieces to the right. Cycle through the pieces to find the one you like, then activate it. Rotate it so that the pieces fill in some or all of the gaps. Once you activate the first piece, that links your digipick and you are committed to the process.

You then must attempt to place any remaining pieces. Committing to a piece won’t require an additional digipick (you only use a single digipick for each attempt). However, you will use up the ring. Therefore, you need to look at the various gaps you must fill, and then imagine which pieces you will use (and in which order) to clear all rings.

Related: Best Traits in Starfield, ranked

Tips for Advanced, Expert, and Master Locks

As you explore, you will encounter more advanced locks. You should be able to handle ‘Novice’ locks from the start of the game. To try your hand at Advanced locks, spend a skill point on Security in the Tech tree the next time you level up your character. This also allows you to bank ‘auto attempts.’

Naturally, lockpicking becomes an even bigger challenge as you attempt Expert and Master locks. Assuming you’ve upgraded Security, the rings will highlight blue on certain pieces. This indicates that the piece is a guaranteed fit for the ring. It’s a massive help toward whittling down pieces to choose from.

Taking the strategy one step further, however, will ensure more probable success. Take note of the next two or three rings you’ll need to solve next. Do those rings highlight blue as well? If so, the piece you’ve hovered over may not be the best choice for your current ring — you might need it later. Using a piece too early might result in a failed attempt and the loss of a digipick. Rather, look out for pieces that only highlight blue on your current ring; you should definitely find a way to slot it in ASAP.

Starfield is available to purchase on Steam and the Microsoft Store.

Jason Venter
About The Author
Jason Venter is a contributing writer for PC Invasion since 2022 who can trace his love for video games back to the Apple IIe port of Mario Bros. in the late 80s. He remains a diehard Nintendo fan to this day and loves JRPGs, adventure games, and platformers in particular, but he still plays games in most genres and on most hardware. After founding indie gaming site HonestGamers in 1998, he served as an editor at Hardcore Gamer Magazine during its entire print run. He has since freelanced for a variety of leading sites including IGN, GameSpot, and Polygon. These days, he spends most of his time writing game guides and entertaining readers with his fantasy novels.