For other uses, see Lockpicking.
"The art of Lockpicking is used to open locked doors and containers faster and with fewer broken lockpicks."
―In-game description

Lockpicking is a skill in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and is one of the six skills that falls under The Thief skill-set. The lockpicking mechanic is more similar to the Fallout 3 system than the Security skill from Oblivion, except that the Dragonborn can attempt to pick a lock of any difficulty regardless of their skill level. To open locks, the Dragonborn must feel for the correct tumbler position with a lockpick while turning a tension wrench in the lock. Caution should be used, as the lockpick will break if too much pressure is applied while it is in the wrong position. The higher the level of the lock, the less pressure allowed before the pick breaks. Taking certain perks in this skill will widen the correct tumbler position for picks, making locks easier to open.

Governing Standing Stone: The Thief Stone


"Go fiddling with any locks around here and we're going to have a real problem."
Hold Guard[src]

Unlike many skills, failure grants advancement. Each time a lockpick is broken, the skill goes up an amount smaller than successfully picking the lock. One way to level the skill is to obtain a large number of picks and deliberately break them in a master lock.

The Dwemer Museum in Understone Keep contains many locked display cases to unlock. A high sneak level is recommended to avoid the guards in the museum, because if they catch you, you will be charged with trespassing. Good places to unlock such containers include the various Jarl chambers, most of which offer a couple of secure cases.

Skill booksEdit

Books that, when read, increase the lockpicking skill. Skill Books only grant a skill boost once per game. For a list of locations, see Skill Books.

Quest rewardsEdit

The following quests increase the Lockpicking Skill:



The following perks become available as the skill levels up:

Perk (Ranks) Requirements Description AddPerk Code
Novice Locks None Novice locks are much easier to pick F392A
Apprentice Locks Lockpicking 25, Novice Locks Apprentice locks are much easier to pick BE125
Quick Hands Lockpicking 40, Apprentice Locks Able to pick locks without being noticed 106259
Wax Key Lockpicking 50, Quick Hands Automatically gives you a copy of a picked lock's key if it has one 107830
Adept Locks Lockpicking 50, Apprentice Locks Adept locks are much easier to pick C3680
Golden Touch Lockpicking 60, Adept Locks Find more gold in chests 5820A
Treasure Hunter Lockpicking 70, Golden Touch 50% greater chance of finding special treasure 105F26
Expert Locks Lockpicking 75, Adept Locks Expert locks are much easier to pick C3681
Locksmith Lockpicking 80, Expert Locks Pick starts close to the lock opening position 58208
Unbreakable Lockpicking 100, Locksmith Lockpicks don't break 58209
Master Locks Lockpicking 100, Expert Locks Master locks are much easier to pick C3682


Lockpicks are easily obtained, as almost all merchants carry at least one of them. Some of the easier ways are:

A Lockpick in Skyrim.

  • The Thieves Guild fence Tonilia carries around thirty picks for sale.
  • The Khajiit Caravans usually have thirty or more picks for sale.
  • Babette in the Dark Brotherhood usually sells between fifteen and twenty picks.
  • General goods traders such as Belethor often carry five to ten picks.
  • Checking chests, bags and other storage units.
  • Killing or pickpocketing bandits or humanoid monsters.
  • The Skeleton Key. This lockpick is unique in that it will never break. The animation for the pick "breaking" will still occur if too much pressure is applied while in the wrong position, but the pick itself remains in the inventory, and can be used an infinite number of times. Unlike with ordinary lockpicks, "breaking" the Skeleton Key does not raise the lockpicking skill. This was removed in patch 1.4, and later added back in patch 1.9.

Lock difficultiesEdit

  • Novice
  • Apprentice
  • Adept
  • Expert
  • Master

Console commandsEdit

Console commands only function on PC versions of the game.

  • Add code for lockpicks is "player.additem A amount." Codes can be shortened by excluding the zeros. For example, to add 5 lockpicks, type player.additem a 5
  • Enter the console. Click on the chest/door to be unlocked, and type "unlock." The chest/door will unlock.
  • Conversely, to lock or re-lock any item, highlight it in console and type "lock x." Whatever number you substitute for x will decide the lock's level - 50 for adept, 100 for master, etc. A lock set to 101 or higher will turn into a 'requires key' lock. Note this command may sometimes not change the popup text to 'locked' on chests, while still applying the lock.


  • Followers can open any chests they come across, including locked chests with a master lock rating, if given a lockpick. Each time the companion opens the chest, a lockpick is destroyed.
  • Investing in certain points of the Lockpicking skill tree can vastly simplify several gaming aspects:
    • The Wax Key perk will eliminate the need to pick locks that have an in-game key. Most story-related locks have a corresponding key, so this saves the player of having to waste lockpicks or risk getting detected while picking.
    • The Quick Hands perk will allow the Dragonborn to pick locks without having to conceal themselves. Some locks can even be picked in front of guards without being considered a crime. The Dragonborn might have to enter sneak mode for this to work, however. Often whenever you attempt to pick any lock while not sneaking and people are aware of you, they will comment as if they saw you pick the lock, but no bounty will be added.
    • The Unbreakable perk will allow the Dragonborn to pick any lock without the fear of breaking the lockpick, though by the time this perk is unlocked, the Lockpicking tree has already been maxed out. Having this perk also renders the Skeleton Key redundant.
  • The perk Locksmith might not work with Master locks, the position of the lockpick might be significantly further away from the "sweet spot."
  • Lockpicks are more common than in some of the older games in the franchise.
  • No matter what skill level the Dragonborn has, any lock may be picked. Essentially, even if no skill points are put into the tree for lock picking it is still possible to pick every master lock encountered. At lower lockpicking skill levels this can be difficult without booster items or perks.
  •  360   Saving prior to a lockpicking attempt can reduce the number of lockpicks broken. After finding the 'sweet spot', the save can be reloaded, and the 'sweet spot' will be in the same position. Depending on lockpicking skill, perks, and lock level, this technique can save a significant number of lockpicks.
    • Sometimes the 'sweet spot' will change every time the Lockpicking screen is exited and then re-entered.
  • Equipping items which fortify lockpicking will stack for a significant advantage, 100 in the skill and the maximum number of booster items removes all need for any perks in the skill tree as even "Master" locks become easy to open.
  • The Skeleton Key is one of the most useful tools for a thief in the land of Skyrim. It is a Daedric Artifact obtained via the Thieves' Guild. At the end of the quest the Dragonborn is asked to return it to the Twilight Sepulcher, and this is required to finish the Thieves' Guild quest line. However, it is beneficial to keep it, at least for a while. The Skeleton Key acts as a lockpick that never breaks, and continues to raise the skill in lockpicking.
    • If looking for locks to pick, it is possible to pick all the locks in a city, wait one in-game day, and then return to the city. All locks will have been relocked, and this process can be repeated indefinitely.
    • "The Heist Job" from Vex is also good for leveling lockpicking. In every Heist mission, there is at least one (often high-level) lockbox and often a few high-level doors to be picked.
  • Once the Dwemer Museum is discovered, the Dragonborn can significantly increase their lockpicking level by picking the locks on the display cases; most of which are Adept and Expert locks.
  • Another good place to level up the lockpicking skill is in the training room of the Thieves Guild, there is one chest to each lock difficulty, Apprentice, Novice, Adept, Expert and Master. The locks re-lock after at least ten in game days spent without entering the Ragged Flagon - Cistern.
  • At the beginning of the game, a lockpicking skill point can be gained by opening the three cells in the torture room and the two others in the following chamber.
  • Note that lockpick durability is reset, so a lockpick that has been almost broken in one lock, will not be broken more quickly if used again.
  •  PS3   Decreasing "lock sensitivity" in the system settings can make lockpicking easier.
  • With practice, lockpicking can become fairly easy without any perks. Obtain the Skeleton Key, find a chest, and practice. Since the Skeleton Key never breaks, it is an excellent way to practice lockpicking.
  • The Treasure Hunter perk is useful in Dwemer ruins, that are filled with chests that will have more treasures like enchanted gear with this perk.
  •  PS3   Lockpicking can be initiated on horseback if the situation arises. There will be no indication to pick the lock but pressing the action button will start the lockpicking process.
  • At higher levels, breaking a lockpick may give a larger skill increase than opening a Novice lock.
  •  PS3   Locks are usually at 12, 9, 3, or halfway between 12/9 or 12/3, especially on the lower levels of locks.
  • Sometimes, the "sweet spot" is at the very top, where you start without the Locksmith perk.
  • In The Elder Scrolls Online, Lockpicking has been changed to be more similar to Security in Oblivion.


This section contains bugs related to Lockpicking (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  ,  NX  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  PC   PS3   The sound effects for the lock may become disabled. This can make picking locks by sound impossible.


Thief (Achievement)
Pick 50 locks and 50 pockets
Points 30 Gamer points
Silver trophy

See alsoEdit

Start a Discussion Discussions about Lockpicking (Skyrim)

  • lockpicking

    7 messages
    • 2601:98B:C000:9C0A:843D:2023:B866:B472 wrote:i know this is a bit late but im having the same problem. You didnt happen to have the skeleton ...
    • If you can't level up with the skeleton key, then you might just have to get rid of it and see if that's the issue.
  • lockpicking

    9 messages
    • Ottoman Hold wrote:What? That doesn't make sense. Do you mean your lockpicking level is maxed out or the trainer is? The Trai...
    • Then you can make it legendary again; of course you can't increase the level past 100.
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