Lockpicking has always been a bit hit-or-miss in Bethesda games, from Oblivion's obnoxiously difficult lockpicking to Fallout 4's far easier bobby pin-manipulating mechanic. Starfield has abandoned the tactile lockpicking styles of the past and instead, you'll need to complete a puzzle if you want to access locked safes, doors, and more.
Before attempting to unlock anything, I recommend doing a quick save as you can easily waste digipicks, Starfield's version of lockpicks. With that warning out of the way, here's how to use them.
Where to find digipicks in Starfield
To start breaking into things, you'll need to get your hands on some digipicks. Digipicks are Starfield's version of bobby pins and lockpicks, and you'll need to find a bunch of them and complete a minigame of sorts if you want to open doors.
Digipicks can be found as random loot, on NPCs—both dead or alive—and in various storage containers. Keep an eye out for them as well in the environment: in lockers, scattered on top of desks and tables, and tucked onto shelves.
Where to buy digipicks in Starfield
Starfield's numerous loot sources won't always be enough to keep the dedicated space thief supplied, especially early on. Fortunately, the numerous vendors across the Settled Systems can be tapped to provide you with digipicks if you can seek them out. Don't forget, you can always use a convenient chair to wait 48 hours for vendors to restock, if you really need more digipicks than they have. Here are some of the vendors who will carry them, usually between two and seven at a time:
- Emerson Shepherd: Shepherd's General Store in Akila City
- Kolman Lang: Trade Authority in Neon
- James Newill: Newill's Goods in Neon
- Gel: 1-of-a-Kind Salvage on Niira, Narion System
- Amoli Bava: Jemison Mercantile in New Atlantis
- Manaaki Almonte: Trade Authority in Cydonia on Mars
You can also find several vendors at the headquarters of the Crimson Fleet, on the station known as The Key, including a Trade Authority location and a pair of 'general' stores. Of course, that's assuming you've decided to side with the pirates, you scallywag.
How to pick locks in Starfield
Even if you haven't picked any security-based skills or traits, you'll be able to unlock safes and doors at novice levels with digipicks.
To unlock something, you need to solve a series of simple—but poorly explained—puzzles. The digipicks have various pins that you need to slot into gaps in the lock. Each lock has multiple circular layers, and you'll need to fill each layer's gaps before you can move on to the next layer. You can rotate the digipick around to fit through the slots, and can choose between different pin configurations depending on how many digipicks you have. This is where things get a tiny bit tricky because it's possible to select the wrong pin configuration, even when it fills some gaps in the lock. You might not realise this until you're down to your last option. You can undo a move, but this will cost you another digipick.
It's also worth noting that exiting a lockpicking attempt will cost you yet another digipick, which is why I suggested you save beforehand. You can upgrade the Security skill which will improve your lockpicking abilities, which you in turn improve by picking more locks. A higher security skill also gives you more auto-attempts, letting you skip these sometimes frustrating puzzles. You'll need to put a point into stealth if you want to be able to sneak effectively and lockpick without getting caught.
Backgrounds like Bouncer, Cyber Runner, Cyberneticist, and Industrialist come with a point in Security before you even begin, letting you attempt advanced locks right from the off. It's also worth noting that, with some cabinets that house spacesuits, you can look at the spacesuit and loot it without having to tamper with the lock. Thanks, Bethesda!
Unlike other Bethesda RPGs, where one lockpick can be potentially used multiple times, each lock in Starfield will force you to use up at least one digipick, no matter what you do. So you'll definitely want a few of them in your inventory before you head off on your next space adventure.