Lockpicking is a skill that allows you to open locks without the proper key. The Lockpicking skill tree has a total of 11 perks, requiring a total of 11 perk points to fill.
In-game Description: The art of lockpicking is used to open locked doors and containers faster and with fewer broken lockpicks.
 Skill Perks
|Perk||Description||ID||Skill Req.||Perk Req.|
|Novice Locks||Novice locks are much easier to pick.||000f392a|
|Apprentice Locks||Apprentice locks are much easier to pick.||000be125||25 Lockpicking||Novice Locks|
|Quick Hands||Able to pick locks without being noticed.||00106259||40 Lockpicking||Apprentice Locks|
|Wax Key||Automatically gives you a copy of a picked lock's key if it has one.||00107830||50 Lockpicking||Quick Hands|
|Adept Locks||Adept locks are much easier to pick.||000c3680||50 Lockpicking||Apprentice Locks|
|Expert Locks||Expert locks are much easier to pick.||000c3681||75 Lockpicking||Adept Locks|
|Golden Touch||Find more gold in chests.||0005820a||60 Lockpicking||Adept Locks|
|Treasure Hunter||50% greater chance of finding special treasure.||00105f26||70 Lockpicking||Golden Touch|
|Locksmith||Pick starts close to the lock opening position.||00058208||80 Lockpicking||Expert Locks|
|Unbreakable||Lockpicks never break.||00058209||100 Lockpicking||Locksmith|
|Master Locks||Master locks are much easier to pick.||000c3682||100 Lockpicking||Expert Locks|
 Skill Usage
To pick a lock, you need at least one lockpick. Press the use/activate control when you are pointed at a lock and the message "Unlock (object or location)" appears, along with the lock's difficulty level, ranging from "novice" to "master".
The lockpicking interface will then appear with a lockpick inserted vertically (at "12 o'clock"). The lower area of the interface identifies controls for "Rotate Pick" and "Rotate Lock".
To open the lock, you must rotate the pick to a randomly determined correct position, and then rotate the lock to open it. If the pick is close enough to the correct position, the lock will move, and the closer it is to the correct position, the further the lock will rotate. If the pick is far enough from the correct position, the lock will not move at all. The lockpick will weaken with each unsuccessful attempt to rotate the lock, and will eventually break. Lockpicks will break more quickly when the target lock is more difficult compared to your Lockpicking skill.
You can pick a lock of any level (novice, apprentice, adept, expert, or master), regardless of your current Lockpicking skill level. However, picking a high-level lock when you have a low Lockpicking skill is very difficult. Attempting to pick a master-level lock, for example, with a Lockpicking skill of 20 is especially difficult, and may require very large supplies of lockpicks and patience.
Three factors define lock difficulty:
- More difficult locks have a narrower (more precise) correct lockpick position.
- More difficult locks have a narrower zone on either side of the correct position which will move when activated.
- More difficult locks will break lockpicks more quickly upon unsuccessful attempts.
Some locks cannot be picked. When this is so, a message will appear indicating that a key is needed.
- The correct position for lockpicks is randomly set each time you open the lockpicking interface. If you attempt to pick a lock, exit the interface, then attempt it again, its correct position will be set to a new location (unless it's reset to the same position by coincidence).
- You can generally predict the correct position for lower level locks, because they are usually in one of only several likely positions. For novice locks, this will be around the vertical point, at around a 45-degree angle to the left or right, or at around a 90-degree angle to the left or right. Apprentice level locks tend to have correct positions at those same angles, or halfway between them (i.e., at vertical, 22.5 degrees to the left or right, 45 degrees to the left or right, 67.5 degrees to the left or right, or 90 degrees to the left or right). Try these positions first on these locks, and use the opportunity to get a feeling for how lockpicking works.
- When trying to guess the angle on harder locks, don't look at the end of the pick that's inside the lock. Instead, look at the far end of the pick, or the point at which the pick crosses the edge of the lock graphic. This will move much further as you rotate the pick, so it's easier to see the difference in angle and make fine adjustments more accurately.
- With the Unbreakable perk, lockpicks will never break. The Skeleton Key also does not break.
Opening up the lockpicking interface and making unsuccessful attempts are not crimes, just as activating the pickpocket command without taking anything is not a crime. Successfully lockpicking a door or chest owned by someone else does constitute a crime, so if you do so and it is witnessed, you will incur a bounty (unless you have the Quick Hands perk). If you're trying to pick a lock unnoticed, you can get into sneak position so you can determine if anyone can see you. If you activate an owned lock while detected, and then break a lockpick, the lockpicking window will close, the lock will reset, and you will have to try again.
Other ways to open locks:
- The Tower Stone confers the ability to open a lock (except master-level locks), once per day.
- You can ask a follower to open a lock for you, although if they are detected the crime will be attributed to you.
- Some locks have keys.
- In particular, the harder the lock, the more likely there is a key available. Expert and especially Master locks are very likely to have a key somewhere.
- NPCs sometimes carry keys that will open locks, so an alternative way through a lock is to pickpocket such a person. Residents often carry keys to their houses.
- Boss-level enemies in dungeons may carry a key to an important door or chest.
 Skill Increases
- Successfully picking a lock will give a significant skill increase; and more difficult locks yield higher skill increases. Successfully picking a lock that you have previously successfully picked (such as a door that re-locks every night) will not grant any further skill progress.
- Breaking a lockpick will give a small amount of skill progress.
- An easy way to level up Lockpicking if you have a large quantity of spare picks is to find a lock not previously successfully picked that does not unlock at the default position and improvise a method to having the key/button held down. The pick will continuously break and Lockpicking will continuously gain small amounts of skill progress for as long as it is allowed to go on, until you run out of picks, or Lockpicking reaches 100. To speed up this process, activate the Thief Stone.
- At a Lockpicking skill near 100, it takes about 5 minutes and 100 failed (broken) lockpicks per skill level but the Lockpicking skill (from breaking lockpicks) advances much faster at lower levels. Therefore, buy all the lockpicks you can, and don't worry if they break. Keep in mind that lockpicks weigh nothing, and therefore will not overencumber you if you carry a large number of them. One strategy to level Lockpicking is to deliberately break your lockpicks, since you gain a small bit of skill progression per break. However, be careful if you choose to do this, as you may later run across a locked chest, deep in a cave or dungeon, and realize you broke your lockpicks to level earlier and now have no lockpicks to unlock the chest.
 Character Creation
The following races have an initial skill bonus to Lockpicking:
- +1 Lockpicking reward (as well as +1 Light Armor) from Shahvee (Windhelm) for completing the quest Find Shahvee's Amulet of Zenithar inside <Dungeon>.
- +1 Lockpicking reward (as well as +1 to all other stealth skills) from Inge Six Fingers (Bards College) for completing the quest Finn's Lute.
- +5 Lockpicking reward (as well as +5 to all other stealth skills) by selecting "The Path of Shadow" from the Oghma Infinium after completing the quest Discerning the Transmundane.
One achievement is related to Lockpicking:
- In the Thieves Guild Headquarters, you can find a training room that contains a series of locked chests of different difficulty level, which can be used for leveling your Lockpicking skill. All but the Novice level one will reset.
- Followers can pick locks for you, regardless of lock difficulty, their lockpicking skill level, or even if they have any lockpicks in their inventory.
- If you have explored most of the places in the world, be careful before making the skill legendary. Because most locks you've previously successfully picked (such as a respawned locked chest) will not give you any experience from picking them again, it might be quite difficult to increase your skill.
- If this is the case, your best bet for re-leveling lockpicking is to make use of the two trainers and the lockpick breaking method.
- Using potions and equipped armor with the Fortify Lockpicking effect exceeding a combined value of 100%, renders all locks non-pickable.
- This bug is fixed by version 1.3 of the Official Skyrim Patch.