In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter 23 a healer uses Alohomora to open the door to the long term residents' ward:

The Healer pointed her wand at the door of the Janus Thickey Ward and muttered, 'Alohomora.' The door swung open and she led the way inside, keeping a firm grasp on Gilderoy's arm until she had settled him into an armchair beside his bed.

Alohomora is described as "the thief’s friend" at Pottermore and is clearly not a spell for a day-to-day tasks.

Why does she use Alohomora? She's not an outsider.

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    Since he's unable to use magic, a magical lock would be the easiest way to keep him inside while still making it trivially simple for a magic-user to get inside. – Valorum Feb 12 '17 at 19:58
  • I don't understand...why wouldn't the Healer use Alohomora to open a door? – CHEESE Feb 12 '17 at 20:02
  • @Valorum Alohomora is used to unlock non-magical locks. – vap78 Feb 12 '17 at 20:05
  • @vap78 - Yes, and doors that are locked magically with the locking spell. Since the ward residents (presumably) don't have their wands, a magical lock would be sufficient to keep them inside. – Valorum Feb 12 '17 at 20:07

Alohamora is the general spell used to unlock a door. It translates as 'the thief's friend' but it is the basic spell for simply unlocking a magically (or otherwise) locked door.

It's opposite is 'Colloportus' which roughly translates to 'glue door.'

Fantastic Beasts shows us that there are alternative unlocking spells.

The ward mentioned is locked because of the nature of the patients, as often happens in those parts of hospitals and old people's homes. So she unlocks it to get in, but it is not related to theft in this context (or most of the time it's used I imagine).


I agree there are instance where wizards and witches have used key.

There was a murmur of interest. They had only ever worked in greenhouse one before — greenhouse three housed far more interesting and dangerous plants. Professor Sprout took a large key from her belt and unlocked the door.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 6, Gilderoy Lockhart

But in the magical world lots of people folks don't do physical work they use magic to get things done. For example Mrs. Weasley uses magic to cut vegetables and stuff:

Mrs. Weasley jabbed her wand at the cutlery drawer, which shot open. Harry and Ron both jumped out of the way as several knives soared out of it, flew across the kitchen, and began chopping the potatoes, which had just been tipped back into the sink by the dustpan.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 5, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes

I think it is lot easier to use magic to lock and unlock door, instead of carrying bunch of keys around.

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