How Do You Unlock An iPhone If You Forgot Your Passcode?

Last updated : 18 November 2014

I now have 2 versions of this article. The one below is suitable for iOS 6 and earlier.

If you have a newer iPhone running iOS 7 or iOS 8 you should look at this article instead.

If you try to unlock your iPhone but you have forgotten your passcode you will end up locking your phone as shown below

how do you unlock an iphone

After too many attempts, your iPhone will say “iPhone is disabled, connect to iTunes”.

iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes

You can unlock an iPhone if you forgot your passcode.

You do this by restoring your iPhone from the last backup – this removes the passcode from your locked iPhone while retaining your data. This may take a few hours to complete.

How to fix this error

The fix you need to unblock your iPhone passcode depends on your circumstances.

How to unlock your iPhone passcode if you have previously synced your iPhone to iTunes

1. Synchronise your iPhone to your computer – you can do this even if you iPhone is locked. This creates a backup of everything on your phone. Obviously this works best if you have access to the computer your regularly sync your iPhone with.

The video below explains how to sync an iPhone if you are unsure.

2. While your iPhone is still connected to your computer reboot your iPhone by holding down the power and home buttons at the same time. As soon as the Apple logo appears, let go of the power button but keep the home button depressed until you see a “Connect to iTunes” message appear on the iPhone screen.

3. On your computer, you will see a message appear in iTunes that a phone in recovery mode has been detected. You will be prompted to choose whether you want to restore your iPhone to factory settings, or restore it from a backup – if you want to put all of your personal information, contacts, messages, etc. back on to your phone, be sure to choose to restore it from the backup you performed in step 1.

The video below shows how the restore process works if you are unsure.

4. Your passcode will be erased and then all of your data will be restored from your backup. Once this process completes, the passcode will have been removed from your iPhone, and you should now be able to access it without any problems.

Did you find this iPhone fix helpful?

If you found this fix helpful please take a moment to tweet, like, or share this article by using the buttons at the top of this page. I’d really appreciate it. :)

Also, if you are feeling extra generous after having your issue solved please leave some encouraging feedback in the comments section at the bottom of the page. I love getting feedback from visitors. It encourages me to find further solutions to those awkward little iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and Mac problems that we all suffer from.

Thanks for taking the time to read my website and I hope to help you again soon!

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About Kevin Craighead

Hi! My name is Kevin Craighead and I am the guy behind NetChimp.

I have been working in the computer industry since 1988 although my love of electronics goes back even further to my first experience of Pong in the late 70's.

  • Winona

    I have my phone saying “iPhone is disabled” but I do not have the computer where I last synced it since I broke my laptop. Trying to sync it with this new computer but it says “iTunes could not connect to the iPhone “Winona’s iPhone because it is locked with a passcode. You must enter your passcode on the iPhone before it can be used with iTunes.” There is not even an option to enter a passcode anymore

  • Pingback: How To Unlock A Ipad If You Forgot The Passcode | Get Your iPad Now()

  • Tony

    Even though I have tried all that you have said to do to try and reset my stepdaughters phone after she forgot her password and security answers it still comes back to putting in the original password which we don’t have. Her PC recognises the phone on iTunes but still will not let us reset the password without the original. Help please.

  • Shannon

    Thanks Kevin!! I have a user at work that turned in their phone locked, and your article looked like the best one to try – perfect! Thanks for writing it – saved me a bunch of time!

    • Clark Heigm

      Hello folks, I believe many of you realized that many AT&T unlocking sites aren’t working anymore, it’s because AT&T doesn’t permit cheap unlocking sites’access to their database anymore. Which caused lots of third party unlocking sites incapable of unlock AT&T anymore, but you can still use ATTIPHONEUNLOCKING, it’s one of the best unlocking site for AT&T.

  • Alex

    I appreciate the article but there is a “slight” problem on my end- I don’t have iTunes on my work computer- and yes- the lovely iPhone from Craigslist is still passcode locked. Is there any other way to wipe it or should I take the phone to an Apple store?

    Thanks again!

  • Nathan

    Thanks for the help!

  • sbe

    OMG!!! Thank you SO much for this info. I was unable to get into my iPhone after my spouse somehow set it up for a passcode. Luckily I had synced it to my iTunes account and was able to restore absolutely everything (nothing lost) with your instructions. You are a true lifesaver!! Mahalo, merci, gracias, vielen dank!

  • Amber grace

    So you can sync your phone while its disabled? And if you do this you can gain acces to your photos ?

    • Kevin Craighead

      I’m not sure what you mean by disabled?

      If you restore your iPhone you should get access to your pictures as long as you have configured your iPhone to backup everything – either via iCloud or by connecting it to a computer and using iTunes.

      I have amended the above article so there are now 3 different ways you can fix this issue that should help you regardless of your circumstance. Of course if you have no backup then you can’t remove the passcode without losing all your data, including photos.

  • Dominique

    Oh my god your a life saver ive been trying to get my iphone working forever now since i seen your wesite it works thanks to you.

    • Mikell

      Was he able to keep everything on his phone?

  • Wei

    Thanks for this web page , I locked my 8 years old son’s old iphone so he can only use it over weekend, but later on I forgot the passcode! been to apple store to get help, tips not work after few trying to connect to itune on 1st laptop, I then google ‘iphone disable’.
    From the tips on web, if the 1st computer not work better try 2nd computer that it has been sync before, so I connect to 2nd computer, it managed to sync and got it enable but then passcode still block, so I google again by typed in ‘iphone unblock ‘ and found this page, got my son’s iPhone on restore at the end… Hopefully it will work again , still have 50 minutes to finish the restore…thank you