Please note: This article is still relevant but there is a newer version which you may want to read. You can find it here.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
Forgetting your password or passcode for your iPhone is a nightmare.
But here’s the deal:
It is possible to gain access to your iPhone and not lose any data if you follow the instructions below carefully.
It can be done.
This article will explain what you need to do in simple, easy to follow steps.
If you follow along carefully you should be able to reset the passcode and gain access to your iPhone again.
Hopefully making your nightmare a thing of the past!
Which model of iPhone does this apply to?
These instructions are likely to work for iPhone 3 / 3GS / 4 / 4S / 5. However, the software, called iOS, is the important thing not the model of iPhone you have. iOS 7 was released in 2013 especially for the iPhone 5S and 5C so any iPhone released before that is likely to have iOS 6. One thing to remember is that iOS 7 was compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 so if you have those models you may be running iOS 7 or newer if they were upgraded to the latest version of the software.
Don’t know what version of iOS your iPhone has?
If you don’t know what version of iOS your iPhone has installed then you need to find out.
As a rule of thumb if you have an iPhone 5C or iPhone 5S or newer then it is likely you have iOS 7 or newer installed.
If you have an older model of iPhone then you may have iOS 6 or older.
Newer iPhones came with iOS 7 pre-installed so you will need to read the instructions on how to unlock iOS 7 passcode instead.
What is the unlock process?
You will be asked the following questions:
- The type of unlock you need for your iPhone.
- The version of the software (called iOS) that your iPhone has.
- If the iPhone has been synced to iTunes before.
- Finally, if you have a computer to hook your iPhone up to.
Once you have selected the answer to all the above questions you will be given a simple set of step-by-step instruction of what to do.
If you try to unlock your iPhone but you have forgotten your passcode you will end up locking your phone. This will have after 6 attempts. On iOS 6 the locked screen will look like something like the image below: After too many attempts, your iPhone will say “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
- How to unlock your iPhone passcode if you have never synced your iPhone to iTunes
- How to unlock your iPhone passcode if you don’t have access to a computer
1. Synchronise your iPhone to your computer – you can do this even if your 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.
- Unlock Forgotten Passcode On iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch With No Computer
- Unlock iPhone After Forgetting Passcode (For iOS 7 or Newer)
- How To Unlock, Bypass, Or Remove iCloud Lock For FREE (On iPhone, iPad & Apple Watch)
- How To Unlock Your iPhone Fast
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!
Kevin Craighead is iChimp’s chief technology editor and has been covering Apple’s mobile electronics, security, privacy and the wider technology sector since 2011. He is also a highly regarded Web Designer & Developer.
With a career spanning 30 years which began doing PC support (before the internet existed), Kevin’s technical expertise and experience is highly regarded in a wide variety of fields. His well-researched work resulted in highly regarded and often cited articles such as the infamous ‘Unable to move message to trash’ error on iOS devices.