You have found your way to this page because you have forgotten your passcode on your iPhone.
Worse than that, you are worried that you may lose all your data.
So far, I expect you have tried to unlock your iPhone using the wrong passcode. Your heart sunk, when you tried 6 times and got the ‘This iPhone is disabled’ message.
You may even have got as far as using 10 attempts and seen a message saying your iPhone has been disabled and you must connect it to iTunes to fix it.
Don’t panic – you can unlock an iPhone if you forgot your passcode and had 10 attempts.
Note: Apple devices have multiple locks
Forgetting your passcode is one type of lock. Another one occurs when you buy or are given a used Apple device. This will prevent you from EVER setting it up as your own, and using it all. You can prevent this issue by reading my advise on the iCloud activation lock.
Consequences of wrongly guessing your iPhone passcode
|No. of tries||Consequence|
Your iPhone is disabled for 1 minute
Your iPhone is disabled for 5 minutes
Your iPhone is disabled for 15 minutes.
Your iPhone is disabled for 60 minutes
You get the message “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” OR your iPhone is completely erased if Erase Data is turned on in Settings > Touch ID & Passcode (or Settings > Passcode for iPhones without Touch ID).
iPhone passcode FAQ
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 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. When you connect your iPhone to the computer you may get this error message: “iTunes could not connect to the iPhone because it is locked with a passcode. You must enter your passcode on the iPhone before it can be used with iTunes.”
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.
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.