You can’t remove the “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” message without erasing the device.
The act of erasing the device wipes the passcode and factory resets the iPhone.
This means all of your data is deleted.
You can restore your data from a backup or recover it from the iPhone using a special tool.
- Apple recommends you fix the “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” error message using iTunes, or Finder and a computer. You erase the iPhone to remove the passcode then restore the contents from a backup. This is fine as long as you have an iPhone backup. However, you must have previously connected your iPhone to your computer. Otherwise, your iPhone is not trusted and this method will not work.
- If you can’t use iTunes you can still fix the “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” error. You can use a tool to unlock the disabled iPhone. Also, you can use the tool to recover your data if you don’t have a backup.
- If you don’t have a computer you can fix the “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” message. You can use a friend’s iPhone to wipe your device and passcode remotely. Or you could go to the Apple Store and ask them to remotely erase your device. Once complete, you can restore your data from a backup or recover it using a tool.
Table of Contents
Other passcode reset guides… See our guide on what to do if you misremembered the password of your device, or how to reset the passcode on an iPhone without using a computer, or how to unlock an iPad if you don’t know the passcode, or how to unlock iPhone without the passcode.
Fixing “iPhone is Disabled. Connect to iTunes”
Method 1: Unlock a disabled iPhone using iTunes and a computer
This method factory resets your device. This removes the passcode, all the data, and the “iPhone is Disabled. Connect to iTunes” iPhone lock screen message.
Make sure you have a backup or you will lose all your data.
You will need:
- your disabled iPhone
- a Mac or Windows computer
- a USB cable
- iTunes (if your computer is a Mac running macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, or a PC)
Step 1. Put your device into recovery mode so you can reset the iPhone passcode.
You need to put your device into recovery mode. If you are unsure how to do this read our simple guide on recovery mode (iPhone and iPad) to find out how.
Step 2: Reset disabled iPhone, remove the passcode, and restore your data
If you have a Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15 or newer use Finder instead of iTunes
- Open Finder on your Apple Mac
- If you have previously synced your phone with your Mac you won’t be asked for the passcode. Otherwise, you will be asked for the passcode so the Mac can be trusted. If you don’t know the passcode you won’t be able to use this method.
- In the locations area of Finder click your iPhone
- When you see the option to Restore or Update, choose Restore.
- The Finder will download software for your phone. If it takes more than 15 minutes, your iPhone will exit recovery mode and you’ll need to repeat the steps to go back into it again.
- Choose the latest backup to restore.
- Your passcode will be removed and your data will be restored from the backup.
If you have macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, or a PC, use iTunes.
- Open iTunes
- If you have synced your phone with the computer before you won’t be asked for the passcode. However, if it is a computer you have never synced with previously you will be asked for the passcode so the computer can be trusted. As you don’t know the passcode you won’t be able to use iTunes and you should try one of the other methods.
- Wait for iTunes to sync with your device.
- Once synced, click Restore iPhone.
- When finished, the iOS setup screen should pop up on your phone.
- Tap on Restore from iTunes backup on your iPhone.
- Choose the latest backup to restore from.
- Your data will be restored from iTunes using the backup and your passcode will be removed.
Method 2: Unlock a disabled iPhone without using iTunes
If you see the “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” message but have never backed up your device using iTunes or iCloud you can use third-party tools to reset it and recover your data.
LockWiper is a passcode removal tool that works if your face ID or Touch ID won’t be accepted, if you have a broken screen, or if you have simply been locked out after too many attempts.
It works in 3 simple steps using very intuitive software:
- Connect your device to your computer
- Select unlock screen passcode
- The lock is removed
It works well in conjunction with D-Back iPhone Data Recovery. Use D-Back to extract the data after LockWiper removes the passcode. This gives the greatest chance of keeping your data.
Unlock disabled iPhone using LockWiper
- Download and install a free trial version of LockWiper to test it will work with your device.
- Launch the software.
- Select Unlock screen passcode.
- Connect your iPhone to your computer.
Follow the on-screen instructions to unlock your iPhone.
Recover data using D-Back using the
- Download and install a free trial version of D-Back iPhone Data Recovery to see if it will work.
- Launch the software.
- Click the “Recover from iOS Device”.
- Connect your iPhone. Click “Next” after your iPhone is detected.
Select the types of files that you would like to recover.
Click “Scan” to find deleted data from your device.
After the scan is completed, all recoverable data will be listed.
Select the files you want to recover, and then click “Recover” at the bottom right corner.
A pop-up window will let you choose where to save the recovered files.
- The files will be extracted from your device and saved to your computer.
Method 3: Unlock a disabled iPhone if you don’t have a computer
If you don’t have a computer yourself then you should use a friend’s iPhone, iPad, or computer. If you don’t have access to a friend’s device then you can get help from Apple support. Simply pop into any Apple Store and they will help you.
Using the Find My iPhone App
Using a friend or relative’s device you can disable, wipe, and reset your iPhone remotely to factory settings. This will remove the passcode. You can then set it up again from scratch with a new passcode.
- On your friends’ device download and install the Find My App.
- Open the Find My App and have your friend sign in.
- Open the Me tab at the bottom of the screen.
- Then, tap “Help a friend” at the bottom.
- The App will go to iCloud.com.
- Sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID and password.
- On the list of devices at the bottom tap your iPhone.
- Then, click erase iPhone at the bottom right. Make sure the iPhone you are resetting is connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network before you try to erase it or it won’t work.
- Confirm you wish to erase the iPhone and factory reset it.
- Once completed you can go to your iPhone and follow the on-screen prompts to set it up.
- During the setup, you can follow the restore process to recover your data.
For more information on Find My and unlocking Activation Lock, see the Bypass iCloud Activation Lock.
You can perform the following method on a computer, iPhone, or iPad. The steps below are specific to a computer but the same process can be done on other devices:
- On your friend’s computer go to https://www.icloud.com/.
- Sign in using your Apple ID and password.
- Click the Find My iPhone icon.
- Click All Devices at the top of the screen in the middle.
- Choose the iPhone that is passcode locked from the drop-down list.
- Click the Erase iPhone button to remove the iPhone’s passcode and all of its data.
When you set up the iPhone after wiping it you can restore the data from an iCloud backup. All your data, settings, and accounts will be restored from the iCloud backup to your device.
Using the wrong passcode results in a disabled iPhone
If anyone enters the wrong passcode on your iPhone too many times it will be disabled. Initially, it will only be for 1 minute. If the wrong passcode is continually attempted it will be disabled for longer and longer.
Your iPhone is disabled completely when the wrong passcode has been entered 10 times in a row. A message appears on the passcode entry screen. It says “iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes”.
Having a disabled iPhone with this message is worrying. Especially if you don’t use iTunes, or have a computer. Don’t worry there is a solution to this error message.
Read on to find out how to fix your disabled iPhone with or without using iTunes or a computer.
What is a passcode?
The passcode is a 4 or 6 digit code that secures your Apple device. To gain access to your iOS device you must enter the correct passcode. If you get it wrong your device will be disabled to prevent unauthorized access.
With the introduction of Face ID and Touch ID, the passcode has become a secondary way to unlock iPhone or iPad. This means it is easily forgotten.
What does a passcode secure?
The Apple passcode is used to secure:
- iPod Touch
How do you get a disabled iPhone when you don’t try to unlock it?
There are a few ways your iPhone is disabled without you attempting to unlock it:
Pocket typing. When you put your hands in your pocket you can brush the phone. This can trigger the passcode unlock screen. Your hand movements in the pocket can then enter the wrong passcode. This can disable iPhone.
Children. It is common for kids to randomly press keys making your iPhone disabled.
Friends, family, or colleagues. Access to your device may be important when you are not around. This may result in a disabled iPhone when people guess your passcode.
How do you get an iPhone out of disabled mode?
- Connect your iPhone to the computer that you normally use to sync with iTunes, then launch iTunes.
- Right-click on the iPhone icon in the left pane.
- Click Restore to reset your device, exit disabled mode, and restore your iPhone.
What happens when your iPhone is disabled and says connect to iTunes?
Seeing iPhone disabled connect to iTunes message means you have entered the wrong passcode 10 times in a row.
After 6 unsuccessful attempts, iPhone is disabled for 1 minute, after 7 attempts for 5 minutes, after 8 attempts for 15 minutes, and after 9 attempts it is disabled for 60 minutes.
Apple makes it awkward to remove the “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” message for good reason. It prevents someone from stealing, using, or reselling your iPhone.
As this guide shows, you will be able to remove the error message even without a computer, or iTunes. It is easier if you have a backup and the Apple ID password for the iCloud account. Yet, it can still be done even without a backup – although you may lose all your data.