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How To Unlock iPad Air Without Passcode

This ultimate guide will explain how to unlock iPad Air – even without Touch ID, or if you have forgotten the passcode.

This easy-to-follow article will explain the following iPad Air passcode removal topics:

  • Free passcode unlocking techniques.
  • How to keep all your data after a passcode reset without a restore.
  • Passcode unlocking without a computer.
  • Recommended software tools.
  • How to use recovery mode.
  • The official passcode unlocking procedure.
  • Unlocking iPad Air without Touch ID or a password.
  • How to use Touch ID.
  • How to factory or hard reset iPad Air without the password.
How To Unlock iPad Air
Above: iPad Air 2022

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Related: How to bypass iCloud Activation on iPad Air.

Let’s start with some basic information on the iPad Air and the screen lock system.

There are some large differences that make the iPad Air model unique beyond its smaller form factor. This is why we produced this dedicated guide for iCloud unlocking this model of tablet.

Depending on the version of iPad Air you own, it can include Touch ID or a passcode.

 

iPad Air screen locking and unlocking methods (2013-to date)
ModelReleasedPasscodeTouch ID
iPad Air (1st generation)2013YesNo
iPad Air 2 (2nd generation)2014YesYes – on Home button
iPad Air (3rd generation)2019YesYes – on Home button
iPad Air (4th generation)2020YesYes – on Home button
iPad Air (5th generation)2022YesYes – on Side button

When you get the 4 or 6-digit passcode wrong too many times your device will be disabled. After 10 attempts in a row, your iPad will be permanently locked and an on-screen message will say “iPad is disabled. Connect to iTunes”.

The official iPad passcode reset method Apple recommends erases all the data on your device. This is fine if you have a backup that you can use to restore the contents back to the device.

But what if you don’t? Will all your data be lost forever?

Perhaps not.

There are some techniques you can use to prevent data loss and recover erased information from your iPad Air in the next section.

Unlock iPad Air without a restore or backup

As mentioned earlier, if you follow the official instructions from Apple to reset a forgotten passcode then all your data will be deleted from your iPad Air. The idea is that you recover the erased contents from a backup.

But what if you don’t have a backup?

There are a couple of solutions you can try – one free and one paid – that will remove the passcode and recover the missing data.

Free method

There is a free unlock method that worked with older iPad models that may work on the iPad Air.

It has quite a low success rate, but if you want a free way to unlock your passcode and keep your data – even without a restore – then it may be worth trying.

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This technique uses a software tool called IPSW to hack your iPad Air.

As shown in the video below, it is downloaded onto a PC and used to unlock the passcode without erasing the data.

For a step-by-step guide on this method and further information, see how to reset your iPad Air passcode for free without data loss.

Paid method

If the free technique doesn’t work there is also a few paid software tool you can use to unlock the passcode and restore the lost data. You will need a computer for these to work.

Paid passcode removal and data recovery tools
ToolRatingFeatures
#1 LockWiper★★★★★Removes locks such as passcode, Face ID,  Apple ID, MDM lock, & screen time lock.
#2 D-Back Data Recovery★★★★★Recovers erased data from an iOS device, iTunes, or iCloud – including photos, messages, and more…

#3 Ultdata

★★★★Recovers 35 deleted file types from iOS devices, iTunes, or iCloud backups.

Regardless of the specific tool used, the paid passcode unlocking process is as follows:

  1. Download and install the data recovery tool of your choice. There are free trial versions available – so you can try them out before you buy them.
  2. Before you wipe your device, test the data recovery program on your iPad Air to see if it will get back deleted files. If so, move on to the next step. If not, try the other tool.
  3. Download and install the passcode removal tool.
  4. Use the passcode removal tool to unlock the iPad Air screen. The tablet’s data will be wiped.
  5. Recover your data from the wiped device using the data recovery tool you successfully tested in step 2.

For more in-depth instructions on unlocking iPad Air without a backup or restore, see Reset iPad Air passcode without a restore.

Reset iPad Air without a computer (for free)

You can still unlock your iPad Air when it is passcode locked, even if you don’t own a computer. For example, you can use a friend’s smartphone, use another Apple device you own or even ask for help in an Apple Store:

  • Ask for help from a friend, family member, or colleague. Borrow their smartphone, tablet, or computer to go online using a web browser and log in to your iCloud account and erase the passcode from there.
    For more information on accessing your iCloud account, see How to log in to iCloud.
  • Another option is to download the Find My app onto another Apple device you own, such as an iPad. You can use the app to remotely erase your iPad Air and remove the passcode.
  • A third option is to pop into your nearest Apple Store or Apple reseller and ask them to help you perform the passcode reset using one of their computers. 

For more detailed instructions on what to do, see How to unlock the passcode on an iPhone when you don’t have access to a computer.

Passcode unlocking with Find My and iCloud (for free)

When you use Find My or iCloud to unlock your iPad Air it will erase all the data.

To avoid losing recent information permanently, it is important to check when the last iPad backup was done on your device.

You can unlock the passcode via iCloud using any internet-connected smartphone, tablet, or computer as follows:

  1. On another computer, tablet, or smartphone, open a web browser and go to iCloud.com and sign in.
    iCloud signin
  2. If you have Two Factor Authentication turned on, you will be prompted for your authentication code.
  3. Once signed in, click Find iPhone.
  4. All the Apple devices you own will be located.
  5. Once your devices have been located, they will appear on a map.
  6. At the top of the screen, select All Devices and select your iPad Air from the list.
    Select device
  7. Next, click Erase iPad to remove the passcode. This process will also remove all the data from your iOS device.
    erase iPhone
  8. On the dialog box that pops open, confirm you want to erase the device.
  9. The passcode and all the data will be removed from your iPad.
  10. Once erased, set up your device and restore your iPad data.

Using recovery mode to reset iPad Air (for free)

The officially recommended method to unlock and reset the passcode is to put the iPad Air into Recovery Mode.

When using this technique, you need to gather the following items:

  • A Mac, or a PC with Windows 8, or newer and iTunes installed.
  • Your passcode locked iPad Air.
  • A USB cable to connect your iPad to the computer.

To use recovery mode do the following:

On iPad Air with a home button

If you have an iPad with the Home button and no Face ID you should:

recovery mode on iPad with home button

  1. First, turn off the device, if it is not off already.
  2. Press and hold down your On/Off button, which you will find on the top of the iPad. Keep holding it down for 3 seconds.
  3. The Slide to Power Off slider should pop up on the screen. Slide it to the right.
  4. Next, press the tablet’s Home button and hold it down.
  5. On a laptop or PC, pull up iTunes. Make sure that you are running the latest version of it.
  6. Connect the iPad to your computer via a USB cable.
  7. When you see a Connect to iTunes screen, let go of the Home button.
  8. iTunes should now inform you that it has detected the iPad. You can now go about restoring the device.
  9. When you see the option to Restore or Update, choose Restore. Your computer downloads software for your iPad Air and begins the restore process. If the download takes more than 15 minutes and your device exits the recovery mode screen, let the download finish, then turn off your iPad and start again.
  10. Wait for the process to finish.
  11. Once done, disconnect your iPad from the computer, then set up your iPad.

Open iPad Air screen with Touch ID (for free)

If you have Touch ID configured on your iPad Air, do the following:

  1. Press the Touch ID sensor on the home button to unlock the screen. Make sure you use the correct finger. The lock icon at the top of the lock screen animates from closed to open to indicate that your device is unlocked.
  2. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to use the device.

To lock the iPad again:

  • Press the side button, or
  • don’t touch the screen for a minute or two, your iPad Air locks automatically.

If you don’t have Touch ID enabled, find out how to Set up Touch ID on iPad.

If you forgot your Screen Time passcode

The Restrictions or Screen Time Passcode was created by Apple to allow parents or employers to block certain functions and features and to limit device usage.

But what if you’re the parent or administrator and you forget the iPad Air Screen Time passcode?

Don’t panic, the Restrictions passcode can be reset as follows:

  1. On your device, tap Settings.
    tap settings
  2. Tap Screen Time.
    Screen Time
  3. Choose Change Screen Time Passcode.
    Change Screen Time passcode
  4. In the pop-up window tap Change Screen Time Passcode again.
    Change Screen Time passcode confirm
  5. Tap Forgot Passcode.
    forgot Screen Time passcode
  6. You will be asked for your Apple ID and Password. If you don’t know them, see How to recover and change my Apple ID and password.
    Screen Time passcode recovery
  7. Enter a new passcode, and verify it.
    new Screen Time passcode

For other Screen Time reset techniques, see How to change Screen Time passcode.

Getting rid of the passcode on other iPad models

If you want to remove the passcode on a different iPad model see:

Other iPad unlocking guides

Beyond the passcode lock, Apple also uses Activation Lock and the carrier lock to restrict and secure their products.

Find out more about these iPad unlocking methods:

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