This easy-to-follow in-depth guide will explain how to unlock an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max – even without the passcode.
This guide will cover the following passcode removal topics:
- Free passcode reset methods.
- How to keep all your data after resetting.
- What to do if you don’t have a computer.
- Unlocking software tools.
- Using recovery mode.
- The Apple passcode reset procedure.
- Using Face ID.
The iPhone 12 was released with a number of security features that prevent unauthorized access to the iOS device including the passcode and Face ID.
This range of phones does not include Touch ID so you can’t unlock it using a fingerprint.
This guide is written specifically for the following iPhone models:
Read on and in a few minutes, you will know the exact steps to get your iPhone 12 unlocked…
Table of Contents
iPhone 12 unlocking methods, tips, and tools
Using your last passcode (on iOS 17 or newer)
With the introduction of iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, Apple has added a new feature known as Passcode Reset. If you ever forget your newly set passcode, this feature allows you to use your old passcode as a backup for up to 72 hours.
Using iOS 17 Passcode Reset:
- Start from your device’s lock screen.
- Attempt to enter your passcode incorrectly five times in a row.
- Wait until you see the message “[Device] Unavailable” and a prompt asking you to try again later.
- Once prompted, locate and tap on the “Forgot Passcode?” option, which will be found in the bottom corner of the screen.
- Choose “Enter Previous Passcode.”
- Key in your old passcode.
- Follow the subsequent on-screen directions to establish a fresh passcode. Remember, with the iOS 17 and later updates, your old passcode can temporarily unlock your device.
Manually Expiring the Old Passcode Before 72 Hours:
- Navigate to the “Settings” app on your device.
- Choose “Face ID & Passcode.”
- When prompted, enter your current passcode.
- Locate and tap on “Expire Previous Passcode Now.”
By following these steps, you can ensure your old passcode becomes invalid before the default 72-hour timeframe.
Using Find My and iCloud
It is a good idea to check when the last backup was done on your iPhone to make sure it contains all your data before erasing your device.
You can unlock the passcode using iCloud and create a new one using any internet-connected smartphone, tablet, or computer as follows:
- On any computer, tablet, or smartphone, open a web browser and go to iCloud.com.
- If you have Two Factor Authentication turned on, you will be prompted for your authentication code.
- Once signed in, click Find iPhone.
- All the Apple devices you own will be located.
- Once your devices have been located, they will appear on a map.
- At the top of the screen, select All Devices and select your iPhone 12 from the list.
- Next, click Erase iPhone to remove the passcode. This process will also remove all the data from your iOS device.
- On the dialog box that pops open, confirm you want to erase the device.
- The passcode and all the data will be removed from your iPhone.
- Once erased, set up your device and restore your old data.
Using recovery mode
Gather all the hardware and software required to use recovery mode. You will need:
- A PC with Windows 8, or newer and iTunes installed, or a Mac.
- Your passcode locked iPhone 12
- A USB cable to connect the phone to the computer.
To use recovery mode do the following:
- Press and hold both the side button and the Volume down button on your iPhone until the power off slider appears.
- Drag the slider to turn off your device, then wait a minute to make sure it turns off completely.
- Press and hold the side button while immediately connecting it to the computer. Don’t let go of the button.
- Keep holding the button until you see the recovery mode screen on your iPhone, then let go. If you see the passcode screen, you need to turn off your iPhone and start again.
- Locate your iPhone in the Finder or in iTunes on the computer.
- When you see the option to Restore or Update, choose Restore. Your computer downloads software for your iPhone 12 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 iPhone and start again.
- Wait for the process to finish.
- Once done, disconnect your iPhone from the computer, then set up your iPhone.
Using your Apple Watch
You can use a paired Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone 12 by doing the following:
- On your iPhone, go to Settings
- Tap Face ID & Passcode.
- Scroll down, then below Unlock with Apple Watch turn on Apple Watch.
To unlock your iPhone 12, your Apple Watch must have a passcode, be unlocked and on your wrist, and be close to your iPhone.
Using Face ID
If you have Face ID configured on your iPhone 12, do the following:
- Tap the screen or raise your iPhone to wake it, then look at it. The lock icon at the top of the lock screen animates from closed to open to indicate that your device is unlocked.
- Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to use the phone.
- Press the side button.
If you don’t touch the screen for a minute or two, your iPhone 12 locks automatically. If you don’t have Face ID enabled, find out how to Set up Face ID on iPhone.
If Face ID isn’t working
If you set up Face ID on your iPhone 12, but it no longer works do the following:
Check your Face ID settings
- On your iPhone, tap Settings.
- Then, tap Face ID & Passcode.
- Check Face ID is set up and turned on.
Check the TrueDepth camera can scan your features properly
Make sure nothing is covering the front-facing TrueDepth camera on your iPhone 12:
- Get rid of anything that may be covering the front camera such as dirt, a case, or a screen protector
- Ensure you are not covering the front-facing TrueDepth camera with your hand.
- Make sure your face is not covered. Your eyes, nose, and mouth must be fully visible to the front TrueDepth camera.
- Make sure your eyes aren’t blocked if you’re wearing a face mask. You may need to hold your iPhone higher than normal.
- If you’re wearing sunglasses designed to block certain types of infrared light your iPhone 12 won’t unlock. Try using Face ID without your sunglasses.
If none of these fixes work, check if there are any iOS updates for your iPhone.
How to reset Face ID
If you have tried the fixes above and they haven’t worked, you need to reset your Face ID on your phone.
Before you begin, make sure your face isn’t covered and you take off your sunglasses. You can use Face ID with face masks on iPhone 12 as long as you have iOS 15.4 or later installed. Face ID works best when your iPhone is approximately 10-15 inches from your face.
To reset Face ID:
- On your iPhone, tap Settings.
- Scroll down, then tap Face ID & Passcode.
- If prompted, enter the screen lock code.
- Tap Reset Face ID. This will disable Face ID security on your device.
- Return to the Home screen.
- Tap Settings.
- Then, tap Face ID & Passcode. If asked, enter your passcode. If you didn’t set a passcode, you’ll be asked to create one to use as an alternative way to verify your identity.
- Tap Set Up Face ID.
- Next, tap Get Started.
- Position your face inside the frame shown on the screen and move your head to complete a circle.
- When you’ve finished the first Face ID scan, tap Continue.
- Repeat the scan a second time.
- Tap Done.
You can unlock your device without Face ID by using the passcode you picked when you first set up your device.
Using software tools
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 iPhone 12. 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.
There is a free unlock method that worked with older iPhone models that may work on iPhone 12. 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.
This technique uses a software tool called IPSW to hack your device. It is downloaded onto a PC and used to unlock the passcode without erasing the data.
For more on this technique, see when you’ve forgotten your iPhone 12 passcode.
If the free technique doesn’t work there is also a few paid software tool you can try. You will need a computer for these to work.
|#1 LockWiper||★★★★★||Removes locks such as passcode, Face ID, Apple ID, MDM lock, & screen time lock.|
|#2 D-Back iPhone Data Recovery||★★★★★||Recovers erased data from an iOS device, iTunes, or iCloud – including photos, messages, and more…|
|★★★★||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:
- Download and install both the information recovery and passcode reset tools.
- Test the data recovery program on your iPhone 12 to see if it will work. If so, move on to the next step. Do this before you wipe the phone.
- Use the passcode removal tool to unlock the screen. The phone’s data will be wiped.
- Recover your data from the wiped phone using the data recovery tool.
For more information on unlocking iPhone 12 without a backup or restore, see Unlock iPhone passcode without a backup.
Without a computer
There are 3 free methods you can use to unlock the iPhone 12 passcode when you don’t have a computer:
- 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 iPhone 12 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 information, see Reset iPhone password without computer.
About passcode and Face ID
When you set up your iPhone 12 for the first time you will be asked to create a 4 or 6-digit passcode. This is in addition to Face ID which allows you to unlock your phone by just glancing at it.
If Face ID fails, the passcode is used as a backup. This makes it vital that you remember your iPhone 12 passcode. If you get the passcode wrong your device will be disabled for a period of time.
If you continue to enter the wrong passcode 10 times in a row, your iPhone will be permanently locked.
For more information, see how many password goes before iPhone is disabled.
If your phone is disabled permanently, or you can’t remember the passcode then Apple says you must reset and wipe everything on your phone to unlock it. This means all your data will be removed so you need a backup to recover the information.
This comprehensive guide offers various solutions to unlock the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, especially when confronted with a forgotten or unknown passcode.
Techniques explored range from leveraging recovery mode, utilizing iTunes or Finder, resorting to Find My iPhone via iCloud, employing Siri’s capabilities on select iOS versions, to harnessing specialized software tools like LockWiper.
It’s essential for users to distinguish between the multiple types of passcodes available, such as the Screen Time passcode. Furthermore, there are also many types of unlocking such as the iPhone 12 series iCloud Lock or the carrier lock.
Always choose the method most suited to your needs, and remember to back up your data when possible.
You can unlock the passcode on your locked iPhone 12 easily using the steps provided in this guide. This will remove the lock screen.