If you would like to know how to unlock any model of iPhone SE – even if you have forgotten or don’t know the passcode – this guide shows you every possible method available.
This article will explain the following iPhone SE unlocking topics:
- Free passcode reset methods.
- How to keep all your data after a passcode reset.
- What to do if you don’t have a computer.
- Unlocking tools.
- Using recovery mode.
- The Apple passcode reset procedure.
- Using Touch ID.
After their release in 2020, it was noted that the iPhone SE range could have its screen locked and unlocked using Touch ID or a passcode. As the SE is a budget model, Face ID was not included by Apple.
This article is suitable for the following iPhone models:
- iPhone SE (1st generation) also known as iPhone SE 1 or iPhone SE 2016.
- iPhone SE (2nd generation) also known as iPhone SE 2 or the iPhone SE 2020.
- iPhone SE (3rd generation) also known as iPhone SE 3 or the iPhone SE 2022.
Related: Bypass Activation Lock on iPhone SE.
Let’s begin with some general information on iPhone SE and its passcode.
When released, the highly-rated iPhone SE had iOS 15.4 installed. Like the iPhone SE (2nd Generation) that came before it, security included Touch ID, the passcode, and the Find My app. This model does not include Face ID.
When you set up your iPhone SE for the first time you will be asked to create a 4 or 6-digit passcode. This is in addition to Touch ID which allows you to unlock your phone by using your fingerprint.
If Touch ID fails, the passcode is used as a backup unlock method. Tuch ID can go wrong, making it vital that you remember your 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, your iPhone will be permanently locked.
For more information, see how many tries before my iPhone is locked.
If your iPhone SE is locked permanently, or you can’t remember the passcode then Apple says you must reset your phone to unlock it. A reset erases all your data so it’s best to have a backup.
However, there are some ways to avoid losing all your data – even without a restore – described later in this guide.
Unlock iPhone SE without a backup or restore
The official Apple passcode reset technique used if you forget your passcode will wipe the contents of your iPhone SE. To get the data back, 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 is worth trying on iPhone SE.
It has quite a low success rate, but if you want to try a free way to unlock your passcode and keep your data – even without a restore – then give it a go.
- This technique uses a software tool called IPSW to hack your iPhone SE.
- You download IPSW to a PC (not a Mac) and use it to hack the passcode without erasing your data.
For step-by-step instructions, see unlock iPhone SE without backup or watch the video below.
There is also a few paid software tool you can try to unlock the screen.
All these tools run on a computer, so you will need a PC or Mac 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.|
The passcode unlocking process using these tools is as follows:
- Download and install a data recovery tool.
- Test the data recovery program on your iPhone SE to see if it will get back deleted files from your phone. If so, move on to the next step.
- Download and install the passcode removal tool.
- Use the passcode removal tool to unlock the iPhone SE screen. The phone’s data will be wiped.
- Recover your data from the wiped phone using the data recovery tool you tested in step 2.
For more detailed instructions, see Unlock iPhone without a restore.
How to unlock iPhone SE without a computer (for free)
There are 3 ways to unlock an iPhone SE passcode if 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.
- 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.
- Go 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 Unlock a forgotten iPhone passcode without using a computer.
iPhone SE unlocking using Find My and iCloud (for free)
If you have access to another computer, smartphone, or tablet you can use them to unlock the passcode via the iCloud website.
To do so, do the following:
- 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 SE 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 iPhone data.
It is a good idea to check when the iPhone’s last backup was done – to make sure it contains all your data before erasing your device.
Using recovery mode to unlock iPhone SE (for free)
To use recovery mode, you will need:
- A PC with Windows 8, or newer and iTunes installed, or a Mac.
- Your passcode locked iPhone SE
- 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 SE 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 iPhone SE 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 SE 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.
For more information, see How to put your iPhone into recovery mode.
Open iPhone SE screen lock with Touch ID (for free)
If you have Touch ID configured on your iPhone SE, do the following:
- 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.
- Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to use the device.
To lock the Phone SE again:
- Press the side button, or
- don’t touch the screen for a minute or two, your iPhone SE locks automatically.
If you don’t have Touch ID enabled, find out how to Set up Touch ID on iPhone.
Open iPhone SE with Apple Watch
You can use a paired Apple Watch to unlock your iPhone SE 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 SE, your Apple Watch must:
- Have a passcode.
- Be unlocked and on your wrist.
- Be close to your iPhone.
If you forget your iPhone SE Screen Time passcode
The Restrictions or Screen Time Passcode is different from the passcode used to unlock your iPhone. It is used to block access to some features, settings, and functions of the iPhone.
The Screen Time feature is most often used by parents or IT Departments to control usage of the device.
If enabled, the pin code is usually completely different for Screen Time so can easily be forgotten.
If you do forget it, it can be reset as follows:
- On your iPhone SE, tap Settings.
- Scroll down, then tap Screen Time.
- Next, tap Change Screen Time Passcode.
- In the pop-up window, tap Change Screen Time Passcode again.
- Tap Forgot Passcode.
- To reset the passcode, you will be asked for your Apple ID and Password. If you don’t know them, see How to reset an Apple ID.
- Enter a new passcode, and verify it.
For a more in-depth tutorial, see Screen Time passcode reset.
Getting rid of the passcode on other iPhone models
If you want to remove the passcode on a different iPhone model see:
- How to unlock iPhone 13 passcode.
- How to unlock iPhone 12 passcode.
- Unlock iPhone 11.
- Open iPhone XR passcode.
- How to unlock iPhone XS and XS Max passcode.
- Open iPhone X without the passcode.
- iPhone 8 passcode unlock.
- How to unlock iPhone 7 without the passcode.
- How to unlock iPhone 6 without the passcode.
Other iPhone 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 iPhone unlocking methods: