Our in-depth expert advice, based on thorough evaluation, explains how to unlock iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5se models – even if you have forgotten the passcode.
This guide will cover the following iPhone 5 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 Touch ID.
The iPhone 5s was released with a number of security features that prevent unauthorized access to the iOS device including the passcode and Touch ID. The older iPhone 5, 5s, and 5se only had a passcode.
This range of phones does not include Face ID so you can’t unlock it using a face scan.
Read on and in a few minutes, you will know our tried and tested steps to get your device unlocked…
Table of Contents
iPhone 5 unlocking methods, tips, and tools
Using Find My and iCloud
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 5, 5c, or 5s 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 use recovery mode, you will need:
- A PC with Windows 8, or newer and iTunes installed, or a Mac.
- Your passcode locked iPhone 5
- A USB cable to connect the phone to the computer.
To use recovery mode do the following:
- Make sure your smartphone is not physically connected to your computer.
- Press and hold the Side (or Top) button until the power-off message appears on the screen.
- Drag the slider to turn off your smartphone.
- Connect your iPhone to your computer using the cable while holding the Home button.
- Keep holding the Home button until the iPhone recovery-mode screen appears.
- You can now release the home button.
- 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 5 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 Set up and use recovery mode.
The official Apple passcode reset technique used if you forget your passcode will wipe the contents of your iPhone 5. 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 all iPhone 5 models.
It is a bit fiddly to do, but if you want 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 5.
- 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 Forgot your iPhone 5 passcode? Unlock it without a 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 the data recovery tool of your choice. There are free trial versions available – so you can try them out before you buy them.
- Before you wipe your device, test the data recovery program on your iPhone X to see if it will get back deleted files. If so, move on to the next step. If not, try the other tool.
- Download and install the passcode removal tool.
- Use the passcode removal tool to unlock the iPhone 5, 5s, or 5c screen. The phone’s data will be wiped.
- Recover your data from the wiped phone using the data recovery tool you successfully tested in step 2.
For more detailed instructions, see iPhone unlocking process without restore.
Without a computer
There are 3 ways to unlock an iPhone 5 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 How to unlock iPhone passcode without using a computer.
Using Touch ID
If you have Touch ID configured on your iPhone 5s, 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 5 again:
- Press the side button, or
- don’t touch the screen for a minute or two, your iPhone 5s locks automatically.
If you don’t have Touch ID enabled, find out how to Set up Touch ID on iPhone.
About the passcode
The iPhone 5s which replaced the iPhone 5 in the smartphone lineup was the first in the range to include screen locking via Touch ID and the passcode. Facial scanning had not been developed by Apple in 2016 so Face ID was not included on the iPhone 5.
When you set up your iPhone 5 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. Touch 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 passcode guesses on my iPhone.
If your iPhone 5 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.
This comprehensive guide offers various solutions to unlock the iPhone 5, 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, 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.
You can unlock the passcode on your locked iPhone 5 easily using the steps provided previously in this guide. This will unlock the lock screen.