As you must have learnt the hard way, entering incorrect password multiple times can get you locked out of your own iPhone. Luckily, there is a way to erase the lock screen passcode on your iPhone and gain access to your iPhone.
Getting Locked Out of iPhone or iPad
It usually takes about six to ten incorrect password attempts to get permanently locked out of your own iPhone or iPad.
While the possibility of anyone entering incorrect password so many times appears unlikely, it is not uncommon for users to get locked out of their iPhone due to a variety of reasons, ranging from Kids trying to use a locked iPhone to someone going through periods of extreme forgetfulness.
Whatever maybe the reason, you will be pleased to know that it is indeed possible to get access to your Locked iPhone and you may even be able to recover all the data on your iPhone, in case you have made an iTunes or iCloud backup.
1. Use Recovery Mode to Erase your iPhone’s Password
Let us get started assuming that you have never made a backup of your iPhone using iTunes or iCloud and also you haven’t set up Find My iPhone. In case this does not apply to you, you can skip this first method and go to Methods 2 and 3 below.
Unfortunately, the only way of getting access to your locked iPhone in case you have never made an iTunes Backup or set up Find My iPhone is to force your locked iPhone into Recovery Mode and Restore your iPhone to its Factory Default Settings.
This will Erase all the existing Data on your iPhone, including its Lock Screen Password. After this you will be able to access your iPhone and start setting it up from scratch.
1. Open iTunes on your Windows Computer or Mac.
2. Make sure your iPhone is completely turned OFF and attach it to the Computer using its supplied cable.
3. Next, Press and Hold the Home button, and do not release the home button when you see the white Apple Logo appearing on your screen (See image below)
4. Keep holding the Home button until you see the iTunes Logo and a Cable on the screen of your iPhone. This indicates that your iPhone has entered recovery mode and you can Release the Home Button (See image below).
5. Next, you will see an iTunes Message appearing on the screen of your Computer with options to Cancel, Update, and Restore your device to Factory Default Settings (See image below)
6. Click on the Restore button to start the process of Restoring your iPhone to its Factory Default Settings.
Note: Your device may exit recovery mode in case iTunes takes more than 15 minutes to download the software for your device. In such a case, repeat steps 3 and 4 to get back to recovery mode.
7. Next, you will see the “Hello Screen” with Slide to Set Up option on your iPhone (See image below)
8. Move to the next screen by sliding your finger across the screen of your iPhone and continue following the On-screen instructions, until you reach the Apps and Data screen (See image below)
9. On the Apps & Data screen, tap on Set Up as New iPhone option and complete the Set up Process (See image above)
After your iPhone is setup, you will be able to freely access your iPhone and use it as before.
However, this time make sure that you Setup your iPhone to backup automatically to iCloud and also get into the habit of making a complete backup of your iPhone using iTunes. This will help you get back your data, in case your iPhone is lost, damaged or you get locked out of iPhone.
2. Erase iPhone Password and Restore Using iCloud Backup
In case you have enabled “Find My iPhone” feature on your iPhone, you will be able to Erase all the data on your iPhone including its Lock Screen Password and restore your iPhone using an iCloud backup.
1. Using a Computer, sign-in to your iCloud Account with your Apple ID (Not your iPhone Passcode but your Apple ID that you use to login to iTunes, App Store and iCloud)
2. Next, click on Find My iPhone icon
3. Enter your Apple ID Password in order to Sign-in to Find My iPhone service.
4. On the next screen, click on All Devices (you will find this at the Middle of your Screen) and then click on the iPhone that you want to Erase (See image below)
5. On the next screen, you will see 3 options – Play Sound, Lost Mode and Erase iPhone. Click on Erase iPhone to Erase all the data on your iPhone, including the Lock Screen Passcode that is keeping you out of your iPhone (See image below)
6. Next, you will be asked to Enter your Apple ID password to Confirm that you do want to Erase all the Data on your iPhone.
7. Once the data on your iPhone is Erased you will see the Hello Screen on your iPhone, prompting you to Start Setting Up your iPhone (See image below)
8. Start Setting up your iPhone by following the onscreen instructions, until you reach the “Apps & Data” Screen (See image below)
9. On the “Apps & Data” screen, tap on Restore from iCloud Backup option to start the Process of Restoring your iPhone using the Backup of your iPhone as available on iCloud.
Once the Restore Process is completed, your iPhone will have the most essential information as typically available in an iCloud Backup and you will be able to login to your iPhone without a Passcode.
3. Backup Locked iPhone’s Data to Computer and Restore Back Using iTunes
This two-step process of getting access to a Locked iPhone without losing its existing data works in case you had previously made an iTunes Backup and have a computer that is authorized to access your iPhone.
Since your computer is already authorized to access your iPhone, you will be able to make a backup of your locked iPhone without having to enter a passcode.
Once you are able to make a backup of your Locked iPhone using iTunes, the next step is to Erase the data on your locked iPhone (including the passcode) and then Restore your iPhone using the backup that you had just made on iTunes.
A. Make a Backup of Locked iPhone’s Data to Computer Using iTunes
1. Open iTunes on your computer and Connect your Locked iPhone to the computer using its USB cable.
2. On iTunes, click on the phone icon located below the top menu bar (See image below). This will bring up iTunes Settings menu that you can see in Step 3 below.
3. Under the section Backups, select This Computer and make sure that the option “Encrypt iPhone Backup” is unchecked. (See image below)
Note: Un-checking “Encrypt iPhone Backup” option will ensure that your iPhone is Backed up without its Lock Screen Passcode, which is preventing you from accessing your iPhone.
4. Next, click on the Back Up Now button located under “Manually Backup and Restore” section to start the process of backing up your iPhone to your local computer (See image below)
The time to make a backup of your iPhone will depend on the amount of data on your iPhone. You will be able to see the progress of the iTunes Backup on the top bar of your computer.
After the Backup Process is completed, make sure that iTunes has really made a backup file by using the steps below.
1. Click on Edit and next click on Preferences from the drop-down menu
2. On the next screen, click on Devices.
You should be able to see a backup of your iPhone with your name or the name of the iPhone (John’s iPhone or such) and the time of the backup (See image above).
B. Erase Locked iPhone’s Data and Restore Using iTunes Backup
Now that you have made a backup of your locked iPhone’s data to your computer, the next step is to Erase the data on your iPhone (including its Lock Screen Password) and Restore your iPhone using the iTunes backup that you have just created above (Step A).
1. While you are still on iTunes with your iPhone connected to your Computer, click on Restore iPhone button to start the process of Restoring your iPhone (See image below)
2. You may see a pop-up, asking you whether you want to make a backup of your iPhone before starting the Restore Process. Click on Don’t Back Up Option, to start the process of Restoring Your iPhone.
3. The Restore Process will take several minutes, patiently wait for the Restore Process to be completed until you see the Hello > Slide to Set Up Screen (See image below)
4. Start Setting up your iPhone by following the onscreen instructions, until you reach the Apps & Data Screen (See image below)
5. On the Apps and data Screen, click on Restore From iTunes Backup (See image above).
6. On the next screen, select the most recent backup of your iPhone that you had just created and click on Restore and patiently wait for your iPhone to be Restored using the Backup File.
After the Restore process is completed, your iPhone should have all its data back (except its lock screen passcode) and you will be able to login to your iPhone without entering the passcode.