Wrong iPhone passcode!

Have you been locked out of your iPhone or iPad and don't know what to do? Forgotten or accidentally changed your passcode? Happens all the time and we get a lot of queries about it.

The good news is you can get access to the phone again but to recover everything you will need:

a) your Apple ID and password (at least if Find My iPhone is turned on); and

b) to have backed up your phone recently.

If you don't have access to your Apple ID email address then the only - and we mean only - way to access the phone is if Find My iPhone is turned off. If Find My iPhone is turned on and you can't access your Apple ID account (Apple may lock it if you fail accessing it too many times), then your phone is now an expensive paperweight.

But that's an extreme circumstance. If you have something in between, then the phone can be recovered - but you may lose some or all of your data.

Restoring via DFU mode

If you can’t get your passcode to work, you will need to restore the phone via DFU mode (DFU = Device Firmware Update).

If Find My iPhone is turned on, the only way to unlock it after restoring it will be to use your Apple ID and password. If Find My iPhone is turned off, then you will be able to set up the phone from scratch as normal. If you can’t remember your Apple ID password you will need to go to www.icloud.com and click ‘Forgot Apple ID or password’ to reset it.

If you do a restore and you don’t have a recent backup, you will lose your data. To be clear, doing a restore wipes all data and the only way to get it back is via a backup.

Hopefully you set the phone to do nightly backups to iCloud, in which case you should be fine. Check out our blog on backing up about how to do this. If not, then you will lose all data up to whenever your latest backup was done.

Alternatively, if your phone has been connected to iTunes on a computer before, then you connect to that computer again, even though the phone is locked you should be able to do a backup on iTunes. Do this first before the next step!

To restore the phone via DFU mode, follow these instructions:

  1. Connect the device to a computer using a USB cable and open iTunes.
  2. Hold down both the Home button and Lock button.
  3. After 8 seconds, release the Lock button while continuing to hold down the Home button.
    • If the Apple logo appears, the Lock button was held down for too long.
  4. If you are correctly in DFU mode, then nothing will be displayed on the screen. If open, iTunes will alert you that a device was detected in recovery mode.
    • If your device shows a screen telling you to connect the device to iTunes, retry these steps.

iTunes will then ask if you want to restore the phone. Confirm this and once complete you will need to set the phone up as new. If Find My iPhone was on, then you will be prompted to enter your Apple ID email and password in order to continue.

Setting up the phone from new

iCloud backup: Unplug the phone from iTunes. Follow the normal set up process and when prompted, select your latest iCloud backup to restore it from.

iTunes backup: Select to set up the phone via iTunes. iTunes will detect the latest backup and will ask if you want to restore from it. Select yes.

No backup:( Set the phone up as a new device. You won't have any data but at least you will have your phone back! And now go read our blog on backing up and make sure you follow it!

Hopefully you're back up and running in no time. Just be careful with that passcode next time :)

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