Forget iPhone Passcode

If you’ve ever forgotten your iPhone passcode, you know how inconvenient it can be. All your contacts, photos, social media accounts and more are safely tucked away between that lock screen – but you can’t get to any of them.

Maybe you recently reset the passcode, and can’t for the life of you remember what to. Or maybe you haven’t used the phone for a while, long enough to forget how to get in there.

If you forget your passcode and enter the wrong one six times, your iPhone will tell you it has been disabled. And, depending on your settings, entering the wrong passcode too many times could lead to your iPhone deleting all of its data. You don’t want that!

Whether you’ve gotten this message or just know you’ve forgotten your passcode, follow these steps to regain access to your iPhone.


There’s really only one way to fix it when you forget your iPhone passcode and you may not like it. You have to erase all the data on your iPhone and restore your data from backup (assuming you have a backup, that is).

This is the fix because erasing all data from your iPhone erases the old passcode that you forgot and lets you set up the phone again with a new passcode. It may seem like an extreme step, but it makes sense from a security perspective.

Method #1: Using iCloud

  1. Log into iCloud using the account you used to set up Find My iPhone.
  2. Click on “Find iPhone” from the selection of tools available in iCloud. Since you have the iPhone in your hand you don’t really need to find it, but having located it, you can now proceed with the next step.
  3. Click the “Erase” button to delete all data on the phone. You will need to accept the warning asking if you understand what you are doing. Your data will be erased.
  4. Set up your iPhone as if it is a new phone. When you complete the initial setup stages, restore your data and settings from your iCloud backup. Your iPhone should be restored to the shape it was before you locked yourself out as long as you make regular backups.

Method #2: Recovery Mode

This is your only option if you’ve never synced your phone with iTunes or iCloud. In that case, you probably won’t have your data backed up and will lose what’s on your phone. That’s not good, but at least you’ll be able to use your phone again. 

  1. Turn your iPhone off by holding down the sleep/wake button.
  2. Get a computer with iTunes installed on it. Ideally, this is the computer you sync with, but any computer with iTunes on it can work. Make sure the iTunes program is not running.
  3. What steps you follow next depend on what model iPhone you have:
    • iPhone 8 and up: Plug the syncing cable into your iPhone. Hold down the Side button while you plug the other end of the cable into your computer.
    • iPhone 7 series: Plug the syncing cable into your iPhone. Hold down the Volume Down button while you plug the other end of the cable into your computer.
    • iPhone 6S series and earlier: Plug the syncing cable into your iPhone. Hold down the Home button while you plug the other end of the cable into your computer.
  4. Keep holding down the Side, Volume Down, or Home button (depending on your model) until the Connect to iTunes screen appears (it’s the image of the cable and iTunes icon shown at the top of this article). Your phone is now in Recovery Mode.
  5. A window pops up in iTunes offering to let you Update or Restore the phone. Click Update. This tries to resolve the problem by updating the operating system and without erasing your data.
  6. If Update fails, put your iPhone into recovery mode again and this time click Restore.

Method #3: iTunes Backup

If you backup your phone through iTunes, here are the steps necessary to restore it from a backup.

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer you use to backup your device.
  2. In the iTunes iPhone Management screen, select the “Restore” button.
  3. You will be prompted to enter your iTunes account information. Use the account you used to set up your iPhone. Then follow the instructions to register your iPhone.
  4. Select the backup to be used for the restore. Often there will only be the most recent backup available, but if there are several, select the one you want to use.
  5. iTunes restores your settings and data after you select the backup to use.
  6. When the restore is complete check your settings to make sure everything is set up the way you want it to be. Music is the last item that is synched to your iPhone and may take up to an hour depending on the amount of music you had stored on your iPhone.

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