Home How To How to Unlock Your iPhone, if It Got Disabled

How to Unlock Your iPhone, if It Got Disabled

Ever picked up your iPhone to discover the message – “iPhone is disabled” or “try again in X minutes”? The worst-case error scenarios messages read “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes”, rendering the device is unusable no matter what you do, except connecting it to iTunes. So why is the iPhone disabled and how do you unlock it so that you can use your iPhone again? The answers to these questions are pretty straightforward so let’s jump into why this scenario may happen and how could you fix it.

iPhone gets disabled
Image Courtesy: Apple

Why is My iPhone Disabled, Can I Unlock it?

A locked iPhone requires a Passcode, FaceID or Touch ID to access the device as a security precaution. But sometimes you may end up failing these biometric checks or mess up your pin in a hurry. Maybe your friends don’t love you and take the revenge they are waiting for since ages?

After an iPhone’s passcode is incorrectly entered 5 times in a row, the iPhone will automatically disable itself for 1 minute, giving the error message “iPhone is disabled” on the lock screen. The obvious solution, in this case, is to wait for the minute (or several) and then enter the correct passcode. In future, just enter the proper passcode in the first place and you’ll avoid this message and the lockout period.

Incorrect Entries v/s Disabled Time

If you are interesting in knowing how many incorrect passcode entries are required to disable the iPhone for a particular amount of time, the information below may help you out:

  • If you make 5 incorrect entries in a row; the iPhone is disabled for 1 minute.
  • If you make 7 incorrect entries in a row; the iPhone is disabled for 5 minutes.
  • If you make 8 incorrect entries in a row; iPhone is disabled for 15 minutes.
  • If you make 9 incorrect entries in a row; iPhone is disabled for 60 minutes.
  • If you make 10 incorrect passcode entries; iPhone is disabled with a connection to iTunes need to resolve it. (or the iPhone wipes itself of all data if erase itself option is turned on)

Waiting a minute isn’t that bad, but waiting many minutes to an hour could be inconvenient, as is connecting to iTunes to enable the iPhone again. Let’s understand this issue further to avoid it in the future, after which we’ll show you how to get around the disabled message.

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Why am I Here When I Didn’t Unlock my iPhone or Entered a Wrong Password?

Well, in some situations, you didn’t actually try to unlock your phone and you didn’t (intentionally) enter a wrong passcode either. Then why does the iPhone says it is disabled anyway, how can this even happen? Pockets and People are the two most common reasons for an iPhone to seemingly lock itself out.

Pocket Disable

Pocket Disable iPhone
Image Courtesy: Rd.com

Yes, your iPhone has the greatest technology and it detects when it is in a pocket or a bag, but it’s not perfect! The Pocket Disable typically happens to iPhone users who keep their iPhones in their pockets. These could be hip jacket pockets, hoodie pouch pocket, or front pants pockets. Because iPhones have double-tap to wake or raise to wake, it’s fairly common to accidentally activate the screen. A wrong passcode could then only be a series of unwanted touches that could trigger the lockout. I’ve had this happen to myself while twisted out my iPhone out of my pocket and have even recently watched a friend accidentally disable theirs while searching their pocket for money where their phones were kept at the same time. Thus this is very common to happen and can’t really be done away with totally.

Person Disable

Entering Wrong Passwords
Image Courtesy: Engadget

There are two types of person interactions that can disable an iPhone, the intentional passcode entry of someone trying to guess your passcode and then disabling it as they fail – fairly obvious scenario if you’re around people who don’t like you. The other type is the unintentional passcode entry, usually triggered by young children or more so, you! That latter is extremely common with parents with young children, who may fiddle with, tap on, or swipe around your fancy little gadget in their little world. This has even happened carelessly by me as I swung around my phone like a fidget spinner while the screen was on and I had to wait for an hour. The “iPhone is disabled” message can really be a curse.

Unlock iPhone Stuck on “iPhone is Disabled, Try Again in x Minutes”

So now you are in here and want to unlock an iPhone that’s stuck on the disabled screen. You will have to wait for the time to pass and enter the proper passcode as it re-enables itself.

If you don’t know the passcode(accept having a bad memory already), or if you can’t wait, you will have to put the iPhone into recovery mode to restore it. Those are the only two options.

There are multiple instances of people tending to forget there passcode as they continuously use biometric unlock, never needing their passwords in a long time. Well for you, don’t be that guy.

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Fixing the “iPhone is Disabled. Connect to iTunes” Error

This is the worst scenario you can face for any iPhone being disabled because this requires you connecting the iPhone to a computer if you want to gain access to it again. Hopefully, you made a recent backup to that computer, and hopefully, you remember the actual passcode for the iPhone. If not, you’ll have to erase the device and lose all data on it. Now you know why frequent device backups are important. And oh, if you don’t have a computer around with iTunes on it, it really is the right time to panic.

Connect to iTunes
Image Courtesy: Apple

You Know The Passcode

If you know the iPhone passcode and have backed it up, you can simply unlock the device with iTunes but it still requires a restore:

  1. Launch iTunes after connecting the iPhone to a computer it has synced to before with a USB cable.
  2. Choose the “Sync” option in iTunes and enter the right passcode when requested. This unlocks the device and backs up the iPhone to the computer.
  3. Click on “Restore” to restore the most recent backup to your iPhone

You Don’t Know The Passcode

If you don’t know the passcode to your iPhone, you need to wipe it clean and that will erase all data on it using the recovery mode. For resetting an iPhone with a forgotten passcode, the instructions can be found here. If you had made a backup to iTunes or iCloud, you can restore your iPhone to that point in history.

Restoring Backup via iTunes
Image Courtesy: Apple

If you don’t know the iPhone’s passcode though and/or you didn’t care enough to waste time on making a backup, the data on the iPhone needs to be completely erased and there is no way around that. Not even Apple can unlock an iPhone in this scenario or access the data due to stringent security guidelines. Thus, do not forget your iPhone passcode or to make frequent backups, especially after important life events.

What to do to Not Come Back to This Article Again and Live My Best Life?

To prevent this fiasco from happening again, you have a few options. The most straightforward one is to simply not enter a wrong passcode repeatedly. Duh, so simple? Since this is not in your hands really, another choice could be to keep complex and long passwords. A longer character string to be entered before the password is rejected makes it easier to fail unwanted attempts. Keeping your phone in a different pocket, separate from other things is also a good idea. Another good idea is to keep it out of reach of someone who is intentionally or accidentally entering passcodes. And finally, as we’ve stressed enough, always make regular backups of your device, just in case you need to restore it to regain access someday.

Let us know in the comments if you know of any information about a disabled iPhone. Are there other ways to get around the disabled warning dialog wreckage?


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