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How to troubleshoot “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” error

There’s no question that being locked out of your device is a frustrating situation to be in. If you’re using an iPhone or any iOS device, it can even get devastating once you find out that you’ll have to wait for some time before you can attempt to enter your passcode guess again. This situation is often indicated by the “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” error. If you happen to encounter this error in your iOS device, then you’ve come to the right spot. This troubleshooting article will walk you through how to deal with this error.

Before we proceed let us remind you that you can contact us by using the link provided at the bottom of this page. When describing your issue, please be as detailed as possible so we can easily pinpoint a relevant solution. If you can, kindly include the exact error messages you are getting to give us an idea where to start. If you have already tried some troubleshooting steps before emailing us, make sure to mention them so we can skip them in our answers.


What does “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” error mean?


First of all, “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” error is not just any other error you encounter in your iPhone. It is a result of unsuccessful attempts to unlock the device so if you are the legitimate owner, go ahead and read on. If you happen to find the phone by mistake, just stop whatever you’re doing because it’s almost impossible to access the contents of this iPhone at all. Unless you are a sophisticated hacker with the right tools, unlocking an iPhone is futile for you.

Secondly, “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” error is a serious error that can lead to data loss. This is because the error itself can’t be undone. It means that you have entered the wrong passcode at least 6 times in a row already. Unless you can enter the right passcode in the next attempt, you’ll be locked out and your phone disabled for 5 minutes. After 8 unsuccessful attempts, your iPhone will be disabled for the next 15 minutes. After your ninth incorrect guess, the phone will be disabled for 1 hour. After 10 unsuccessful attempts, your iPhone will be disabled and even if you’ll be able to remember your passcode (finally?!), you’ll still have to wipe the device and start from scratch again.

So, while “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” error may not lock the phone for good, you’ll potentially lose unsaved files.

In order to avoid “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” error in the future, make sure that you are careful when inputting your passcode. Better still, we recommend writing the passcode down and lock it in some place secure. An average user don’t normally need to keep a written copy of his/her iPhone passcode but if you have the tendency to forget things, this should be the way to go for you. If you think writing down your passcode somewhere is such a hassle, you can simply remove the passcode lock from your phone. This will greatly reduce the security of your phone of course but it can be a practical option if you can physically keep your device all the time in your person.

How to unlock an iPhone with “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes” error

As mentioned above, once you’ve exhausted the allowable unsuccessful attempts to enter your passcode (10 attempts), your iPhone will be disabled and you’ll only be able to access by doing a drastic solution. In this situation, you’ll now need to wipe your iPhone by restoring it via iTunes or via iCloud. If you regularly use iTunes, we recommend that you use it because it’s generally easier than wiping via iCloud.

How to restore your iOS device via iTunes

iTunes can be installed in either Windows or Mac machines so the first thing to do is to ensure that iTunes is properly installed. If you haven’t updated it lately, make sure to check for updates first to minimize possible errors during the restore process. Once iTunes is ready, proceed to the steps below:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer you usually synced with.
  2. Open iTunes in your computer and wait for iTunes to sync your device and make a backup.
  3. Once you’ve synced your phone and created a backup, click Restore [your device].
  4. When you reach the Set Up screen while restoring your iOS device, tap Restore from iTunes backup.
  5. Select your device in iTunes. Look at the date and size of each backup and pick the most relevant one.

If you’re trying to sync your device to this computer for the first time, or you don’t have access to the computer you usually sync your iPhone with, you’re out of luck. You’ll have to completely wipe your phone via Recovery Mode. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Connect your iOS device to your computer and open iTunes.
  2. Initiate Recovery Mode in your device.
    • If you have an iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button. Then, press and hold the Side button until you see the recovery-mode screen.
    • If you have an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold both the Side and Volume Down buttons at the same time. Keep holding them until you see the recovery-mode screen.
    • If you have an iPhone 6s and earlier, iPad, or iPod touch: Press and hold both the Home and the Top (or Side) buttons at the same time. Keep holding them until you see the recovery-mode screen.
  3. Once you’re in Restore or Update screen, pick Restore.
  4. Wait for iTunes to download a new operating system to your device. If this process takes longer than 15 minutes, your iPhone may restart. If this happens, do the steps 1 and 2 again.
  5. Set your device up again.

How to restore your iOS device via iCloud

Restoring your iPhone thru iCloud is a bit more complicated than the steps above. It also requires that your disabled iPhone has internet connection, and that you’ve set up Find My iPhone previously. You also need to have a computer in order to access Find My iPhone website. Once these important things are in place, your can then proceed to do the steps below:

  1. In your computer, open your favorite browser and open icloud.com.
  2. Once you’ve opened icloud.com, click on Find iPhone.
  3. Enter the password for your Apple account. Make sure that this is the same Apple account logged in your iPhone.
  4. Wait for a map to appear displaying the location of your device.
  5. Click All Devices at the top.
  6. Select the iPhone you want to wipe, then click Erase iPhone.
  7. If successful, you can then set your iPhone up again as a new device.

 


Engage with us

If you happen to have a problem with your own iPhone, let us know about it and we will do our best to post them and their solutions  in our upcoming articles. You can use this link to contact us for assistance. We can’t guarantee an answer to every question but rest assured that we will exhaust everything on our end to help you.

Be as detailed as possible when describing your problem to help us diagnose your issue easily. If you can include error messages, popups, attempted troubleshooting steps, and circumstances leading to the problem, that would be very helpful.

 

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