Successive incorrect passcode entries could result to iPhone is disabled issue for a certain period of time or worst, disabled completely. If the message says that your iPhone is disabled and that you’ll have to try again in [number] of minutes, then waiting is the key for you to retry and fix the problem. Just be sure to enter the correct passcode, otherwise your iPhone will completely become inaccessible.
But if your iPhone says that it’s disabled and you’ll have to connect to iTunes, it means that the only way to unlock your device and use it again is by erasing and restoring it through iTunes. It’s a security feature that each iPhone integrates as its way of preventing possible unauthorized access or information theft. While this feature benefits you whenever the iPhone is lost or stolen, it’s definitely a downer if it takes effect while the device is in your grasps.
Good thing there are some ways for you to activate and unlock your iPhone again but the thing is that you could end up losing some important data in the process. This shouldn’t be a problem if you create regular backups of your iPhone data as you still can restore your iPhone from your most recent iOS backup. And I will walk you through on how to do that so continue reading as this post may be able to help you.
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What to do if your iPhone is disabled completely?
Below are applicable workarounds you can utilize to unlock a disabled iPhone. You could end up losing critical data permanently unless you’ve managed to back up your device before it was disabled.
First solution: Erase your iPhone using Find My iPhone via iCloud.
If Find My iPhone was enabled on your iPhone and it was signed into iCloud before it was disabled, then you can use Find My iPhone to erase and unlock your device. Here’s how it’s done:
- On your other device, open a browser app.
- Then navigate to the iCloud.com website or click the Find My iPhone app on your iCloud account.
- From the iCloud main page, click All Devices then select the iPhone that you want to erase.
- Next, click the Erase [iPhone] in the device’s information screen.
- On the next page, you will be asked to enter your Apple ID password or your family member’s Apple ID password (if you’ve set up Family Sharing on your device). In that case, enter the correct passcode to proceed.
The remote erase will instigate immediately if your disabled iPhone is online. Otherwise, it will remote erase the next time it gets online. After erasing your iPhone, you can set it up again.
Second solution: Erase your iPhone through iTunes.
If you’ve managed to back up your iPhone data on your computer via iTunes before it was disabled, then you can use that computer to erase your device and restore from your most recent backup. Here’s how:
- Connect your iPhone to the computer using the original or Apple-supplied USB cable or Lightning cable.
- Start up iTunes if it doesn’t load automatically. Be sure to use the latest version of iTunes app to avoid system conflicts.
- Wait for iTunes to sync with your iPhone.
- If it’s able to sync, then click the Restore iPhone button and follow the onscreen instructions to erase and restore your iPhone from a previous backup.
In the case where your computer wasn’t synced with your device and it got stuck on iPhone is disabled error, you will need to restore your iPhone in recovery mode using iTunes on your computer.
How to put an iPhone in recovery mode?
If the above method didn’t yield positive result, then you can resort to a recovery mode restore. This restore procedure wipes your iPhone completely hence, all saved information will be erased in the process. The process of entering recovery mode varies depending on the type of iPhone you have. If you think it’s worth a try, refer these subsequent methods.
To enter recovery mode on iPhone X or later, and iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, follow these steps:
- Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons until the Power off slider appears.
- Drag the slider to power off your device.
- Connect your iPhone to the computer while holding the Side/Power button and then release the button when the Connect to iTunes (recovery mode) screen appears.
To enter recovery mode on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, follow these steps:
- Press and hold the Side/Power button until the Power Off slider appears.
- Drag the slider to power off your device completely.
- Connect your iPhone to your computer while holding the Volume Down button and then release the button when you see the Connect to iTunes (or recovery mode) screen appears.
To enter recovery mode on iPhone 6s or earlier models, follow these steps:
- Press and hold the Side/Power button until the Power off slider appears.
- Drag the slider to power off your device.
- Connect your iPhone to the computer while holding the Home button and then release the button when the Connect to iTunes (or recovery mode) screen appears.
A few moments after the recovery mode screen or Connect to iTunes screen is displayed, iTunes will prompt you to Restore or Update your iPhone. Select Restore to command iTunes to download the software for your device and restore iOS.
Wait for until the entire process is finished and once it’s done, you can continue to set up your iPhone as new. If this doesn’t fix the iPhone is disabled issue on your device, move on to the next solution.
Last resort: Use iTunes alternatives.
Aside from iTunes, there are also other tools you can use to erase a disabled iPhone without iCloud. Among these tools are iSkysoft Toolbox – Erase iOS, iOS Passcode Removal, Dr. Fone – Unlock iOS, and iMyFone, to name a few.
To get started, simply download and install your preferred iOS unlock software on your computer. Next, launch the software then select and download your iPhone firmware. You should see relevant command buttons or options to erase your iPhone. Thus you should be able to unlock your iPhone in a just a few clicks and regain full access to your device.
If you wish to evade from seeing the same “iPhone is disabled; connect to iTunes” error message in the future again, you can use Touch ID or Face ID (if supported) instead of passcode to unlock your device. To do this, go to your iPhone Settings-> Face ID & Passcode or Touch ID Passcode menu. Then tap Passcode to turn off lock screen. If your device does not support Touch ID, tap Passcode instead. Otherwise, just be prudent when entering the passcode to unlock your iPhone.
For other recommendations and further assistance in unlocking your disabled iPhone, you may contact your carrier or Apple Support.
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