An iPhone security lockout is a feature designed to protect your device and data when an incorrect passcode is entered multiple times. It can be frustrating when you’re locked out of your iPhone, but there are several methods available to fix the issue.
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This article will explain what causes an iPhone security lockout, how to unlock your device using the new iOS 15.2 or later “Erase iPhone” feature, how to troubleshoot if the “Erase iPhone” option is unavailable or unresponsive, and how to avoid getting security lockout in the future.
Causes of iPhone Security Lockout
The main cause of an iPhone security lockout is entering the incorrect passcode multiple times in a row. This triggers a series of increasing lockout times before ultimately showing a “Security Lockout” message on your screen. The screen displayed may vary depending on the iOS version and lock screen settings.
Unlocking iPhone Security Lockout with iOS 15.2 or later
Erase iPhone Directly on Security Lockout Screen
iOS 15.2 introduced an “Erase iPhone” feature that allows users to unlock their device directly from the security lockout screen without having to connect it to a computer. To use this method, there are certain pre-requisites:
- Your iPhone must run on iOS 15.2 or later.
- Your device needs to have an active cellular or Wi-Fi connection.
- You must remember the Apple ID credentials used for setting up your iPhone.
If these conditions are met, follow these steps to erase and disable your iPhone’s security lockout:
- On the Lock Screen, continue entering incorrect passcodes until you see the “Security Lockout” message.
- Tap the “Erase iPhone” option located in the bottom corner of the screen.
- Review and confirm by tapping “Erase iPhone” once more.
- Enter your Apple ID and password when prompted. This will sign you out of the device.
- Wait for the process to finish, and then set up your iPhone as a new device, restoring any backed-up data in iCloud or your computer.
Troubleshooting When Erase iPhone Option is Unavailable
If the “Erase iPhone” option on the security lockout screen is either unresponsive or not available, there are other methods you can use to fix the issue.
Restore Locked iPhone with iTunes or Finder
Another method involves using iTunes (for PCs and Macs running macOS 10.14 or earlier) or Finder (for Macs running macOS 10.15 or later). Before starting, ensure that you’re using the latest version of iTunes or Finder and have a compatible USB cable for connecting your iPhone.
Follow these steps to restore your locked iPhone:
- Connect your device to the computer and open iTunes or Finder.
- Enter your iPhone into recovery mode by pressing the relevant buttons.
- Once iTunes or Finder detects your device in recovery mode, a window will pop up asking you to Update or Restore the locked iPhone. Choose “Restore”.
- Allow the software to download, extract, and reinstall iOS on your device.
- When completed, set up your iPhone as new and restore any backed-up data from iCloud or your computer.
How to Avoid Getting Security Lockout on an iPhone
To prevent iPhone security lockouts in the future, consider taking these steps:
- Set a strong yet memorable passcode: While it’s essential to have robust protection for your device, try to choose a passcode that is both secure and easy for you to remember.
- Update iOS to the latest version: Keep your iPhone updated with the latest version of iOS to take advantage of new features and security improvements that can help prevent issues, such as future lockouts, black or frozen screen.
In summary, fixing an iPhone security lockout may involve erasing your device, either directly from the lockout screen or using alternative methods such as an iTunes or Finder restoration, or an iCloud reset. Taking precautions like setting a memorable passcode and regularly updating iOS can help prevent future security lockouts.
Can I unlock my iPhone without erasing all data during the security lockout?
Unfortunately, erasing all data and restoring your device to factory settings is the only way to remove a security lockout. This process ensures maximum protection for your personal information in case of unauthorized use. However, you can restore your data from an iCloud or iTunes backup after unlocking the device.
What is the difference between “iPhone is Disabled” and “Security Lockout”?
“iPhone is Disabled” was a message shown in iOS 15.1 or earlier after numerous failed passcode attempts, while “Security Lockout” is a new feature introduced in iOS 15.2. Both messages indicate that too many incorrect passcodes have been entered, but “Security Lockout” allows users to erase their device directly from the screen without connecting it to a computer.
What if I don’t remember my Apple ID password during the security lockout?
If you don’t remember your Apple ID password during a security lockout and need it to erase your device or sign out during setup, you can reset your password through your recovery options (email address or security questions). After successfully resetting your password, you can use it to complete the process.
How many incorrect passcode attempts trigger a security lockout?
A security lockout on an iPhone occurs when an incorrect passcode has been entered multiple times in succession. Initially, you’ll receive incremental timeouts after each successive attempt:
6 failed attempts: iPhone locked for 1 minute
7 failed attempts: iPhone locked for 5 minutes
8 failed attempts: iPhone locked for 15 minutes
9+ failed attempts: iPhone displays “Security Lockout” message
What happens if I restart my iPhone during the security lockout?
Restarting your iPhone during the security lockout will cause it to disconnect from the Wi-Fi network. The device will only reconnect to the network after it’s been unlocked with the correct passcode. Although, it may still reconnect to a cellular network. Keep in mind that failing to unlock the iPhone and continuing with incorrect passcode attempts will extend the lockout duration or require erasing the device.