What to Know

  • If you don't have the passcode, your only option is to erase the iPhone.
  • You can unlock the iPhone by erasing and setting it up as new and then restoring it from a recent backup.

An iPhone can become locked or disabled if you enter the wrong passcode too many times or if you’ve forgotten your iPhone’s passcode. This is a problem—as long as your iPhone is locked and you don’t have the passcode, you can’t use it. That means you’ll need to erase the contents of the iPhone and start over. Here’s what to do.

How to Unlock an iPhone Without the Password 

There’s good news and bad news. The good news is you can unlock an iPhone even without its passcode. The bad news is you have to erase the iPhone and set it up from scratch. If you’ve got a recent backup of your iPhone, you can restore it and essentially have it return to normal. If not, though, you may lose some data. Here’s what to do:

  1. If you use Windows, install iTunes on your computer. If you use a Mac, skip to the next step.

  2. Begin by turning off your iPhone (the steps differ by model, but the link has instructions for every iPhone).

  3. Connect the USB cable that came with the phone to your iPhone, but not to your computer.

  4. Hold down a button to put your iPhone into Recovery Mode:

    • on iPhone 8, iPhone X and newer, and iPhone SE (2nd gen) and newer, use the Side button
    • on iPhone 7, hold the Volume Down button
    • on iPhone 6, iPhone SE (1st gen) and earlier, hold the Home Button.
  5. Keep holding the button and plug the other end of the USB cable into your computer.

  6. When the Recovery Mode screen appears on your iPhone, let go of the button.

    iPhone recovery mode screen

  7. What you do here depends on what kind of computer you're using:

    • On Windows: Open iTunes.
    • On Mac: Open a new Finder window and click your iPhone in the left-hand sidebar (you may need to expand the Locations section).
  8. Click Restore.

    Recovery process for an iPhone on Mac

  9. Follow all onscreen instructions. As you do, you'll need to wait for your computer to download updated software, erase your iPhone, and return it to set-up mode.

  10. As part of the setup, you can choose to restore from a backup (if you have one) and set a new passcode.

  11. When the set up is complete, disconnect your iPhone from the computer.

There are lots of third-party apps that claim to be able to unlock an iPhone without the passcode. Don't believe it. Apple's security is very difficult to defeat. While there have been some very limited instances of hackers getting around the security, that requires very expensive and very sophisticated devices. Don't waste your money.

How to Unlock an iPhone Without the Password Using Find My

If you don’t have a computer, you can use Apple’s Find My service (which is usually used to find lost devices) to unlock your iPhone by erasing it. This assumes you’ve already set up Find My, of course. If you have, follow these steps:

  1. On any device that’s connected to the internet, open a web browser and go to iCloud.com.

  2. Log in using your Apple ID and password (this is not the passcode for your iPhone. It's your username and password used with Apple devices and when buying things from Apple platforms like the App Store).

    The iCloud.com website

  3. Click Find iPhone.

    Main iCloud.com options

  4. Click All Devices and then click your iPhone.

    The main Find My iPhone menu

  5. Click Erase iPhone.

    Find My iPhone Erase menu

  6. In the pop-up, click Erase.

    The Erase this iPhone confirmation in iCloud

  7. After your iPhone has been erased, you can set up it like new or choose to restore your data from a backup and set a new passcode.

If you’ve tried these options and still can’t unlock your iPhone, you can contact Apple for support. For online or phone help, go to Apple’s support website. You can also make an appointment for in-person help at your closest Apple Store.

FAQ

  • How do I unlock my iPhone with no password and just my phone?

    If your iPhone is running iOS 15.2 or later, Find My is on, and you're connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data, keep trying your password until you see "Erase iPhone" in the bottom-right corner. Select Erase iPhone, then enter your Apple ID password when prompted. This will erase your iPhone and reset it to factory settings, at which point you restore it during setup.

  • How do I unlock my iPhone with no password and without a computer?

    So long as you have Find My turned on, you can use the Find My app on a connected iPad or even the web browser on an Android phone to reset and unlock your iPhone instead of a computer.

  • Can I unlock my iPhone without a passcode using the camera?

    There have been bugs and exploits in older versions of iOS that would allow you to unlock your iPhone by accessing the camera, but those security loopholes have been closed for a long time now.

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