How to Unlock Your iPhone if You Forgot the Password

Forgetting the password to your iPhone can be frightening. Entering the incorrect password six times in a row will lock your device.

If you still can’t remember your password, your only option is to factory reset the iPhone. You can factory reset it on a computer or using Find My. You can also use your iPhone’s recovery mode.

Thankfully, there are ways to back up your iPhone’s data before factory resetting it. After factory resetting, using the backup to restore your iPhone will restore it to its previous state, from before the reset.

Unlocking Your iPhone using a Computer

This guide uses a Mac, but you can follow the same steps on your Windows PC. The only difference is that you’ll need iTunes on PC, which you can download from here. This method allows you to create a backup of your iPhone’s data before resetting it, so it’s strongly recommended to use it.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac with the charging cable of your device (Lightning to USB cable) and wait for it to show up under “Locations.”

    Finder Window in MacBook Pro
    The device will appear under Locations.
  2. Click on your iPhone’s name under “Locations”

    iPhone Connected to MacBook Pro
    Click on your device.
  3. In the “General” tab, select Restore iPhone…

    Restore iPhone on Finder or iTunes
    Click on Restore iPhone.
  4. Choose whether you want to create a backup of your iPhone. This backup will be used to restore your device to how it was when you forgot your password. We strongly recommend making a backup at this stage.
    Create a Backup Before Erasing iPhone
    Choose your preferred option.
  5. Click on Restore and Update (the update option will only appear if there’s an update available) and then wait for iPhone restoration to finish.

    Restore and Update iPhone Device on Mac
    Click on Restore and Update.
  6. Once the iPhone restoration is complete, you can disconnect your device and set it up like you usually would.

    Setting Up Your iPhone After Erasing It
    Start setting up your iPhone! (Source: apple.com)

Unlocking Your iPhone using “Find My”

The “Find My” feature on iCloud allows you to track your Apple devices and erase them.

Note: using this method will not create a backup of your device. If you do not already have a backup, we recommend using a computer method.

Here’s how you can factory reset your iPhone with Find My:

  1. Go to Find My on Apple’s website. Click on Find your stuff on iCloud.com.

    Find My on the iCloud Site
    Click on Find your stuff on iCloud.com.
  2. Sign in with your Apple ID.

    Sign into iCloud With Apple ID
    Enter your Apple ID.
  3. Click on All Devices at the top.

    All Apple Devices on Find My
    Click on All Devices.
  4. Select your iPhone’s name.

    Changing Devices on Find My
    Choose your iPhone from the list.
  5. Click on Erase iPhone to factory reset your device.

    Erasing an iPhone on Find My to Unlock It
    Click on Erase iPhone.
  6. A confirmation box will pop up notifying you that all your content will be deleted, and you won’t be able to track or locate your iPhone. Select Erase.

    Confirmation Box Before Erasing the iPhone on Find My
    Click on Erase.

Unlocking Your iPhone using Recovery Mode

Use this method if your device has never been synced with iTunes and you haven’t set up “Find My” on iCloud.

Note: using this method will not create a backup of your device. If you do not already have a backup, we recommend using a computer method.

To put your device in recovery mode, turn it off and connect it to your Mac or Windows computer using your device’s charging cable or any Lightning to USB cable. After, hold down a single button or a combination of buttons depending on what iPhone you have:

For iPhones with Face ID, press and hold the side button.

Putting iPhone 8 or Above and SE 2nd and 3rd in Recovery Mode
Press and hold the side button. (Source: apple.com)

For iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, press and hold the volume down button.

Putting iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in Recovery Mode
Press and hold the volume down button. (Source: apple.com)

Press and hold the Home button for iPhone 6 or earlier and iPhone SE (1st generation).

Putting iPhone SE 1st Gen and iPhone 6 in Recovery Mode
Press and hold the Home button. (Source: apple.com)

Don’t let go of the button until you see the recovery mode screen on your device. After that, you can follow the same steps we used in the first method to restore your device using a Mac or PC.

iPhone in Recovery Mode
Recovery mode screen on the iPhone. (Source: apple.com)

Restore from backup

After resetting your iPhone, you can restore it to its old state by restoring it from a backup. If you didn’t already have a backup previously, resetting it using a computer following the steps above will help you do this.

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