An earlier coverage on this topic referred to how you can recover your iPhone or iPad (or iPod Touch) when you have forgotten the passcode. With appropriate backups taken, you can easily restore your device and bypass the passcode requirement.

However, when you have never backed up your iDevice in iTunes (even once), chances of data recovery are very thin. There are, of course, some workarounds that you can explore.

Here’s some of them:

Forgot My iPhone Passcode

If you have never backed up your iDevice in iTunes, it will not let you backup the device when it’s locked. Unfortunately, in this case, we’ve only got a locked and disabled iPhone that can only be restored as new via iTunes. The bottom-line is that you’ll lose your data. This will be apps, app data, contacts, photos, music and most of everything that resides on your iPhone/iPad.

May be if you’ve got iCloud sync and backup setup, the chances of finding all your app data, photos and contacts in iCloud are high. In that case, you can move ahead with the assurance that you can restore your iDevice from an iCloud backup and be up and running with almost everything.

If your iPhone is disabled due to incorrect passcode entry, you can use some other device – may be an iPad or another iPhone – to check out data that has been synced to your iCloud account. You can login to your Apple ID via Settings → iCloud and then sync the device to see if contacts, mail, photos and other app data are available as a backup.

When your iPhone is disabled, the only option you have is to restore it through iTunes.

To do this:

  • Connect your iPhone to the computer
  • Open iTunes
  • Select the iPhone (from the sidepane or from top-right of the screen)
  • In the Summary tab, click on Restore
  • If iTunes proceeds with a problem-free restore, your device will be wiped clean and restored as a new device. You can then carry on restoring it from an iCloud ID.
  • If iTunes throws up errors, it’s time to go to Recovery Mode. Press and hold Power and Home buttons till iPhone goes into the blank state. (Black screen). Now connect the iPhone to iTunes and restore (iTunes will detect that a device is in recovery mode).

Note that both these methods are going to wipe data clean because you don’t have a backup already. If you did, you can follow the instructions here.

  • Muthu Ganesh

    My iphone 6plus is disabled, but when i try to connect it to itunes my PC is not recognizing the device……!!! (USB not recognized)

  • Care

    Forgot to mention this was iPhone 6 with ios9 something

  • Care

    It wanted to go to iTunes recovery mode I had to force it to go to dfu mode after original failed recovery in dfu.

  • Care

    May have also saved disabled phone. I had my phone set to not delete if disabled. I tried dfu restore but it had an error, however, I was able to then restart in dfu again and run update this time. Phone asked me for username and credit card info. However in one of my previous efforts to reenable it, I had tried to remove it from my find my iPhone account without deleting. So it hung there and said if I stopped there phone would be erased. Ended up doing forced restart and phone was erased. If it sat longer or I’d kept it with find my iPhone maybe it would have worked. I believe apple support lied to me about what happens when phone disables and what can be done. Several times I found things to work they said would not. They sent me to same third party twice which would have ruined my apple care agreement. But that also made me think they had an agreement with this comp, as well. It was extremely expensive and I could not afford. I’m curious to know if anyone tries this and they don’t lose everything on their phone. It may be a work around if you accidentally disabled your own phone. I would suggest trying this first and not removing it from your find my iPhone or putting it in lost mode.

  • Mariah

    Omg nothin even work

  • Ally

    When I connect my disabled iPhone 4, my computer tells me to Respond on my iPhone. I am not aware how to do so.?

    • Mariah Jones

      The same thing happens to me

  • vishal

    hi, i hv iphone5s its in disabled condition, tried to restore it but i was getting error4013, any thing else i can do with it to enable it,


    • Caralee

      I think you try again in dfu mode and just run update, not restore. Then you will be prompted for username and password & credit card

  • waqas

    my iphone is disable connect to itunes. tell me a method without loosing my data.

    • Rich

      connect to iTunes on computer that you set your phone up with and then hit the sync button. It will allow you to enter your password into your iphone again. If you forgot the password completely, a recovery will be necessary.

  • Steve Newell


    • Mariah Jones