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:
THE GROUND REALITY OF RESTORING WITHOUT A BACKUP
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.
ICLOUD TO THE RESCUE
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.
THE RECOVERY PROCESS: HOW TO GET YOUR IPHONE BACK FROM THE DEAD
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.