How to fix an iPad that's been disabled after entering the wrong passcode

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Kelly Hodgkins
February 11, 2014 11:30 AM
How to fix an iPad that's been disabled after entering the wrong passcode

iPad disabled passcode

Have you ever picked up your iPad, only to discover it has been disabled by your curious children who entered the password too many times? Or maybe you've done it yourself when you've forgotten the passcode you created a month ago? if you enter in an incorrect password too many times, iOS will think someone is trying to break into your device and will disable it.

The problem with a disabled device is that you can't type in the password anymore, even if you suddenly remember it. You either have to wait a certain amount of time or connect the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to iTunes, if it has been permanently disabled. Here are a few tips to help you get that device unlocked without losing valuable information.

Try to back up the iOS device in iTunes

iTunes deviceThe first thing you should try to unlock your disabled device is a simple iTunes backup. Connect your iOS device to your computer via USB and open iTunes. Select the device in the upper right-hand corner to display its properties in the main screen.

iTunes backup

Click on the "Back Up Now" button to start a sync. You may be prompted to type in your password on your iOS device to start the sync because the device is locked. Once you have typed in your password, you can cancel the back up and start using your device.

Restore the device using iTunes and a previous backup

If the backup trick doesn't work, then you may have to reset the passcode by restoring the device. This only works if you have previously synced your device with iTunes and have a backup stored on your computer. Follow these steps to restore your device and reinstall your backup.

  1. Connect the device to the computer with which you normally sync and open iTunes.
  2. If the device is still disabled, or if iTunes does not automatically sync your device, sync the device with iTunes by pressing the "Back Up Now" button.
  3. When the backup and sync are complete, restore your device.
  4. When iOS Setup Assistant asks to set up your device, choose "Restore from iTunes backup."
  5. Select your device in iTunes and choose the most recent backup of your device.
  6. Wait patiently while the restore completes its process.

When the restore is completed, you should have all your documents, photos, emails and settings in place and the device should no longer be disabled.

Restore the device using recovery mode and reset the password

If you've never connected your iOS device to your computer, then you may need to place the device in recovery mode and restore it to erase the device. Unless you have an iCloud backup, you will lose all of your data using this method. If you use iCloud for backup, you can select a backup during the setup process after the restore.

  1. Disconnect the USB cable from the device, but leave the other end of the cable connected to your computer's USB port.
  2. Turn off the device: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds until the red slider appears, then slide the slider. Wait for the device to shut down.
  3. While pressing and holding the Home button, reconnect the USB cable to the device. The device should turn on.
  4. Continue holding the Home button until you see the Connect to iTunes screen.
  5. iTunes will alert you that it has detected a device in recovery mode. Click OK, and then restore the device.
  6. Follow the prompts in Setup Assistant and proceed to "Set up your device."
  7. If you used iCloud for backup, tap Restore from a Backup, then sign in to iCloud.
  8. Proceed to "Choose backup," then choose from a list of available backups in iCloud.
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