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What to do when your iPhone is disabled - 4 Options

Getting a disabled message? Whether you enter the wrong passcode to your iPhone more than six times, or you forgot the passcode, here's how to revive your iPhone.

Blake Sullivan Updated on Jan 10, 2023 8:21 PM

Uh, oh. Your iPhone Lock Screen won't go past and pops up an "iPhone is disabled" message. In a moment, you quickly realize the device stores your kids photos and most important files, and the problem gets even worse as you realize the disable period increases each time you enter the wrong passcode.

You can undisable an iPhone with a few effective ways from Apple and third-party developers.

If you've forgotten the passcode and got locked out of your device, throwing you an "iPhone is disabled" alert, don't worry. In this article, we will explain what does it mean when iPhone is disabled and what you can do to restore your phone to a working state with new firmware, including third-party solution - iPhone Unlocker software.

Here are a few proven options you can take to remedy the situation. At the bottom of the article, we also give you a few tips that could make potential iPhone disabled disaster in the future a little less painful.

Table of contents

Why does my iPhone get unavailable?

Before you do anything, you'll want to know why your iPhone says unavailable. Every time you enter the wrong passcode to the Lock Screen on your phone, it counts the number of times. After the 6th attempt, the iPhone will disable for 1 minute.

If you get it wrong again, the waiting period escalates: the 7th incorrect entry will lock itself for 5 minutes, the 8th entry for 15 minutes, the 9th entry for an hour. As soon as you reach the 10th entry and still don't enter the right passcode, unfortunately, "iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes" message pops up instead. You've exhausted your last chance to unlock the iPhone.

What can I do if getting an "iPhone is disabled" message?

When your iPhone becomes disabled and can't remember your passcode, there's no way to bypass the Lock Screen without restoring your phone to factory settings. The options range from recovery mode (which needs a computer to restore from iTunes or Finder) and iCloud's remote wipe using Find My iPhone feature to third-party iPhone unlocking solutions.

The downside about restoring your iPhone is that all of your personal content and apps will be erased, but you should already back up your data to iCloud or on the computer that you can then get back. At the very least, performing a restore will bring the disabled phone back to a working state, and you can set it up as a new device. Here's how to do.

iPhone is disabled - recover with iTunes

Try this solution first to recover your iPhone that's disabled if you've synced it with your computer previously. If you're presented with "connect to iTunes" message, skip down to the next option.

1. Connect the iPhone to the computer that you sync it with, and launch iTunes or Finder.

2. Select your phone when it appears in the application.

3. Click Restore iPhone in Summary section of iTunes or General tab in Finder.

4. You'll want to do a backup first and then restore the phone with the latest iOS software. In a few minutes, your iPhone should be recovered to full functionality.

iPhone is disabled - restore from recovery mode

Depending on what model of iPhone you have, to start Recovery mode you need to use the different button combinations. Afterward, you can select "Restore" option to erase your phone to start fresh. You would need to enter your Apple ID password to activate the device during the setup process if Find My iPhone was enabled.

Here is how to start from recovery mode when you get the iPhone disabled message.

1. Make sure you computer has iTunes installed already.

If you're running macOS 10.15 or later on a Mac, you'll want to use Finder instead.

2. Disconnect your iPhone from the computer if it's connected.

Don't connect your device. You will do this in the step 4.

3. Turn the device off.

For an iPhone 8, X or later, SE (2nd gen): Press and hold both the Side button and the Volume down button for a while until you see the power off slider appear. Turn off your device with the slider.

For an iPhone 7: Press and hold the Side button for a while until you see the power off slider appear. Turn off your device with the slider.

For iPhone 6s, SE (1st gen), and earlier: Press and hold the Side (or Top) button for a while until you see the power off slider appear. Turn off your device with the slider.

4. Connect the iPhone to computer and enter recovery mode.

For an iPhone 8, X or later, SE (2nd gen): After the phone is turned off, hold down the Side button while connecting your device to the computer. Continue holding the Side button until the recovery-mode screen appears on your phone screen.

For an iPhone 7: After the phone is turned off, hold down the Volume down button while connecting your device to the computer. Continue holding the Volume down button until the recovery-mode screen appears, release the button.

For iPhone 6s, SE (1st gen), and earlier: After the phone is turned off, hold down the Home button while connecting your device to the computer. Continue holding the Home button until the recovery-mode screen appears.

When you get an alert disabling iPhone, starting recovery mode helps undisable it.

5. Restore your device.

On your PC or Mac, you should be presented with a dialog box, prompting you to Restore or Update your phone. In our case, choose Restore. Wait for iTunes or Finder to download software for your iPhone.

The options dialog will let you get the iPhone updated or restored if there's a problem with it.

6. Configure your iPhone as normal.

If you have backup of your data, you can choose restore your device from the backup to save your data. You can even download everything you have in iCloud.

Remove the lock screen with 3rd-party program

There is a wide collection of passcode unlocking applications out there for undisabling iPhone, iPhone Unlocker stands out because it's efficient and doesn't require skills to run.

The program offers a simple way to remove a Lock Screen if you forgot your passcode or enter the wrong passcode too many times. It also lets you remove a forgotten Apple ID and passcode, as well as ScreenTime passcode.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

How to recover an iPhone when it appears disabled message using iPhone Unlocker.

1. Open the program on your either Mac or PC machine.

2. Plug the iPhone into computer and then select "Wipe Passcode" from the program screen.

3. Place the phone into recovery mode following the onscreen steps, when prompted.

4. Verify the phone details and download iOS software for your specific iPhone.

5. Click "Unlock" and let the program reinstall the software on your phone. This will delete everything you have and remove the disabled message, reverting the device to factory settings.

After that, set up your iPhone.

Recover the phone from iCloud

Even if you're not able to enter recovery mode, you can still recover a disabled iPhone using iCloud's Find My service. It's built into every iOS device settings, considerably more easy to implement a complete wipe than the desktop based Finder or Finder, but does carry the same results.

1. Navigate to the Find My iPhone website in any web browser.

2. Enter your login information, both Apple ID and password.

3. At the top of the screen, find your iPhone that is disabled from "All Devices" menu and select it.

4. Click "Erase iPhone," and then confirm it by clicking "Erase."

You can restore your disabled device with Find My service in iCloud.

5. Enter your Apple ID password.

Once you make it through these steps, your iPhone will reboot and display a clean setup screen, without "iPhone is disabled" message left. Follow the directions to restore your device with a recent backup in iCloud or iTunes. Also see: iPhone photo recovery

If the disabled problem persists, contact Apple

If even the iCloud's Find My iPhone doesn't work, then it's time to make an appointment with an Apple Store. Have a technician examine your disabled iPhone and solve it for you quickly. There's a chance that a DFU restore will bring your device back to life.

How to avert an iPhone disabled disaster

Hopefully, by this point your iPhone is as good as new and you'll never be stuck at "iPhone is disabled" message again.

It's easy to get into your iPhone without typing passcode, but you may not want to for security reasons. We suggest you set a new passcode to protect your data on the phone, and use a tip sheet that offers clues as to what your passcode might be. This avoids forgetting your code that could disable your iPhone.

Another option to avoid scares when your iPhone get into something wrong is perform regular backups. You can do this with Apple's own route (iCloud or iTunes) or using third-party data storage services.

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