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What to do if iPhone is disabled and won't connect to iTunes

When your iPhone can't connect to iTunes after it becomes disabled, use the suggestions in this page to get it around and unlock your device to use it again.

Blake Sullivan Updated on Jul 8, 2022 1:44 PM

As a result of forgetting passcode, you have disabled your iPhone after attempting possible 4 or 6 number combinations to unlock the device. Aiming to get past the grey screen saying white "iPhone is Disabled" with waiting time or with "Connect to iTunes" message and fix the disabled iPhone, you connect it to iTunes. However, the disabled iPhone won't connect to iTunes (or Finder on newer Mac) or computer.

If you have your iPhone upgraded to iOS 15.2 or newer, check the newer article about iPhone unavailable screen fix.

My iPhone is disabled and won't connect to iTunes

The frustrating "iPhone is disabled and won't connect to iTunes" issue involves:

You get "To allow access, please respond to your iPhone" message when connecting disabled iPhone to iTunes, but you can do nothing to undisable the phone except make emergency calls. This is a common problem as iTunes won't recognize your device if it's never been synced to there before being disabled.

You get another error message saying that iTunes doesn't recognize disabled iPhone as it's locked by a passcode. It requires you to enter the passcode to acquire permission to go into your device, but you cannot enable the authorization as you forgot the passcode.

You get nothing on iTunes and computer. The computer won't recognize iPhone that's disabled and you don't see your device option in iTunes window.

What to do if your iPhone won't connect to iTunes

If iTunes consumes all your resources to unlock the device when it's disabled, you don't have to stand for it. This page includes a standalone lock removal tool and iCloud trick to help unlock a disabled iPhone in an easier and more efficient way.


  • You're going to erase everything in your iPhone and restore it as new to unlock it.
  • After the restore, set up your device from scratch or restore from backup to use it again.

1. Use a dedicated tool to fix iPhone disabled issue

When calling for a dependable iTunes alternative to fix a disabled iPhone, you can't miss iPhone Unlocker. It brings a clean user-interface to quickly guide you through unlocking any iPhone that shows 'iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes' alert - no passcode is required. Not only that, but this program also works well with iPad and iPod touch. Other features of this program include removing the Touch ID, Face ID, Activation Lock, and more.

Below is the tool's download link for Windows version and macOS version, and what follows up is the tutorial for how to fix "iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes" error.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

Step 1: Upon installation, open up the tool. In its main screen, choose "Wipe Passcode" part.

iPhone disabled cannot connect to iTunes fix

Step 2: Next, plug your device into the computer. Once connected, verify the device information that appears and make necessary changes if needed.

What to do when iPhone doesn't show up:

  • Click the Device connected but not recognized? link in the upper part the screen and follow the onscreen steps to put your phone into recovery mode.
  • Once done, in the next window, select your device category and type, after which the corresponding device model will automatically appear.

Step 3: Once done confirming information, click Start button to download iOS software package for your device.

Step 4: When the download finishes, click Unlock button. In the pop-up dialog box, input 0000 in the text bar and press the Unlock button again to begin unlocking your iPhone.

We'll also have a dedicated video to guide you through the process to fix the disabled iPhone that won't connect to iTunes:

2. Fix a disabled iPhone that won't connect to iTunes using iCloud

If you don't have a computer handy, another alternative of iTunes is iCloud. You can log in iCloud website with the Apple ID and password that's used in your iPhone and go to Find iPhone section to erase the device remotely there.

A few requirements:

  • You've turned on Find My iPhone in your iPhone before disabling it.
  • The device has an Internet network.

If you're ready, here's what you need to do to unlock your device:

Step 1: In any browser, go to iCloud.com and input your Apple account credentials. In the loading iCloud page, click on "Find iPhone" from the bottom left corner.

Your device shows iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes but won't connect? Go to iCloud to unlock it.

Step 2: At the top of window, go to "All Devices" and choose the name of your device.

Choose the phone you want to erase from the device list.

Step 3: Then, hit Erase iPhone option.

Click "Erase iPhone" option to unlock a disabled iPhone without iTunes.

Step 4: When prompted, choose Erase option and enter your Apple ID password to start erasing your device.

After clicking the "Erase" option, all your phone content will be erased completely.

3. If you still want to use iTunes to fix the disabled iPhone, put it into recovery mode

There are two basic steps to unlock your iPhone through recovery mode. Make sure that iTunes is running the latest version and your device isn't connected to the computer.

Step 1: Enter into recovery mode

  • In iPhone 8 or later, hold the Power button (at the right edge) and either Volume buttons until it shows a power off slider. Turn off your device with the slider. Then, connect the phone to computer, while holding Side button until the recovery mode screen appears.
  • In iPhone 7 (Plus), hold down the Side button, then drag the power off slider to the right to shut down your device. Then, attach your device tocomputer and simultaneously press Volume down button. Keep holding the button until the phone goes into recovery mode.
  • In iPhone 6s or earlier, press the Side button and keep holding it until you see "slide to power off" alert. Move the slider to turn off your phone. Keep holding Home button while connecting your device to computer. Once entered recovery mode, release the button.

iTunes can detect your disabled iPhone that's in recovery mode without a passcode or verification code.

Step 2: Restore from iTunes

Now, the disabled iPhone should show up in iTunes. Click it and you'll be provided options to Restore or Update. Then, go ahead to choose Restore button.

choose restore

Be sure to keep your device connected to iTunes until it completes the restore process.

iTunes (or Finder) will download the latest iOS software and factory reset your locked device to remove the previous passcode. If the process takes more than 15 minutes, iPhone will exit the recovery mode and it'll go back to the Lock screen displaying the disabled error message. When it happens, just repeat Step 1 to enter the mode again.


In the end, most of time, the reason why iPhone won't connect to iTunes in disabled mode is that you forgot the passcode, or you can't access the phone to enable iTunes authorization.

Though, if the computer or iTunes doesn't recognize iPhone in recovery mode - and nothing changes after you switch a different USB cable and different USB port on the computer, try restoring from DFU mode.

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