Daily TipsiPhone

What to do if you can’t remember your iPhone passcode

Forgot your iPhone passcode? Thankfully, it’s not too hard to get your  smartphone into recovery mode so you can erase it and set it up again.

If you enter the wrong passcode on your iPhone Lock Screen too many times, an alert lets you know that your iPhone is disabled. If you can’t remember your passcode when you try again, use a computer to put your iPhone in recovery mode. 

Recovery mode allows you to erase the iPhone, giving you access to set it up again. After you erase your iPhone, you can restore your data and settings from a backup. If you didn’t back up your iPhone, you can set it up as a new device and then download any data that you have in iCloud.

First steps

You’ll need a Mac or PC to do this. It’s easier with a Mac.

If you’re using a PC, make sure that it has Windows 8 or later, and that iTunes is installed. You also need the cable that came with your iPhone, or another compatible cable, to connect your iPhone to the computer.

Now turn off your iPhone. Unplug your iPhone from the computer if it’s connected.

Here’s how to turn off your iPhone using the method for your iPhone model:

° iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and later, including iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation): Press and hold both the side button and the Volume down button until the power off slider appears.

° iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6: Press and hold the side button until the power off slider appears.

° iPhone SE (1st generation), iPhone 5s, and earlier: Press and hold the top button until the power off slider appears.

Drag the slider to turn off your iPhone, then wait a minute to make sure that it turns off completely.

Recovery mode

Now you’ll need to put your iPhone into recovery mode. Get ready by finding the button on your iPhone that you’ll need to hold in the next step:

° iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and later, including iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation) use the side button.

° iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus use the Volume down button.

° iPhone SE (1st generation), and iPhone 6s and earlier use the Home button.

Now press and hold the correct button for your iPhone while immediately connecting your iPhone to the computer. Don’t let go of the button.

Keep holding the button until you see the recovery mode screen on your iPhone, then let go.

If you see the passcode screen, you need to turn off your iPhone and start again.

Restore the iPhone

Now it’s time to restore your smartphone. Locate your iPhone in the Finder or in iTunes on the computer that it’s connected to.

Choose Restore when you see the option to Restore or Update. Your computer downloads software for your iPhone and begins the restore process. If the download takes more than 15 minutes and your device exits the recovery mode screen, let the download finish, then turn off your iPhone and start again.

Wait for the process to finish. 

Disconnect your iPhone from the computer, then set up and use your iPhone. 

(This how-to is based on my experiences and info on Apple’s support pages.)

the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.
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