Apple iPhones have a built-in security lockout feature designed to protect users’ data in case the phone is lost or stolen. After entering an incorrect passcode five times, the iPhone will go into security lockout mode, requiring the passcode before access is granted again.
While this provides protection against unauthorized access, it can be an inconvenience if you forget your own passcode. When in security lockout, even Apple cannot bypass the lock to access your data without fully erasing the iPhone.
This article provides an overview of methods to resolve iPhone security lockout and regain access without data loss, including using iCloud and iTunes backups, third party unlock tools, and Apple support options.
Bypassing Security Lockout
Unfortunately, there is no way to bypass the security lockout on an iPhone without erasing data, according to discussions on Apple’s support forums and other reputable sources.
Once an iPhone is in security lockout mode after too many failed passcode attempts, the only options are to erase the device or wait for the automatic timeout period, which can range from 1 hour to 1 week depending on settings (source). The timeout period cannot be disabled or bypassed.
Apple’s security lockout is designed to protect data by preventing unlimited passcode attempts. The only way to regain access to the device is to erase it, which also erases all data. There are no known methods to bypass the lockout without data loss. Even Apple themselves cannot unlock the device without an erase (source).
In summary, there is no way around the iPhone’s lockout security. The only options are to wait out the timeout period or erase the device entirely to regain access. Users should be certain to have a current backup before attempting passcode entry to avoid permanent data loss.
Restore From Backup
One option to recover your data after erasing the iPhone due to security lockout is to restore from a backup. There are two main types of backups that can be used – iCloud and iTunes.
If you had iCloud Backup enabled on your iPhone before it was locked out, you can use this to restore your data. After erasing the iPhone, you can set it up as a new device and sign in with your Apple ID. During setup, you will be prompted to restore from the iCloud Backup associated with your account. This will download your data and settings from the cloud and restore them to your device .
You can also restore from an iTunes backup if you routinely synced your iPhone with iTunes on a computer. Connect your erased iPhone to the computer, open iTunes, and choose to restore from the latest backup. This will load the data and settings that were saved locally on your computer back to your device .
Using an iCloud backup is one of the best ways to preserve your data when locked out of your iPhone. iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone daily when connected to power, WiFi, and has over 50% battery. However, if your iPhone is disabled due to a forgotten passcode, you won’t be able to create a new iCloud backup.
Fortunately, iCloud saves previous backups for up to 30 days. As long as you have a relatively recent iCloud backup from before your iPhone was disabled, you can use it to restore your data. When setting up the iPhone, choose “Restore from iCloud Backup” during the setup process. Sign in with your Apple ID and choose the desired backup. This will restore your settings, apps, and data while allowing you to bypass the passcode lockout.
According to Apple Discussions, iCloud backup is the recommended way to preserve your data if you get locked out of your iPhone . However, it’s important to have an existing backup, as you cannot create a new iCloud backup on a disabled iPhone.
One option to backup your iPhone data before erasing due to security lockout is to use iTunes. Connect your locked iPhone to a computer with the latest version of iTunes installed. When your iPhone is recognized, iTunes will indicate that the device is locked and ask you to enter the passcode. However, you can still initiate a backup by clicking ‘Back Up Now’ in iTunes.
This will allow iTunes to create a full backup of your iPhone locally on the computer. According to an Apple Discussions thread, “You can try to backup to iTunes by connecting it to your computer, but it will likely ask you to unlock the device with the passcode. This will at least give you the option to backup before erasing it” (source).
So even though you cannot access your locked iPhone, iTunes can still detect it and back up data like photos, messages, contacts, and more. This provides a way to salvage your data before you proceed with erasing the device to remove the lock.
Third Party Tools
There are several third party tools available that can bypass the security lockout on an iPhone without erasing data. One of the most popular options is software like LockWiper. This type of software is designed specifically for the purpose of unlocking an iPhone passcode without data loss.
LockWiper works by getting into the iPhone’s operating system and resetting the passcode, so you can regain access. According to the LockWiper website, their software has a 95% success rate and works on all iPhone models running iOS 15.3 or earlier. It can bypass screen lock, Face ID, passcode and MDM activation lock.
Another recommendation is EaseUS MobiUnlock. This is an iPhone unlock software that removes various types of lock screens without data loss or overwrite. It works on disabled, locked out and blacklisted iPhones. The software can be used directly without iTunes or iCloud.
The main advantage of using these types of third party unlocking tools is that they provide an easy way to regain access to a locked iPhone without having to erase the data. For those who don’t have a backup or don’t want to lose data, they offer a handy solution.
If you get locked out of your iPhone or iPad due to entering the wrong passcode too many times, you may be able to get help directly from Apple to regain access without erasing your data. According to Apple’s support article If you see an ‘iPhone is disabled’ message, you can contact Apple support to remove the activation lock on your device.
Apple support can verify your identity and ownership of the device and may be able to remove the lock remotely without requiring you to erase the device. This allows you to regain access while preserving your data. However, Apple notes this option is not guaranteed and will depend on verification of your account details.
Before contacting Apple support, you may want to try connecting your locked iPhone to iTunes on a computer you’ve synced with before to see if you’re provided with an option to enter the passcode. If that fails, reach out to Apple support by phone, chat or at an Apple retail store for personalized assistance with removing the lock without deleting your data.
Data Recovery Services
If you have important data on your disabled iPhone that is not backed up anywhere, professional data recovery services may be able to help retrieve it. Companies like iMyFone and DriveSavers offer iPhone data recovery capabilities that can bypass locks and encryption.
These services use proprietary software and techniques to access the iPhone’s internal storage and memory chips directly to extract data. However, they typically require sending your device to a data recovery lab and can cost upwards of $1000 or more for high-priority service .
Data recovery success rates vary depending on the device condition and type of damage. Water damage, for example, significantly reduces the chances of recovering data. It’s best to contact a professional service to get an estimate before committing to an expensive recovery attempt.
While data recovery services may retrieve photos, messages, contacts and other data, keep in mind they cannot bypass Activation Lock or reset your passcode. You will still need your device passcode to fully access and use the iPhone after data recovery.
There are significant risks involved with bypassing the security lockout on an iPhone without erasing data. Leaving the device unlocked provides access for anyone to gain entry, view personal information, access apps and accounts, make purchases, and more. There is a reason Apple employs strong security measures like passcodes and lockouts – to protect user data and privacy.
As noted in the Apple Discussions thread “Risks to leaving the setting – ‘allow access when unlocked’ enabled”, leaving your iPhone unlocked creates major security vulnerabilities. Anybody could pick up your phone and instantly access everything, making theft incredibly dangerous. Even enabling features like “allow access when unlocked” poses risks of others getting unauthorized access when you aren’t paying attention.
Additionally, using unofficial third party tools to bypass the lockout rather than performing a factory reset comes with inherent risks. As this article points out, “Most free tools aren’t reliable and may steal your data.” It’s safest to reset the device through official methods like iTunes or iCloud backups.
While inconvenient, restoring your device through approved methods is the most secure solution if you can’t remember your passcode. Maintaining proper data security is worth the hassle of resetting and restoring your settings and information. Bypassing the lockout without resets poses massive risks of others accessing, viewing, stealing or modifying your sensitive personal data.
In summary, if you have forgotten your passcode and get locked out of your iPhone, there are a few options to regain access without erasing your data. The best approach is to use an iCloud or iTunes backup to restore your device. Third party unlocking tools also exist, but come with risks regarding legality and data security. As a last resort, professional data recovery services may be able to retrieve your data, for a fee.
To avoid getting locked out, make sure you set a passcode you can remember, or use Touch ID/Face ID. Write your passcode down somewhere safe in case you do forget it. Enable automatic backups so you have a backup ready in the event you experience a lockout. With the proper precautions, you can avoid losing your iPhone data if you ever get locked out.