Can you remotely unlock an iPhone?

Being locked out of your iPhone can be incredibly frustrating. Whether you forgot your passcode or your device became disabled after too many failed unlock attempts, not being able to access your phone leaves you disconnected from your digital life.

Luckily, there are a few different options for unlocking your iPhone remotely if you find yourself locked out. While you may be tempted to take your device to an Apple Store or authorized service provider for help, remote unlocking services offer a convenient way to bypass your iPhone’s lock screen from anywhere. These services can save you the time and hassle of making a Genius Bar appointment or mailing your device away for repairs.

Quick Overview: Can You Unlock an iPhone Remotely?

Yes, there are a few different methods you can use to unlock an iPhone remotely:

  • Use Find My iPhone to erase your device remotely, which will remove the passcode
  • Enter your Apple ID credentials on to erase and unlock your device
  • Use third-party remote unlocking services that work by essentially jailbreaking your iPhone and bypassing the lock screen
  • Contact your carrier to request an unlock if the device is carrier-locked

The easiest method is using Find My iPhone, but this will erase all of your data. Third-party services allow you to unlock your device while keeping your data intact. Unlocking via your carrier is an option if your device is carrier-locked.

Using Find My iPhone to Remotely Erase and Unlock Your iPhone

All iPhones come equipped with Apple’s Find My iPhone service, which can be used to remotely erase your device if it becomes lost or stolen. This feature removes your iPhone’s passcode lock by resetting it to factory settings.

To use Find My iPhone to unlock your device:

  1. Go to and sign in using your Apple ID credentials.
  2. Click on the Find iPhone option.
  3. A map will appear showing the location of your device. Click on your iPhone.
  4. Select Erase iPhone. You will be asked to enter your Apple ID password.
  5. Your iPhone will be erased and reset to factory settings, removing the passcode.
  6. Once the erase is complete, you can set up and use your iPhone like new.

The advantage of using Find My iPhone is that you can unlock your device remotely without needing to take it to a repair shop. However, the disadvantage is that erasing your iPhone using this method will delete all of your data, contacts, photos, apps, and settings.

When to Use Find My iPhone Unlock

Find My iPhone remote erase makes the most sense in these situations:

  • You forgot your passcode and have no way to retrieve it
  • Your iPhone is lost or stolen, and you want to protect your data
  • You are selling your iPhone and want to wipe it before transfering ownership
  • Your iPhone is experiencing software issues that are resolved by resetting it

Unless you are willing to lose your data, Find My iPhone remote erase should only be used as a last resort unlocking option when all else has failed.

Unlocking a Lost iPhone via

Very similar to using Find My iPhone, you can also remotely erase and unlock your iPhone by logging into This allows you to bypass your lock screen without having to install the Find My iPhone app.

To unlock with

  1. Go to and enter your Apple ID and password to sign in.
  2. Click on Find iPhone.
  3. Select your locked iPhone from the list of devices.
  4. Click Erase iPhone and confirm your password.
  5. Once the remote erase finishes, your iPhone will be unlocked and ready to be set up again.

As with Find My iPhone, using to erase your device remotely will delete all of your iPhone data in the process. Only use this method if you have no other way to get back into your iPhone and don’t mind losing your information.

When to Use to Unlock iPhone

Situations when using to unlock your iPhone may be your best or only option:

  • You don’t have Find My iPhone enabled on your device
  • You forgot your Apple ID password and can’t sign in to Find My iPhone
  • You don’t have access to another iOS device to use the Find My iPhone app
  • Your iPhone has become disabled and will not turn on

As long as you know your Apple ID credentials, you can use from any web browser to remotely erase and unlock your iPhone when locked out.

Using Remote Unlocking Services

Third-party remote unlocking services offer the ability to unlock your iPhone while preserving your data. These services can unlock your device without having to erase everything on it.

Remote unlocking services work by exploiting software vulnerabilities in order to gain access to your iPhone’s operating system. Essentially, they bypass your lock screen by jailbreaking your device.

Different remote unlocking companies may use different techniques, but the general process involves:

  1. Obtaining your iPhone’s IMEI number
  2. Identifying your iPhone model and iOS version
  3. Emailing specialized unlocking software to you
  4. Instructing you how to enter DFU mode and install the software
  5. Remotely sending unlock signals once the software is installed
  6. Bypassing the lock screen once the unlock signals are received

This allows them to unlock your iPhone without needing access to it physically or knowing your Apple ID credentials. The advantages are that you can keep all of your iPhone data intact.

However, there are some downsides to be aware of with third-party unlocking services:

  • They are exploiting iOS security vulnerabilities, which Apple may patch
  • Installing unlocking software requires jailbreaking your iPhone
  • Apple may detect the jailbreak and disable certain features
  • Voids your iPhone warranty and AppleCare coverage
  • Risks bricking your device if something goes wrong

When to Use Third-Party Unlocking

Here are some instances when you may want to use a remote unlocking service:

  • You forgot your passcode and have no other way to unlock your iPhone
  • Your iPhone is disabled and Find My iPhone cannot be used
  • You want to avoid erasing all data by using Find My iPhone
  • You purchased a used iPhone that is still locked to the previous owner
  • Your iPhone is carrier-locked and you need it unlocked quickly

Remote unlocks allow you to access your iPhone again while preserving its contents. But the risks mean you should only use them as a last resort.

Carrier Unlocking a iPhone

If you have an iPhone that is locked to a certain carrier, you may be able to request that your carrier unlock it from their network. This allows you to use your iPhone on any carrier by inserting a new SIM card.

To unlock a carrier-locked iPhone:

  1. Contact your carrier’s customer support by phone or online chat
  2. Ask them to submit an iPhone unlock request
  3. Provide any requested details like IMEI number, account info, etc
  4. Wait the specified amount of time for the unlock to be processed
  5. Your carrier will notify you once the iPhone is network unlocked
  6. Insert a new carrier’s SIM card and your iPhone will now work on that network

The length of time it takes for a carrier to process an iPhone unlock request can vary between hours to days to weeks depending on their policy. Unlocking eligibility may depend on factors like:

  • Being out of contract
  • Having had service for a minimum period of time
  • Device being fully paid off
  • Account being in good standing

If eligible, getting your iPhone unlocked by your carrier grants you more flexibility to switch networks or use local SIMs when traveling internationally.

When to Use Carrier Unlocking

Carrier unlocking your iPhone makes sense in these scenarios:

  • Your contract is up and you want to switch carriers
  • You want to use your iPhone on international trips
  • You bought a used iPhone that is carrier-locked
  • You are on a family/shared plan and want flexibility to use different carriers

Requesting an iPhone unlock from your carrier can give you more options for using your device, especially when traveling. Just be aware unlock times can vary widely between carriers.

Avoiding Situations Where You Might Need to Remotely Unlock iPhone

While we’ve covered various methods for unlocking a locked iPhone remotely, the best situation is avoiding getting locked out in the first place. Here are some tips to prevent you from needing to remotely unlock your iPhone down the road:

  • Set a passcode you can remember easily, or use Face ID/Touch ID
  • Write down passcodes somewhere safe in case you forget them
  • Back up your iPhone regularly so you can restore data if erased
  • Enable Find My iPhone in case you lose your device and need to remotely wipe it
  • Save important photos/videos to cloud storage or external hard drive
  • Avoid jailbreaking your iPhone which increases security risks
  • Use a mobile device management (MDM) tool to bypass lock screens
  • Don’t buy carrier-locked iPhones if you want flexibility to switch networks

Putting preventative measures in place will reduce the chances of you winding up locked out of your iPhone. But if you do get locked out, use Find My iPhone or as your first options before pursuing remote unlock services which come with greater risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about unlocking an iPhone remotely:

Does Apple offer an official remote unlock service?

No, Apple does not offer an official remote unlock service. The only options provided by Apple are using Find My iPhone or to erase and unlock a device. This results in data loss.

Can my carrier remotely unlock my iPhone?

Carriers cannot directly unlock an iPhone themselves. They can only submit requests to Apple to whitelist a device’s IMEI for being unlocked. It is still up to Apple to actually approve and process the iPhone unlock.

Do I need the Apple ID password to unlock an iPhone remotely?

If using Find My iPhone or, you will need to your Apple ID password in order to erase and unlock an iPhone. For third-party unlocking services, typically only the iPhone’s IMEI number is required.

If I erase my iPhone, will it still be unlocked after?

Yes, using Find My iPhone or to erase an iPhone will not only remove the passcode, but also reset the device to factory default settings. This completes removes any previous locks or restrictions.

Can I unlock an iPhone if I forgot my Apple ID?

Unfortunately if you forgot your Apple ID, you will not be able to use Apple’s Find My iPhone or iCloud unlocking options. In this case, you would need to use a third-party unlocking service or contact Apple Support to recover your Apple ID.

Will unlocking my iPhone allow me to use it on any carrier?

Unlocking your iPhone through your carrier or third-party service will allow you to use it on any GSM network. However, Verizon and Sprint iPhones use CDMA technology, so these would still be limited in carrier compatibility after unlocking.


Being locked out of your iPhone can certainly be a hassle. But fortunately Apple provides reliable ways to erase and unlock your device like Find My iPhone and You can also enlist the help of your carrier or third-party unlocking service in a pinch. Just make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each method carefully before proceeding.

Following best practices like backing up your data and not jailbreaking your iPhone will reduce the chances of a lock-out happening. But if you do get locked out, take the opportunity to learn from the experience and implement measures to prevent it happening again down the road.