How do you unlock a disabled iPhone from another iPhone?

Having a disabled iPhone can be extremely frustrating, especially if you don’t have access to a computer to restore it. Thankfully, there is a way to unlock a disabled iPhone using just another iPhone. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through all the steps needed to unlock a disabled iPhone from another iPhone.

What Does It Mean for an iPhone to Be Disabled?

An iPhone is considered disabled when the passcode has been entered incorrectly 10 times in a row. This triggers an automatic lockout as a security measure.

Once disabled, the iPhone essentially becomes unusable. You cannot make or receive calls, use apps, access contacts or photos, or do anything else besides emergency calls. The only way to regain access is to correctly enter the passcode. But after 10 failed attempts, the iPhone will not accept any passcode entries for increasing periods of time.

Common Reasons an iPhone Becomes Disabled

  • Forgetting your passcode
  • Having an incorrectly typed passcode attempt 10 times
  • A child playing with your phone and entering wrong passcodes

No matter how it happens, having a disabled iPhone can make you feel powerless. Especially if you don’t have a computer around to connect it to iTunes and restore. But with another iPhone on hand, you can get yours unlocked without needing to restore it.

Requirements for Unlocking a Disabled iPhone from Another iPhone

To unlock a disabled iPhone from another iPhone, there are a few requirements:

  • Both iPhones must be signed into the same iCloud account
  • Find My iPhone needs to be enabled on the disabled iPhone
  • You’ll need the Apple ID password for the iCloud account
  • Both iPhones need an internet connection (WiFi or cellular data)

As long as you meet these requirements, you can use a second iPhone to remotely unlock the disabled one and regain access.

Step-by-Step Guide to Unlocking a Disabled iPhone

Follow these steps to unlock a disabled iPhone from another iPhone:

1. Sign into the Same iCloud Account

On the second iPhone, sign into the same iCloud account that the disabled iPhone is linked to. You can do this by going to Settings > [your name] > iCloud.

2. Ensure Find My iPhone is On

Double check that Find My iPhone is enabled on the disabled iPhone by signing into Go to Find iPhone and you should see your disabled device there. This allows you to remotely interact with it.

3. Tap ‘Erase iPhone’ on Find My iPhone

Instead of fully erasing it, this will give you the option to disable the passcode without wiping the iPhone.

4. Enter Apple ID Password When Prompted

You’ll be asked to enter the Apple ID password for the iCloud account to proceed. This verifies your identity.

5. Wait for Passcode to be Disabled

It may take a few minutes, but eventually the passcode will be turned off remotely. Your disabled iPhone will go back to the “Hello” screen and become usable again.

6. Set a New Passcode

With your iPhone unlocked, go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (Touch ID & Passcode on iPhone 8 or earlier) and set a new passcode you can remember.

Unlocking the iPhone Without Erasing It

The key thing to note in the steps above is that you are not fully erasing the iPhone from Find My iPhone. Instead, you are using the “Erase iPhone” option to disable the passcode. This leaves all your data and settings intact.

If you were to choose “Erase iPhone” instead, it would perform a full factory reset on the device after unlocking it. So it’s important to pay close attention to the wording in Find My iPhone when going through these steps.

What to Do If You Don’t Meet the Requirements

In order to unlock a disabled iPhone remotely from another iPhone, you need:

  • Both devices signed into the same iCloud account
  • Find My iPhone enabled
  • The Apple ID password
  • An internet connection on both devices

If any of these requirements are missing, you won’t be able to use a second iPhone to unlock the disabled one. Here are some other options in this scenario:

Restore With iTunes on a Computer

Connect the disabled iPhone to a computer and restore it using iTunes. This will wipe the device, but allow you to use it again.

Contact Apple Support

Apple may be able to help unlock the iPhone without erasing it. Contact them via to see if they can assist.

Take it to an Apple Store

Make a Genius Bar appointment and have an Apple Store employee unlock your disabled iPhone. Bring proof you own the device.

Use iPhone Unlock Services

There are professional services that can unlock an iPhone remotely without erasing it, usually for a fee. This could be an option if you absolutely need the data.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you run into any trouble trying to unlock your disabled iPhone from another iPhone, here are some things to check:

  • Make sure both iPhones are connected to the internet (WiFi or cellular data).
  • Double check Find My iPhone is actually enabled on the disabled device.
  • Log out then back into iCloud on the second iPhone before trying again.
  • Reset the Apple ID password if you think it may be incorrect.
  • Wait a full hour after failed attempts before trying again.

Following these basic troubleshooting steps can help resolve any issues you encounter. The process should work smoothly as long as all requirements are met.

Can You Unlock a Stolen iPhone Remotely?

If your disabled iPhone was stolen, you may be wondering if you can unlock it remotely to track the thief or wipe the device. Unfortunately, this is not possible if the iPhone has been disabled.

Remote locking, tracking, and wiping requires Find My iPhone to be left on. But when an iPhone is disabled, Find My iPhone gets automatically disabled as well. So there is no way to interact with the device remotely once in this state.

That said, if Find My iPhone was enabled right before the iPhone was stolen, you can put it into Lost Mode from another device. This locks it immediately with a passcode and tracks its location. But this has to be done before the iPhone is disabled to be effective.

What to Do If Your Stolen iPhone Is Disabled

If your stolen iPhone ends up disabled, your options are limited. Here’s what you can try:

  • File a police report for the stolen device and provide its IMEI number.
  • Report it to your carrier so they can blacklist the IMEI.
  • Remotely erase the device if the thief somehow finds a way to reactivate it.

While not ideal, at least your personal data will be safe since the thief can’t access a disabled iPhone. And if it ends up back in your possession, you can unlock it yourself with the method in this guide.

Preventing Your iPhone From Becoming Disabled

The easiest way to avoid having to unlock a disabled iPhone is to prevent it from becoming disabled in the first place. Here are some tips to avoid this frustrating scenario:

  • Set a longer, more complex passcode with letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Turn on Touch ID or Face ID if your model supports it.
  • Don’t allow anyone else to handle your unlocked iPhone.
  • Enable Find My iPhone so you can erase the device if stolen.
  • Regularly back up your data to iCloud or iTunes.

Enabling stronger security features, keeping your iPhone physically secure, and backing up regularly will help protect you from ever needing to unlock a disabled device.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does an iPhone stay disabled after 10 failed attempts?

The iPhone disable time increases exponentially with each failed attempt. It starts at 1 minute, then 5, 15, and so on up to 1 hour between attempts. After 10 failed passcodes, the iPhone is permanently disabled until unlocked.

Can you ask Siri to unlock a disabled iPhone?

No, you cannot use Siri to unlock a disabled iPhone. Siri is disabled along with the rest of the iPhone when it enters this state. The only way to unlock it is with a second iPhone, computer restore, or professional service.

Why is my iPhone disabled when I enter the right passcode?

If you know you are entering the correct passcode but the iPhone remains disabled, the system time may be inaccurate. Connect it to a computer and restore to fix the time issue and unlock it.

How do I back up a disabled iPhone?

Unfortunately, you cannot back up a disabled iPhone. Since it’s locked out of the system entirely, there is no way to access the data or perform a backup. This is why it’s critical to regularly back up your iPhone before it becomes disabled.

Can Apple employees unlock a disabled iPhone without erasing it?

In some cases Apple Support or Genius Bar employees can unlock an iPhone while preserving the data. If you visit an Apple Store, they may be able to unlock it for you without fully erasing the device.


Having an iPhone become disabled due to too many failed passcode attempts can be a nightmare. But thankfully, you can unlock a disabled iPhone from another iPhone remotely without even needing a computer. As long as you meet the requirements of having both devices signed into the same iCloud account with Find My iPhone enabled, you can use a second iPhone to disable the passcode lock on the disabled one.

Just be sure not to fully erase the iPhone when prompted in Find My iPhone. Simply disabling the passcode is enough to regain access. With some patience, these steps can save you from an unnecessary restore and get your iPhone working again.

So next time your iPhone becomes unresponsive after entering the wrong passcode too many times, don’t panic. Just grab another iPhone and you’ll be up and running again in no time. Sign into iCloud, use Find My iPhone to disable the passcode, and avoid total disaster.