How many attempts do you have to unlock an iPhone?

When it comes to unlocking your iPhone, you only get a limited number of attempts before your device becomes disabled. So how many tries do you actually get? The answer depends on a few factors.

Default Attempt Limits

By default, iPhones running iOS 7 or later will allow you 10 failed passcode attempts before the device becomes disabled. This means you can try 10 incorrect passcodes before your iPhone locks you out completely. Once disabled, you’ll need to reconnect the device to iTunes to restore it.

Earlier versions of iOS allowed for even fewer attempts. For example, iOS 4 through iOS 6 allowed only 5 incorrect passcode entries. So with older iPhone models running older iOS versions, you had just 5 chances to unlock the device before it became disabled.

Increased Limits After Restarts

The attempt limit actually increases if you restart your iPhone. Here’s how it works:

  • On the first 10 failed attempts, the iPhone disables for 1 minute
  • After the first restart, the iPhone disables after 1 minute for the 11th and 12th failed attempts
  • After the second restart, the iPhone disables after 1 minute for the 13th, 14th, and 15th failed attempts
  • After the third restart, the iPhone disables after 1 minute for the 16th and 17th failed attempts
  • After the fourth restart, the iPhone disables after 1 minute for the 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd failed attempts
  • After the fifth restart, the iPhone disables after 1 minute for the 24th through 47th failed attempts
  • After the sixth restart, the iPhone disables permanently

So in total, by restarting your iPhone intermittently, you could potentially try incorrect passcodes 47 times before the device disables permanently.

Forgotten Passcodes

If you’ve completely forgotten your iPhone passcode, you’ll likely reach the attempt limit well before you luck into the correct code. Fortunately, you have a few options to recover access even after your iPhone becomes disabled.

Erase Your iPhone

Connecting your disabled iPhone to iTunes and restoring it will allow you to erase the device and set a new passcode. However, this also deletes all of your data and settings, in effect resetting your iPhone back to factory defaults.

Enter Recovery Mode

You can force your iPhone into recovery mode by pressing certain key combinations while connecting the device to iTunes. This will allow you to restore your device without fully erasing it, providing you the opportunity to recover your data from a backup.

Remove the Passcode

If you have an unlocked backup of your disabled iPhone, you may be able to use third-party software to bypass the passcode. This allows you to recover your data and remove the passcode without fully resetting the device.

Avoiding Attempt Limits

To avoid hitting the passcode attempt limit and suffering the inconvenience of a disabled iPhone, follow these tips:

  • Don’t guess random passcodes – this will quickly lock you out
  • Write down or save your passcode somewhere secure as a backup
  • Use Touch ID or Face ID to unlock your iPhone when possible
  • Make sure your iPhone performs regular iCloud backups you can restore from
  • Don’t let others attempt to unlock your iPhone
  • Install a lockout-protected passcode manager app
  • Set up account recovery options you can use if locked out

Passcode Attempt Limits for iPads and iPods

The passcode attempt limits function similarly across Apple’s mobile devices. Here’s how it works on other models:


Recent iPad models running iOS 7 or later also allow 10 failed passcode attempts before disabling. As with the iPhone, restarting can increase this limit to about 47 attempts.

iPod Touch

iPod Touch devices have the same 10 attempt limit and restart increments as iPhone and iPad.

Older iPhone and iPod touch Models

As mentioned previously, iPhone and iPod touch devices running iOS versions earlier than iOS 7 allow only 5 failed passcode attempts before disabling.

Passcode Attempt Limits on Android Phones

Android phones have varying passcode attempt limits, depending on the device model and installed OS version. Here are some examples for popular phones:

  • Samsung Galaxy – 10 attempts
  • Google Pixel – 30 attempts
  • LG – 10 attempts
  • Motorola – 15 attempts
  • HTC – 10 attempts

So while Android attempt limits vary, they generally fall within the range of 10 to 30 failed attempts before the device becomes disabled or requires a passcode reset.


In summary, here’s a quick overview of iPhone passcode attempt limits:

  • iOS 7 or later allows 10 failed attempts
  • Restarting can increase attempts to about 47
  • Older iOS versions allow only 5 attempts
  • Disabling requires restoring through iTunes
  • Avoid random guessing and remember your passcode

So in most cases, you have about 10 chances to enter the correct iPhone passcode before losing access. Your best bet is enabling Touch ID or Face ID if possible, memorizing your code, and using account recovery options if you do get locked out.

iOS Version Failed Attempt Limit
iOS 7 or later 10
iOS 4 – iOS 6 5

Understanding the passcode attempt limits can help you avoid getting locked out of your iPhone. With some care taken to remember and secure your code, you can ensure continued access to your device and its valuable contents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the limit reset after a certain amount of time?

The passcode attempt limit does not automatically reset after a set amount of time. The only way to reset the attempt counter is to restart your iPhone. The limit will increase after each restart up to about 47 attempts.

What happens if I erase my iPhone from iTunes?

Erasing your iPhone from iTunes will factory reset the device and remove the passcode, allowing you to set a new one. However, this will also delete all your data and settings.

Can I remove the passcode without erasing my iPhone?

Yes, if you have an unlocked backup of your disabled iPhone you may be able to use third-party software to bypass the passcode without fully erasing the device. This allows you to recover your data while also removing the forgotten passcode.

How long does an iPhone stay disabled after failed attempts?

After you reach the attempt limit, your iPhone will be disabled for 1 minute initially. The time increases to 5 minutes after subsequent failed attempts. Once the device becomes permanently disabled, it will stay that way until you restore it through iTunes.

What if I don’t have a backup of my disabled iPhone?

If you don’t have a backup, your only option is to erase your iPhone and set it up again as new. This will result in permanent data loss unless you can find a way to extract the data from the disabled device using advanced methods.

Can I ask Siri to unlock my iPhone if I forget the passcode?

No, you cannot use Siri to unlock an iPhone if you don’t know the passcode. Siri does not have a way to bypass the passcode lock screen.

What happens if I enter the wrong passcode using VoiceOver?

Failed passcode attempts using VoiceOver count against the limit in the same way. VoiceOver does not allow extra passcode attempts or bypass the disabled state once the limit is reached.

How do I reset the attempt counter?

The only way to reset the passcode attempt counter is to restart your iPhone. Each restart will allow additional failed attempts before disabling occurs.

Can Find My iPhone unlock a disabled device?

No, Find My iPhone cannot unlock a disabled iPhone. You will still need to restore the device via iTunes to gain access again.

Preventing Lockouts

Here are some tips to avoid getting locked out of your iPhone due to too many failed passcode attempts:

  • Set up Touch ID or Face ID if your model supports it
  • Write down your passcode somewhere safe as a backup
  • Avoid guessing random passcodes
  • Set up iCloud Keychain to store passwords
  • Enable iCloud backups in case you need to restore
  • Use a password manager app for generating secure codes
  • Add secondary contact info or authentication methods
  • Know your Apple ID and password for account recovery
  • Consider minimum 6-digit numeric codes for short recall
  • Avoid passcodes based on repeating or sequential patterns

Following security best practices like these will help prevent you from being locked out of your iPhone if you forget important login credentials.


In summary:

  • Recent iPhones allow about 10 failed passcode attempts
  • Older models and iOS versions allow only 5 attempts
  • Restarting can temporarily extend the limit
  • Erasing through iTunes resets but loses data
  • Backups can help recover data if locked out
  • Avoid guessing randomly and store your passcode securely
  • Use Touch ID, Face ID, or auth apps when possible

Knowing the passcode limits can help you develop a smart unlock strategy. But your best protection is memorizing a strong code and enabling secondary authentication methods if available. With some care taken, you can avoid the frustration of getting locked out of your iPhone.