How many times can I try to unlock my iPhone?

If you enter the wrong passcode too many times when trying to unlock your iPhone, you will be locked out and required to take additional steps to regain access. So how many incorrect attempts do you get before you’re locked out? The exact number depends on a few factors.

Default Attempt Limit

By default, iOS allows 10 incorrect passcode attempts before initiating a timed lockout. This means if you enter the wrong passcode 10 times in a row, the iPhone will disable touch input for encrypted data for 1 minute.

After the 1-minute lockout expires, the iPhone will allow you 1 more attempt. If the 11th attempt is also wrong, the iPhone will disable touch input for 5 minutes. At this point, your options are to wait out the lockout or force restart the iPhone to reset the attempt counter.

Escalating Lockout Times

If you continue entering the wrong passcode, the lockout time escalates up to a maximum of 1 hour:

Incorrect Attempts Lockout Time
10 1 minute
11 5 minutes
12 15 minutes
13 1 hour
14+ 1 hour

So in summary, after 10 failed passcode attempts, you’ll encounter lockouts of increasing duration up to 1 hour. The attempt counter will reset after a successful unlock or after powering down the iPhone.

Limits for Touch ID and Face ID

For iPhones with Touch ID or Face ID, the limit is 5 failed biometric authentication attempts before requiring the passcode. After 5 failed fingerprint or face scans, you will be prompted for the passcode and the attempt limits mentioned above will apply.

Limits for Erase Data Feature

There is a separate attempt limit if you have the “Erase Data” feature enabled. This security feature will automatically erase your iPhone after 10 consecutive failed passcode attempts.

So with Erase Data turned on, you only get 10 passcode attempts total before the iPhone erases itself. You don’t get the escalating lockout times – it goes straight to data erasure on the 10th failed attempt.

What Counts as an Attempt

Any time you enter the passcode incorrectly and tap the “Unlock” button, it counts as 1 failed attempt. Just entering the wrong passcode without tapping unlock does not count.

Entering the passcode correctly but getting Touch ID or Face ID wrong does not count as a failed passcode attempt.

Attempts made while the iPhone is locked out due to previous failures also do not count towards the limits.

Exceptions for Full Device Erase

There are a couple scenarios where the iPhone will perform a full erase after just 10 failed attempts, regardless of whether you have Erase Data enabled:

  • When setting up a new iPhone
  • After rebooting from a failed operating system update

In these cases, 10 consecutive failed passcode attempts will immediately trigger erasure of the entire iPhone. This is to protect data in the event the iPhone ends up in the wrong hands during setup or system update.

Passcode Attempt Limits on iPad and iPod Touch

The passcode attempt limits behave similarly on iPad and iPod Touch models running iOS:

  • Default of 10 attempts allowed
  • Escalating lockout times up to 1 hour after the 10th attempt
  • Option to erase data after 10 failed attempts if enabled
  • 5 failed attempts allowed with Touch ID before requiring passcode

So the overall limits are consistent across iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices.

What Happens at Apple Store?

If you exhaust all passcode attempts and end up with an iPhone stuck at the 1 hour lockout screen, the Apple Store can still unlock it for you. They have special tools that can bypass the lockout restrictions and reset the passcode.

However, if you enabled Erase Data and the iPhone erased itself after 10 failed attempts, there is no way for Apple to recover that data. The encryption keys are destroyed through the erase process, so the data is permanently inaccessible.

Strategies to Avoid Lockouts

To avoid getting locked out of your iPhone, here are some helpful strategies:

  • Use a shorter, simpler passcode that you can consistently recall and enter correctly.
  • Write your passcode down on paper and keep it in a safe, accessible place in case you forget it.
  • Disable Erase Data feature so you don’t risk losing data with 10 failed attempts.
  • Turn off auto-lock so your iPhone doesn’t lock between passcode attempts.
  • Force restart your iPhone after 5 failed attempts to reset the counter.
  • Back up your iPhone regularly so you have a way to recover data if erased.


In summary, the default limit is 10 failed passcode attempts on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices running iOS. After 10 failures, you’ll encounter escalating lockout times up to 1 hour before another attempt is allowed.

The Erase Data feature, if enabled, will perform a full data erase after 10 consecutive failed attempts. This makes 10 failed attempts potentially devastating if you don’t have a recent backup.

Using shorter passcodes, writing it down securely, and backing up your device can help avoid lockouts and data loss. Understanding the passcode attempt limits allows you to take precautions to always maintain access to your iPhone.