What to do if iPhone passcode doesn’t work?

Having trouble getting into your iPhone because you forgot the passcode? Don’t panic. There are several things you can try to get back into your device.

Try entering your passcode again

Before doing anything else, try entering your passcode again. Go slowly and carefully, making sure you are pressing the correct numbers in the right order. Sometimes in a rush we can hit the wrong buttons by mistake. If you have recently changed your passcode, there’s also a chance you simply forgot what it was. Taking your time to re-enter it may jog your memory.

Check if caps lock is on

If your passcode contains letters, make sure the caps lock setting on your iPhone keyboard is not enabled accidentally. Press the caps lock key to toggle it on or off if needed. Entering letters in the wrong case could cause your passcode not to work.

Restart your iPhone

Restarting your device can sometimes resolve minor software glitches that may be preventing your passcode from being accepted correctly. To restart an iPhone 8 or earlier, press and hold the sleep/wake button until you see the “slide to power off” prompt. Then drag the slider. Once the screen goes black, wait 30 seconds then press and hold the sleep/wake button again until you see the Apple logo. For iPhone X and later models, press and hold the side button and either volume button at the same time until the power off slider appears. Drag the slider to turn off, wait 30 seconds, then press and hold the side button again until you see the Apple logo.

Check for iOS updates

If your iPhone is not running the latest iOS software, updating it may help get your passcode working again. Go to Settings > General > Software Update to install any available updates. Keep your device connected to WiFi and a power source until the update completes. Then try your passcode again.

Reset your passcode

If you cannot recall your current passcode but still remember your Apple ID login details, you can reset your iPhone passcode online. Go to https://iforgot.apple.com/ and select your country or region. Follow the prompts to enter your Apple ID and answer your security questions. You’ll then be able to reset your passcode to something new.

Erase your iPhone

As a last resort, erasing your device will delete your passcode along with all of your data and settings. You’ll essentially be resetting it back to factory defaults. To erase, connect your iPhone to a computer and open iTunes. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can also erase directly from your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Reset and tapping “Erase All Content and Settings.” Keep in mind this will remove everything so be sure to backup first if possible.

Use device recovery mode

If you cannot erase your iPhone through the settings menu due to the passcode issue, you can force it into recovery mode and restore it with a computer. Here are the steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer via USB cable
  2. Press and quickly release the Volume Up button
  3. Press and quickly release the Volume Down button
  4. Then, press and hold the Side button until you see the recovery mode screen
  5. Open iTunes on your computer and it will prompt you to restore the iPhone
  6. Follow the on-screen steps to complete the restore process

Once the restore finishes, your iPhone will reboot without a passcode, giving you access again.

Use Find My iPhone

If you have Find My iPhone enabled in your iCloud account, you can erase your device remotely without even having it in your possession. Just log into iCloud.com in any web browser, click Find My iPhone, select your device, then choose Erase iPhone. This will immediately clear the passcode and restore it to factory defaults.

Get help at the Genius Bar

As a last resort, book an appointment at your local Apple Store’s Genius Bar. The specialists may be able to bypass or reset your passcode for you. Bring proof that you own the iPhone. Be aware there is usually a fee involved for this service.

Avoid forgetting your passcode

To avoid passcode problems in the future, here are some tips:

  • Don’t use complex or obscure passcodes that are hard to remember
  • Write down or store your passcode somewhere secure in case you forget it
  • Set up Touch ID or Face ID so you don’t always have to enter your passcode
  • Enable Find My iPhone as a backup unlocking method
  • Change your passcode every few months to keep it fresh in your mind


Being locked out of your iPhone due to a forgotten passcode can be frustrating. But in most cases, you can get back into your device with a simple restart, software update, or passcode reset. Just stay calm and work through the different troubleshooting steps. With persistence, you’ll regain access to your iPhone. And be sure to implement passcode best practices going forward to avoid this happening again down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my iPhone passcode suddenly not work?

There are a few common reasons why an iPhone passcode may suddenly stop working, including:

  • You recently changed your passcode and forgot the new one
  • You are entering the passcode incorrectly, such as mixing up numbers
  • Your iPhone has a minor software glitch that is preventing passcode recognition
  • The caps lock key is accidentally enabled on your keyboard
  • Your device needs a software update to fix a passcode bug

How can I reset my iPhone passcode without a computer?

To reset your iPhone passcode without a computer you can:

  • Use the password reset feature at https://iforgot.apple.com/
  • Erase your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings
  • Remotely erase your iPhone using Find My iPhone at iCloud.com if enabled

Will I lose all my data if I reset my passcode?

Yes, erasing your iPhone to reset the passcode causes you to lose all data, settings, apps, and other information on the device. Be sure to backup your iPhone before resetting the passcode so you can restore the data later.

Can someone bypass my iPhone’s passcode?

It is very difficult for someone else to bypass an iPhone’s passcode without completely resetting the device. Apple’s encryption makes it virtually impossible to hack into an iPhone. A passcode reset will still be required to regain access.

Why won’t my iPhone unlock with Face ID?

If Face ID is not working to unlock your iPhone, try the following:

  • Restart your device in case of a minor software glitch
  • Make sure nothing is obstructing the TrueDepth camera
  • Redo the Face ID setup process
  • Check for any significant changes to your appearance
  • Update your device software in case Face ID was broken
Passcode Issue Potential Solutions
Forgotten passcode
  • Try remembering and re-entering it
  • Reset passcode with Find My iPhone
  • Erase iPhone to remove passcode
Passcode disabled
  • Wait 5 minutes then retry passcode
  • Hard reset the iPhone
  • Update iOS software
Passcode not recognized
  • Restart the iPhone
  • Check for caps lock
  • Carefully re-enter passcode
Can’t reset passcode
  • Erase iPhone in Recovery Mode
  • Use Find My iPhone iCloud unlock
  • Get help at Apple Genius Bar


Being locked out of your iPhone can be immensely frustrating, but don’t panic. In most cases, you can regain access with some simple troubleshooting steps. Try entering your passcode again carefully, double check caps lock, restart your device, or reset your passcode if needed. With some persistence, you’ll get back into your iPhone.