What to do if you lost your unlock code iPhone?

Losing the unlock code for your iPhone can be stressful and frustrating. Your personal information and data are locked behind that code, and without it, you can’t access or use your device. Thankfully, there are a few potential solutions for unlocking your iPhone without the code. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through all the steps you can take to get back into your iPhone if you lost your unlock code.

Try guessing or remembering your passcode

Before taking more drastic measures, take some time to try remembering your passcode. We often use codes that are familiar or meaningful to us – a birthday, anniversary, or favorite number sequence. If you’ve used the device for a while, you may be able to guess the code through muscle memory even if you can’t remember it. Try entering various combinations of numbers that are significant to you. With some time and patience, you may be able to unlock it this way.

You can also try retracing your steps to when you last entered the code. Where were you, what were you doing, what connects to the numbers? Recreating the context may help jog your memory. If someone else knows you well, ask them to take guesses at what your passcode could be based on important dates, numbers, etc. A fresh perspective could reveal the right code.

Keep in mind that after several wrong entries, your iPhone will disable input for increasing amounts of time. Take breaks between attempts to avoid long lockouts.

Use iPhone unlocking software

If you have absolutely no idea what your passcode could be, your best bet may be to use specialized software to unlock the iPhone. Companies like Tenorshare and iMyFone offer solutions that can bypass the lock screen given enough time.

Unlock software works by running password generator programs that input thousands of numeric combinations into the iPhone lock screen until the correct one is found. This brute force approach may take hours or even days, but will eventually unlock the device.

To use unlocking software, you’ll need to download it to a computer and connect your locked iPhone. The software will communicate with the device directly to enter codes. Make sure you download software that is reliable and verified to avoid any potential security risks.

Pros of iPhone unlocking software

  • Guarantees unlocking the iPhone even without the code
  • Automates the guessing process so you don’t have to input thousands of codes
  • Works on all iPhone models and iOS versions
  • Allows full access to your iPhone once unlocked

Cons of iPhone unlocking software

  • Can take hours or days to find the right passcode
  • Requires a computer connected to the iPhone
  • Potential security/data risks with unreliable software
  • Doesn’t work if you enabled iPhone data erasure after 10 failed attempts

Reset your iPhone passcode at appleid.apple.com

If you have an Apple ID account set up on your iPhone, you may be able to reset the device passcode online instead of guessing it. Go to appleid.apple.com and log in with your Apple ID credentials.

Once logged in, you can select your locked iPhone under ‘Devices’ and view device-specific options. Choose ‘Remove Passcode’ and confirm to reset the device passcode remotely. This bypass the need to enter the old code. However, your iPhone must meet a few conditions for this method to work:

  • Find My iPhone is enabled in settings
  • The iPhone has an internet connection
  • The iPhone is running iOS 15.2 or later
  • You used an Apple ID password for the passcode (not a 4- or 6-digit numeric code)

If you set a simple number code, you won’t be able to reset it through your Apple ID. And without an internet connection, the changed passcode can’t sync to the device. But under the right circumstances, this eliminates the need to guess codes or use unlocking software.

Erase your iPhone and disable the passcode

A last resort if you’re still locked out of your iPhone is to erase it entirely and disable the passcode. This will let you access the device again, but result in data loss. Before proceeding, make sure you have backups of anything important on the iPhone.

You can erase the iPhone by connecting it to a computer and entering recovery mode. On a Mac, do this by:

  1. Connecting the iPhone to the computer via USB
  2. Opening Finder and selecting the iPhone
  3. Holding the Side button and clicking ‘Restore iPhone’
  4. Waiting for the iPhone to be wiped and restored to factory settings

On Windows, the process involves:

  1. Downloading iTunes from apple.com/itunes
  2. Connecting the iPhone and opening iTunes
  3. Pressing and holding the Home and Top buttons for 5 seconds
  4. Letting go when you see the recovery mode screen
  5. Clicking ‘Restore’ in iTunes to erase and restore the iPhone

Once the iPhone restarts after the reset, it won’t ask for any passcode. You can then disable the passcode lock by going to Settings > Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode and entering your new code, then toggling off ‘Require Passcode’.

While not ideal since you lose all data, this ensures you’ll be able to freely use the iPhone again without any unlock code.

Contact Apple Support to unlock your iPhone

If you have no luck with the DIY unlocking methods, Apple Support can potentially help unlock the iPhone for you. You will need to verify that you are the owner either online or at an Apple Store.

Apple has an Activation Lock status checker at icloud.com/activationlock where you can enter your iPhone’s IMEI or serial number. If the tool says the iPhone is locked, select ‘Contact Apple Support’ and fill out the form.

Alternatively, schedule a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store. Bring proof of purchase for the iPhone and a valid government ID. Ask the Genius to remove Activation Lock so you can access the iPhone.

As long as you can demonstrate ownership, Apple Support can unlock the device or disable the passcode. This saves you the hassle of trying to guess/remember the code or resetting the iPhone yourself.

What you’ll need:

  • iPhone IMEI or serial number
  • Proof of purchase
  • Valid photo ID
  • Ability to answer security questions

Things to keep in mind:

  • There may be a fee to unlock the iPhone
  • The process can take up to 5 business days
  • You’ll need to reactivate the unlocked iPhone
  • Data and settings may be lost in the process

Contact your cellular carrier for help

Cellular carriers can sometimes assist with unlocking a lost passcode by working with Apple. Contact your carrier’s customer support by phone or visit a retail location. They will verify your identity and submit an unlock request to Apple on your behalf.

What your carrier can do depends on their specific policies. But in general, they have internal tools and resources for these types of requests. While not guaranteed, this gives you another avenue besides dealing with Apple yourself.

Bring your account information, proof of purchase for the iPhone, and photo ID when speaking to your carrier. Be prepared to answer questions only you would know to confirm your identity. The unlock timeline varies based on their process and policies.

Use Find My iPhone to locate or remotely erase your device

If you have Find My iPhone enabled, you can use it to either locate your lost iPhone, play a sound to help find it, or remotely erase and disable the device altogether.

While it doesn’t unlock the passcode, Find My iPhone gives you options if the iPhone ends up lost for good. Sign into icloud.com/find on a web browser with your Apple ID to access these features:

  • Play Sound – Forces the iPhone to emit a loud pinging even if silenced/muted
  • Lost Mode – Locks the iPhone with a passcode and custom message with your contact info on the lock screen
  • Erase iPhone – Remotely resets the iPhone back to factory settings, requires your Apple ID password to turn off Find My iPhone

The Play Sound and Lost Mode options may allow you to locate the device if you forgot where you left it. Erase iPhone should be a last resort to protect your personal data, as it makes the device unusable until unlocked again with your Apple ID.

Get professional data recovery to access iPhone contents

If you have important files and data stuck on your locked iPhone, you may want to utilize professional mobile data recovery services. Companies like DriveSavers and Gillware can safely bypass the lock screen to pull data from the iPhone memory.

Data recovery works by connecting the iPhone to a custom rig that can access the onboard storage chips directly. Your photos, videos, documents, app data, and other personal files can be extracted and saved to a hard drive. This requires specialist tools and training, so leave it to the professionals.

While expensive, iPhone data recovery is an option if you have no backups but need to retrieve irreplaceable data from the locked device. The service can cost $400 or more depending on the vendor and amount of data recovered.

Prevent this problem in the future

Once you regain access to your iPhone, take steps to avoid getting locked out again down the road. Here are some tips to prevent forgetting your passcode:

Write down your passcode

It may sound obvious, but physically writing down your passcode and keeping it in a safe, secure place can save you the hassle of forgetting it later on. Only do this if you can store the written passcode securely.

Set up automatic backups

Enable automatic backups to iCloud or iTunes on your computer. This ensures you have a recent data backup if you ever need to reset the iPhone due to a forgotten code.

Use Touch ID/Face ID

Use biometric authentication like Touch ID fingerprint scanning or Face ID facial recognition. You’ll still set a passcode, but can conveniently unlock with biometrics most of the time.

Avoid passcodes with repeating digits

Passcodes with repeating numbers like 112233 are easier to forget over time. Use a more randomized combination.

Change your passcode periodically

Don’t keep the same passcode for years on end. Occasionally change your passcode to a new number combination.

Taking preventative measures will reduce the chances of dealing with a locked iPhone again down the road. But if you do find yourself without your unlock passcode, use the solutions outlined here to get back into your device.


Losing access to your iPhone due to a forgotten passcode can be immensely frustrating. Thankfully, with the right tools and know-how, you can get around the lock screen and regain access to your device and data. The best approach depends on your specific circumstances.

If you can remember even a portion of your passcode, keep trying combinations until something clicks. Specialized unlocking software provides a foolproof brute force method, though it takes time. Erasing your iPhone through recovery mode is a last resort if you have a backup available.

You can also leverage your Apple ID, carrier, Apple Support, and data recovery services to aide the unlocking process. Set up preventative measures like backups and Touch ID for the future. With so many options at your disposal, you can rest assured that a lost iPhone passcode doesn’t have to mean losing access to your device forever.