Will iPhone reset after too many passcode attempts?

Yes, iPhones will reset after too many failed passcode attempts as a security measure. This is to protect the data on the iPhone from unauthorized access. The iPhone locks itself and requires you to connect to iTunes on a computer to restore and reset it after a certain number of failed passcode attempts.

How many passcode attempts before iPhone resets?

The number of passcode attempts allowed before the iPhone resets depends on the model:

iPhone 8 and earlier

For iPhone 8 and earlier models, the iPhone allows 10 incorrect passcode attempts before resetting. On the 10th failed attempt, the iPhone will disable touch input for passcodes for 1 minute. After this timeout, you get 1 last attempt to enter the correct passcode. Failing that will reset the iPhone.

iPhone X and later

For iPhone X and later models, the limit is 10 incorrect attempts again. However, instead of disabling touch input, the iPhone imposes exponential backoff delays after each failed attempt. This means the timeout gets longer after each wrong passcode entered. The delays start at 5 seconds after the 1st attempt, and double after each subsequent failure up to 1 hour:

Failed Attempts Delay
1 5 seconds
2 10 seconds
3 20 seconds
4 40 seconds
5 1 minute
6 2 minutes
7 5 minutes
8 15 minutes
9 60 minutes

After the 10th failed attempt, the iPhone will reset just like older models.

What happens when an iPhone resets after too many failed passcode attempts?

Here is what happens when the iPhone resets after too many wrong passcode entries:

The iPhone disables touch input and passcode entry

As mentioned earlier, the iPhone will disable touch and passcode entry temporarily after 10 wrong attempts. For newer iPhones, this disable period keeps increasing after each attempt during the exponential backoff.

All data is wiped from the iPhone storage

Resetting the iPhone erases all contents and settings. This means all your data, apps, settings, and files stored on the device are deleted. The reset returns the iPhone to factory default state.

You need to connect to iTunes and restore

The disabled iPhone will show a message that the iPhone is disabled and needs to be connected to iTunes. You have to connect it to a computer with iTunes and do a full restore. iTunes will download the latest iOS version and install it, completing the reset.

This restore and update will let you use the iPhone again. However, there is no way to recover any data that was deleted during the reset.

How to recover data after iPhone reset from failed passcode attempts

Since the reset erases all data, you might be worried about losing your personal data like photos, messages, notes, and other files stored on the iPhone. Here are some ways to recover data after an iPhone reset:

Restore from iTunes or iCloud backup

If you had an iTunes or iCloud backup saved before the reset, you can use it to restore your data. When setting up the iPhone after the reset, choose to restore from the backup during the iOS setup process. This will retrieve and restore your data like contacts, messages, photos, app data, and settings.

Use iPhone data recovery software

If you don’t have a backup, third-party iOS data recovery software offers another method to get back some data lost due to the reset. These tools perform a deep scan of the iPhone storage and can extract leftover data residue. You can retrieve partial data like messages, contacts, photos, notes, etc. depending on amount of overwrite.

Retrieve data synced to cloud services

If you had synced iPhone data like contacts and calendars to iCloud, they would be preserved there. Sign in to iCloud to access them. Similarly, data backed up to other cloud services like Google Photos or Dropbox can be downloaded to a computer or new phone.

Retrieve data from computer backups

Check your computer as well as external storage devices for any manual iPhone backups created using iTunes or Finder. You may be able to recover some files from them. Also look for iPhone media synced to apps like Photos, iTunes, or Music on the computer.

How to avoid or delay iPhone reset from failed passcode attempts

To prevent permanent lockout from entering wrong passcodes, here are some tips:

Be careful when entering passcode

Avoid typing the passcode hastily or when distracted. Double check the passcode before hitting enter. This minimizes chances of incorrect entries.

Use longer passcodes

Longer and more complex alphanumeric passcodes are harder to guess and input wrongly. Avoid short or repeat digit codes.

Write down or save the correct passcode

Keep a written record of the actual passcode in a safe place. Refer to it before attempting passcode entry if you are unsure.

Create a backup before attempts

Backup your iPhone data before attempting passcode entry. This provides a way to recover data if the iPhone gets reset.

Use Forgot Passcode option

The Forgot Passcode option allows you to recover a forgotten passcode using your Apple ID account. You can avoid data loss through reset. However, the phone will still get disabled after wrong attempts initially.

Set shorter auto-lock times

Having a shorter auto-lock time means you get fewer attempts before the iPhone locks and needs the passcode again. This limits number of wrong attempts before reset.

Encrypt iPhone backup

Enabling encrypted backup via iTunes protects your data more securely in case someone else attempts passcode entry. They cannot access the backup data if the iPhone resets.

Should you disable the passcode reset feature?

The automatic reset after failed passcode attempts is a security feature that prevents unauthorized access. Disabling this can make your data vulnerable. You should avoid disabling it unless absolutely necessary. Here are some points to consider:

It provides protection against intruders

The passcode reset acts as a data protection measure against physically present intruders trying to break into your phone. They cannot access data if the phone resets after attempts.

Prevents access to lost or stolen devices

It makes the iPhone unusable if lost or stolen by wiping data after failed unlocking attempts. This safeguards sensitive information.

Passcode can still be reset with Apple ID

You can recover and reset forgotten passcodes using the Apple ID account as a workaround. So data is not permanently inaccessible.

Increased vulnerability without reset

Without auto reset, someone has unlimited attempts to guess your passcode. This makes it easier to crack and get into your phone.

Other options available to avoid legitimate reset

You can use passcode records, Apple ID recovery, backups and other methods mentioned earlier to avoid reset and data loss for yourself.

So only disable the auto-wipe capability if you have no other choice and are aware of the security implications.


To summarize, iPhones have a security feature to reset automatically after a consecutive failed passcode attempts threshold. This prevents unauthorized access by wiping data but can lead to data loss for legitimate users as well. You should aim to avoid reaching the reset state by backing up your iPhone and remembering the correct passcode. But if you do experience a reset, you can recover some data using iTunes or iCloud restore, data recovery software, and other methods. Disabling the auto reset is risky from a security perspective. So it is best to keep the feature enabled and instead use the available alternatives to prevent resets and data loss.