Setting a password on your iPhone is a great way to ensure that nobody can access your device without permission. Ideally, you will choose a password that is both secure and something you can easily remember. Unfortunately, if you forget your password, it can also be a real headache to try and get back into the device. Apple has no way to unlock your iPhone if you forgot your password. However, all hope is not lost as there are some methods to help you regain access to your phone and the apps on it.
The First Method
The reality is that if you forgot your password, there really is only one way to get back in to your device. Restoring your iPhone is the best option. With this method, restoring via iCloud, the hope is that a restore will have a backup of all of the data being removed from your device through the restore process. The following instructions will show you how to do it.
1. Log in to iCloud.com with your Apple ID.
2. Click on “Find iPhone” and locate your iPhone on the map. When you locate the iPhone, click on it.
3. Locate the “Erase iPhone” button and click on it.
Your iPhone will be reset to factory conditions. Start setting your phone up and try to restore with the latest iCloud backup. If you use iCloud correctly, the latest iCloud backup shouldn’t be more than a few hours to a day or two old, so information loss should be minimal.
The Second Method
If restoring via iCloud does not work, move on to the second method: restoring via iTunes. The first and likely most important step to take before you start this process is to place your iPhone into recovery mode. Depending on your device, there are three ways to prep your device for this method.
iPhone X or Later, iPhone SE (2nd Generation, iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus)
Press and hold the side button of your phone (the power button) until the power-off slider appears. Go ahead and turn your phone off. Next, connect your iPhone to your computer while holding the right side button and keep holding it until you see the recovery mode screen. After you restore your iPhone, try to restore your data via iCloud or iTunes backup.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
With these devices, it’s still important to remember to disconnect the iPhone from the computer. Start by powering off the iPhone by holding down the power button until the power off slider appears. Next, connect your iPhone to the computer while holding the “volume down” button until you see the recovery mode screen. After restoring the iPhone, you can now go ahead and set it back up through iCloud or iTunes backups.
iPhone SE (1st Generation) and iPhone 6s or Earlier
Be mindful here of the same reminder about turning off the iPhone and disconnecting it from the computer before trying this restore method. When the iPhone is off, connect it to the computer while holding down the home or right side button. Keep your finger on the home button until the recovery mode screen pops up. Now it’s time to restore the iPhone and your data.
Once any of the above iPhone models are plugged in, iTunes (or Finder on macOS Catalina) will tell you that there “is a problem with the iPhone that requires it to be updated or restored.” At the bottom of this prompt, you have three options: Cancel, Restore or Update. You want to click on restore and wait for the iPhone to finish restoring. Once it’s finished, begin setting up the iPhone again and try and restore your old data via iCloud or iTunes/Finder.
The Third Method
While Apple encourages its customers to regularly back up their iPhones using iCloud, some iPhone owners still prefer the iTunes/Finder backup method. If you prefer to sync it regularly with a computer, this option is likely to be among the easiest to get back into your password-protected iPhone.
1. Open iTunes or Finder on your computer that you use to back up the iPhone regularly.
2. Connect the iPhone to the computer using the lightning cable. As soon as iTunes/Finder recognizes your iPhone, click on the iPhone icon in the iPhone summary screen.
3. Locate the “Restore Backup” option in the “Summary” tab and select the backup you want to use. iTunes or Finder should default to your most recent backup, however long ago that was.
4. Enter any of the relevant Apple ID information the computer asks for as you begin the restoration process. This should be the same Apple ID account you used to set up or activate the iPhone.
iTunes or Finder will now do its thing and restore the backed-up data to your iPhone. It should be a relatively quick process since it’s only restoring your data and settings. Once it’s restored, you will then need to manually redownload your apps, music, books, photos, etc.
No matter how you slice it, forgetting your iPhone password can be dangerous. The good news is that all hope is not lost if you back up your data via iTunes/Finder or iCloud.