How To Reset A Disabled iPhone: The Quick & Easy Guide!

David Lynch

MARCH 24, 2017

You want to unlock a disabled iPhone, but you're not sure how. An iPhone becomes disabled when the passcode is entered incorrectly too many times. In this article, I'll use a simple guide which will show you how to reset a disabled iPhone!

iPhone Is Disabled. Connect To iTunes. What Now?

If you see this message on the screen of your iPhone, it means that your passcode has been entered incorrectly too many times. How many times is too many? Well, if your passcode is entered incorrectly:

  • 1-5 times: your iPhone will not be disabled.
  • 6 times: your iPhone will be disabled for 1 minute.
  • 7 times: your iPhone will be disabled for 5 minutes.
  • 8 times: your iPhone will be disabled for 15 minutes.
  • 9 times: your iPhone will be disabled for an hour.
  • 10 times: you'll see the message "iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes" appear on the screen.

One important thing to keep in mind is that if you enter the same sequence of numbers incorrectly multiple times, it will only count as one incorrect attempt. So, if you entered the passcode 123456 four times, it would only be counted once rather than as four separate attempts.

Can I Unlock A Disabled iPhone?

No, you cannot unlock a disabled iPhone. The only thing you can do at this point is erase all the data on your iPhone and start from scratch. Fortunately, if you've ever backed up the data on your iPhone, you'll be able to restore all of your data.

Can I Reset A Disabled iPhone Without Using iTunes?

Yes, but only under certain circumstances. If you want to reset a disabled iPhone without using iTunes, your iPhone must have had Find My iPhone turned on in Settings -> iCloud -> Find My iPhone.

If your iPhone was signed into iCloud when it was disabled, you can erase all of its data using Find My iPhone on Simply log into your iCloud account, then select your iPhone from the All My Devices menu. Finally, click Erase iPhone to erase your iPhone's data without using iTunes!

If this worked for you, then you can skip the first step in our troubleshooting guide.

No matter which model iPhone you have, the steps below will show you how to reset a disabled iPhone! First, I'll show you how to erase all the data on your iPhone using iTunes, then explain how to restore backed up data onto your iPhone, whether your backup is on iTunes or iCloud.

How To Reset A Disabled iPhone

3 Steps Total

DFU Restore Your iPhone

A DFU restore has the potential to fix software problems by completely erasing the code which may be causing your problem. The code is rewritten as if  your iPhone is brand new, so the software problem may get solved.

Think of it like a house that has cracks in the foundation. Rather than try and fix the cracks, we are building an entirely new foundation.

If you can, back up your iPhone before completing a DFU restore. Any time you do a restore, it erases everything from your iPhone. However, after the restore is completed, you restore all your backed up data back onto your iPhone.

How Do I DFU Restore My iPhone?

Watch our DFU restore video walkthrough on YouTube, or follow the steps below:

  1. Using a Lightning cable, plug your iPhone into a USB port on your computer.
  2. Open iTunes if you have a PC or Mac running Mojave 10.14 or earlier). Open Finder if you have a Mac running Catalina 10.15 or newer. It doesn’t matter if your iPhone is on or off.
  3. On an iPhone 6s or older, press and hold the Home button and the power button. On an iPhone 7, press and hold the power and volume down button.  
  4. After 8 seconds, release the Power Button, but continue to hold the power button (iPhone 6s or older) the volume down button (iPhone 7).
  5. Let go of the power button or volume down button when your iPhone appears in iTunes or Finder.
  6. Your iPhone’s display will be completely black if you’ve successfully entered DFU mode. If it’s not, try again from the beginning.
  7. Restore your iPhone using iTunes or Finder.
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Restore A Backup From iTunes

If the data on your iPhone gets erased, you can restore it if you have the data backed up on iTunes.

How Do I Restore A Backup From iTunes?

  1. Open iTunes on your computer.
  2. Connect your iPhone to your computer using a Lightning cable (charging cable).
  3. Select your iPhone when it shows up in iTunes.
  4. In iTunes under Backups, select Restore Backup...
  5. From the list of backups, select the one you want to use.
  6. Make sure the iPhone name is correct and click Restore.
  7. If your backup is encrypted, you'll be prompted to enter the password.
  8. Keep your iPhone plugged into your computer while the backup loads and while your iPhone reboots.
  9. When your iPhone has fully restarted, the backed up data has fully restored onto your iPhone and you can unplug your iPhone from your computer.
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Restore A Backup From iCloud

If the data on your iPhone ever gets deleted, or if you have to perform a DFU restore on your iPhone, you can recover and restore the data from an iCloud backup if you have previously backed up the data.

  1. Make sure your iPhone is not plugged into your computer.
  2. During the iPhone set up process, select Restore from iCloud Backup when promoted on the Apps & Data screen.
  3. Sign into iCloud.
  4. Select Choose Backup.
  5. From the list of backups, choose the one you want to use to restore data on your iPhone.
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You're Able To Use Your iPhone Again!

You've successfully unlocked your disabled iPhone! Now you know exactly how to reset a disabled iPhone if it ever happens again. I encourage you to leave me a comment down below if you have any questions about your iPhone, and don't forget to share this article on social media with all the iPhone users you know!

Applies To: iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE 2


David Lynch

Hi, I'm David! I'm here to help you fix problems with your iPhone and help you find a better cell phone plan.

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