How to unlock an iPhone that asks for a password

Forgetting or losing your iPhone or iPad password (alphanumeric password) no longer has to be a serious situation, at least not enough to take away hours of sleep. In this tutorial that we offer below, we explain how to proceed step by step.

You will have to restore your device and erase its current content, but at least, you will be able to use it again. What’s more, if you have followed the recommendations for making regular backups, everything will be much easier.

Finally, we cover the most basic aspects of removing or resetting the passcode once you have gained access to your iOS device, so that the device does not remain locked.

Is it legal to bypass the password?

Most likely, if you are reading this article, it is because you have just tried to access your phone and have discovered that it is locked and asks for your password. The new models have Face ID or Touch ID unlocking in the case of the iPhone SE 2020, so you will use less the alphanumeric password.

However, there are cases, such as when you turn on the iPhone after it has been turned off, in which you are asked for the alphanumeric code instead of using the previously mentioned unlocking systems.

In this article, we explain how to use iTunes on your Mac and how to get the most out of it.

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Restore your device using recovery mode

This process of restoring an iPad or iPhone and starting over is the best and simplest solution if you don’t remember the passcode. It will delete your personal information, but if you have a backup copy up to date, you can restore it and you will have the iPhone recovered.

Trying to restore the device from iTunes requires a passcode, but you can always restore it from ‘Recovery Mode’ without using any code.

Note: You will need the Apple ID and password that were used to set up the device originally.

Here are the steps to take to restore an iPad or iPhone from the recovery mode offered by iTunes:

  • Charge the device at least 20%
  • On your Mac or PC, close iTunes if it’s open. Plug in your iPhone or iPad and manually reopen iTunes, assuming it doesn’t automatically.
  • Now, force restart your device. If it’s an iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus, press and release ‘volume up’, press and release ‘volume down’, and then press and hold the side power button.
  • If it is an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, press and hold ‘volume down’ and the side button at the same time, until you see the iTunes screen. If it is any other device, you must press and hold the home and power buttons at the same time.
  • Now you will get the option to ‘Restore or Update’. The second option takes a little longer as it downloads the latest iOS software. However, either should work.
  • Set up your device.
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Your iPhone or iPad is working as before but without a security passcode. You may be asked to re-enter your Apple ID, depending on the version of iOS you’re running.

If you configure a passcode and want to remove it completely, after having access to your iOS devices, simply go to ‘Settings> Touch ID and Passcode’ to click on the option to ‘Deactivate passcode’.

Do you want to know how it is possible to deactivate the ‘Find my iPhone’ function? We explain it to you in this article.

Use professional forensic software

Every now and then someone discovers a technique to bypass Apple’s passcode. Sometimes this is a finger trick that allows a person to access something on the locked phone. Usually ‘contacts or messages’. This is not hacking the passcode, you will just be bypassing it.

It is proven that it is possible to hack the access code of the iPad or iPhone, but you will need advanced software that is now known as forensic software, something that some law enforcement agencies have used when they need to analyze a mobile phone.

Those interested can consult the Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit, a tool that allows you to decipher the access code of an iPad. The software is not available to the general public and you will need to apply for a license (and show your credentials).

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There are several recognized Mac forensic tools available on the market, such as Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit or Blacklight.

These tools will be able to extract an access code from an iOS device, however, you must be willing to pay a huge amount of money that very few will be able to afford.

How does the FBI unlock the iPhone?

IPhone passcodes made headlines in March 2016, with news that the FBI had an iPhone 5c owned by a terrorist from the San Bernardino attack.

The feds managed to obtain a court order ordering Apple to help them access the phone and the information stored inside. Apple refused. As far as is known, the FBI would have used an Israeli firm known as Cellebrite, to unlock the terminal.

If you don’t know how to put the iPhone or iPad in DFU mode, we explain it here.

For many, the fact that Apple did not agree to unlock the device is good news because in some way the privacy of the owner of the terminal is protected. On the other, it seems clear that someone has the means to avoid the security measures in place.

However, there are reasons to believe that the method used would not work on later iPhone or iPad models. Apple carries out security implementations on a regular basis in each new generation to make them more secure.

Take a look at our special on which iPhone to buy. The best buying guide.

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