iPhone is Disabled? Here’s How to Fix With or Without Connecting to iTunes

Ever came across a situation where you pick up your iPhone and see the message “iPhone is disabled” and to “try again in 1 minute” or to try again 5, 15, 60 minutes? You can be sure that things are for worse when the message reads “iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes”. Until you do that, the device literally a paperweight and nothing more. So, why is the iPhone disabled? And how to fix the iPhone is disabled error? Here’s how.

Fix “iPhone is Disabled. Connect to iTunes” Issue

This is as bad as it gets for an “iPhone being disabled” error because it requires you to connect your iPhone to a computer to gain access to it. And even when you connect your iPhone to iTunes, there are a few other things in play here: 1. You should have made a backup recently to that computer, 2. You must remember the actual passcode for the iPhone. If you any one of the above two points are not true, then you will have to fully erase your iPhone in order to gain access to it again. That’s rough, right? Backup is very important, people!

iPhone-is-Disabled-Connect-iTunes

If you know the iPhone passcode of the locked iPhone and have backed it up recently, you follow the below steps to unlock the device with iTunes:

  1. Connect the locked iPhone to the computer it has synced to recently.
  2. Launch iTunes.
  3. Choose “Sync” in iTunes and enter the passcode of the device when requested to unlock the device. Note: This backs up the iPhone to the computer.
  4. Once the backup completes, choose “Restore” to restore the iPhone from the most recent backup that you just took.

Have backup but don’t remember the passcode?

If you have forgot the locked iPhone passcode, the only option is to wipe the iPhone clean. Do not worry though – if you made a backup to iTunes or iCloud, you can restore it after the fact to that backup.

Have backup AND don’t remember the passcode as well?

If you do not know the iPhone passcode and you do not have a backup, the data on the iPhone will be erased and lost forever; it’s as simple as that. Not even Apple can unlock an iPhone and access the data in such a situation.

Fix “iPhone is Disabled, Try Again in X Minutes” Issue

If you see this message on the lockscreen, then the situation is still under control – depending on whether or not you remember the passcode of your iPhone. If you want to unlock an iPhone stuck on the disabled screen – simply wait for the mentioned time to pass, then enter the proper passcode. Simple!

iPhone-is-Disabled

Now, if you don’t know the passcode, you have to put the iPhone into recovery mode and restore it. You can refer the method in the above section for that.

Why is My iPhone Disabled?

A locked iPhone requires a passcode or Touch ID to be unlocked. If you enter the incorrect passcode for five times in a row, the iPhone will automatically disable itself for 1 minute, showing the “iPhone is disabled” error message on screen. The simple solution here is to wait for the mentioned time period and then enter the correct passcode to unlock the iPhone.

Here’s some useful information on how the number of wrong attempts increase the wait time on iPhones:

Number of incorrect passcode entries* Time to wait before unlock
5 incorrect entries 1 minutes
7 incorrect entries 5 minutes
8 incorrect entries 15 minutes
9 incorrect entries 60 minutes
10 incorrect entries Connect to iTunes to unlock**

*number of incorrect entries in a row.
**or the iPhone wipes itself of all data if self-destruct mode is turned on

Waiting for a minute is not bad but waiting for an hour? Very bad. Connecting to iTunes? Worse.

But why does it say iPhone is disabled when I didn’t even try to unlock it?

There are times when you would not have done anything with your phone but still ended up on this issue. Yes, you are not alone and it happens more often than you think. Here are the two primary reasons why:

The Pocket Touch Syndrome: Unintentionally disabling an iPhone that is kept in a pocket is surprisingly common! This usually happens when users keep their iPhones in their pocket that they also use for their hands. When you keep your iPhone in the same packet when you frequently keep your hands, you unintentionally end up feeding wrong passcodes to your phone. And this in-turn locks your iPhone for good.

The “Person”al Touch: Someone’s been trying to get into your iPhone and failed. Or someone unintentionally entered wrong passcode on your device – say, your children. These are the only two scenarios that could get you in this mess without your knowledge!

How to avoid iPhone being disabled in the future?

The first way is simple: Do not enter the wrong passcode repeatedly. All right, all right, I’ll stop. Here are some actually useful tips:

  • Have complex passcode, since they require a longer character string be entered before the password is rejected.
  • Keep the iPhone in a different pocket.
  • Keep your iPhone private/safe – out of reach of someone who is intentionally or accidentally entering passcodes.
  • This I can’t stress enough: Take regular backups of the device. This helps when you have to restore your device to gain access.

Did we miss anything? Know of any other ways to fix the ‘iPhone is disabled’ error message? Do share with us in the comments.

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