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Introduction

Guide notes

  • (iPhone only) This method only works up to the iPhone 6s. The current method varies by device on newer models.
  • iCloud warning: Devices running iOS 7 or newer will have an iCloud activation lock. If you restore a device with unknown credentials, you will no longer be able to use the device. Furthermore, devices with an unofficial iCloud unlock will no longer work.
  • With iOS 8 and up, the device data is encrypted. If you need your data, you must guess the password.
  • WARNING: ALL DATA ON THE DEVICE WILL BE ERASED! IF POSSIBLE, GUESS THE PASSWORD.

If you purchased a used iDevice or forgot the password on your current device, this guide will show you how to restore the device so you can use it again. If you did not forget the password but are having problems that prevent a normal recovery, this method can also be used for this purpose.

  1. Clearing a unknown password while keeping the data intact is beyond the scope of this guide. Plug your device into your computer. Use the cable that matches what your device uses (30-pin/Lightning).
    • Clearing a unknown password while keeping the data intact is beyond the scope of this guide.

    • Plug your device into your computer. Use the cable that matches what your device uses (30-pin/Lightning).

  2. Some older devices and firmware do not show up in iTunes while locked with a password.
    • Some older devices and firmware do not show up in iTunes while locked with a password.

    • Since this is a used device, the previous owner's name has been blurred.

    • Once the device is plugged in, verify it shows up in iTunes. The device will not sync while it is locked, but this is normal.

  3. Reset the iPod. Hold both the power and home buttons down at the same time. Do this until the device screen turns black. This is the power button.
    • Reset the iPod. Hold both the power and home buttons down at the same time. Do this until the device screen turns black.

    • This is the power button.

    • This is the home button.

  4. The icon shown is device and firmware dependent. Once the Apple logo shows up on the screen, let go of the power button. Hold the home button until the screen on the example device comes up.
    • The icon shown is device and firmware dependent.

    • Once the Apple logo shows up on the screen, let go of the power button. Hold the home button until the screen on the example device comes up.

  5. If you have done the previous steps correctly, the device shows up in iTunes in recovery mode. Click Restore iPod/iPhone/iPad and then Restore and Update. Agree to the EULA. Once you agree to the EULA (not shown), iTunes will download the latest firmware. Your device will be restored once this is finished.
    • If you have done the previous steps correctly, the device shows up in iTunes in recovery mode.

    • Click Restore iPod/iPhone/iPad and then Restore and Update. Agree to the EULA.

    • Once you agree to the EULA (not shown), iTunes will download the latest firmware. Your device will be restored once this is finished.

  6. Backup restoration is not recommended. These backups may contain a forgotten password, which will force you to go through this process again. Delete all existing backups known to have a password to avoid this problem.
    • Backup restoration is not recommended. These backups may contain a forgotten password, which will force you to go through this process again. Delete all existing backups known to have a password to avoid this problem.

    • Once the device is restored, set it up as a new device. Once configured, make a fallback backup that is safe to use in the future.

Finish Line

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Nick

Member since: 11/10/2009

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10 Comments

So what happens when this dosen't work?

Ashanti Lewis - Reply

you are a life saver!!!! thank you so much!

laranishino - Reply

This worked. You must continue to hold the home and power button until the apple logo shows up. Once it shows up, hold the home key. Your iTunes will then have a couple prompts.

Ross Kellman - Reply

A couple days ago, I bought myself a used iPhone 3G for $25. It didn’t have a SIM card, but I was able to connect it to my MacBook Pro, fire up iTunes, and basically load the same songs that are on my iPod on it. I was even able to download and install an app I had downloaded from the programmer’s website a few years ago I was sure hadn’t been updated.

All good so far … until I decided to add a password, and then decided that maybe updating the phone’s OS might be a good idea. The password was the same as that of my iPod … but after the update, suddenly I “typed in the wrong pass code.”

After fighting with that for a few hours, I did the restore bit … but now, since there is no SIM card (did I mention I have three phones? No need for another), I can’t get back to where I was before the stupid software update and now I have a phone I can’t use for the purpose for which I bought it.

Thanks, Apple.

That said, any ideas on how to get past that SIM card issue?

G.D. Warner - Reply

Okay, so I got on eBay and bought a SIM card “for testing purposes” for about three bucks. It may or may not work, but it should at least get me past the “Dude. You Need a SIM Card” error.

We’ll see how that goes.

G.D. Warner -

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