Introduction

Guide notes

  • This method only works up to the iPhone 6s. The method to do this changed with the iPhone 7.
  • iCloud warning: Devices running iOS7 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 that were reset through unofficial means will no longer work if the device was reset this way.
  • WARNING: ALL DATA ON THE DEVICE WILL BE ERASED! IF IT IS POSSIBLE TO GUESS THE PASSWORD, THIS IS PREFERABLE.

If you purchased a used iDevice or forgot the password to 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 and you are having problems that prevent the device for being restored through normal means, this method can also be used for this purpose.

Clearing a unknown password while keeping the data intact is beyond the scope of this guide. The method to access recovery mode is not dictated by what cable you need.
  • Clearing a unknown password while keeping the data intact is beyond the scope of this guide.

  • The method to access recovery mode is not dictated by what cable you need.

  • Plug your device into a computer. Depending on what you have (and when the device was released), you may need a Lightning or 30-pin cable.

At this point it's coming in my computer: itune couldn’t connect to iPod because it's locked with a passcode.

any idea how to solve that?

Mer - Reply

That’s normal. Put the device in recovery mode and it will not have that problem. Just bear in mind you won’t be able to do a backup of your data.

Nick -

Since I got the device for this guide used, the previous owner's name has been blurred out.
  • Since I got the device for this guide used, the previous owner's name has been blurred out.

  • 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. Tip: Some older devices (and in some cases, firmware) do not notify you that they need to be unlocked to sync it with your computer.

New Battery = Faster iPhone
Fix Kits starting at $16.99
With the device plugged into the computer, reset the device. To reset the device, press and hold the power button. Do this while holding the home button at the same time. Both buttons need to be held at the same time.
  • With the device plugged into the computer, reset the device.

  • To reset the device, press and hold the power button. Do this while holding the home button at the same time. Both buttons need to be held at the same time.

  • This is the power button.

  • This is the home button.

The logo at this screen is firmware and device dependent. 30-pin devices show a screen that is similar to this while Lightning devices replace the male USB plug with a Lightning connector. Once the Apple logo shows up on the screen, let go of the power button. Continue holding the home button until the screen on the example device appears.
  • The logo at this screen is firmware and device dependent. 30-pin devices show a screen that is similar to this while Lightning devices replace the male USB plug with a Lightning connector.

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

If you have done the previous steps correctly, the device shows up in iTunes in recovery mode. Click Restore iPod/iPhone and then click Restore and Update. Once you do this, you will have to agree to the EULA. Once you agree to the EULA (not shown), iTunes will download the latest firmware. Once it is downloaded, your device will begin restoring.
  • If you have done the previous steps correctly, the device shows up in iTunes in recovery mode.

  • Click Restore iPod/iPhone and then click Restore and Update. Once you do this, you will have to agree to the EULA.

  • Once you agree to the EULA (not shown), iTunes will download the latest firmware. Once it is downloaded, your device will begin restoring.

Restoring from a backup is not recommended. This may result in an unknown password being restored inadvertently. While you can do this, you will need to repeat the process if you restore a backup with a device password. Note: Any backups with a password you do not know should be deleted at this point.
  • Restoring from a backup is not recommended. This may result in an unknown password being restored inadvertently. While you can do this, you will need to repeat the process if you restore a backup with a device password. Note: Any backups with a password you do not know should be deleted at this point.

  • Once the device is restored, set it up as a new device. Once you set it up the way you want it, make a new backup as a fallback.

Finish Line

21 other people completed this guide.

Nick

Member since: 11/10/2009

37,798 Reputation

34 Guides authored

Team

Master Techs Member of Master Techs

Community

271 Members

678 Guides authored

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 -

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 18

Past 7 Days: 83

Past 30 Days: 393

All Time: 36,035