As an enthusiastic iPhone user, nothing scares me more than the sentence: “iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes”. I bet you know what I am talking about.
Dare to be forgetful and stubborn for five minutes too long, or dare leaving your precious smartphone in the hands of some hyperactive child. There is no escape. If your passcode is typed incorrectly for ten consecutive times, that is the horrifying sentence that you’ll read on screen.
But you know this all too well, don’t you? You wouldn’t be here otherwise.
Unfortunately, “disabled” means that your iPhone is locked temporarily or permanently (we will see why in a minute) and that you’ll only be able to make the customary emergency calls or a few attempts to bypass this fastidious standoff. Otherwise, your data can’t be accessed, but you can get your iMessage on PC.
So, if you’ve found yourself in this dreadful situation and you are wondering what the Schweppes do I do now? Don’t you worry my friend: I’ve been there before, and I’ve brought help back from hell.
I know for a personal misadventure how badly things may turn when (for whatever reason) you end up with your iPhone locked in this awful way. Which is exactly why, I came up with this awesome guide for you! Hopefully, it will help you get out of this limbo as quickly as possible…
Then, where do we start?
If we want to be sure to find the right solution to your problem, we need to carefully analyze the cause of this issue and consider all the possible strategies that we could pursue.
So, first of all, we need to understand: why did your iPhone become disabled?
Secondly, you will need to know: how many guesses do you get before your device is permanently locked?
And then, in case the worst happens, I will explain to you how to fix your iPhone once it’s disabled.
Without further ado, let’s get back to business.
- 1. The painful question: “Why is my iPhone disabled?”
- 2. The question that you were all too afraid to ask: “How many attempts do I get?”
- 3. And now the real deal: “How do I fix the iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes” issue?
- Finals Thoughts and Conclusion
1. The painful question: “Why is my iPhone disabled?”
Let’s start by trying to understand the core issue. Why did the problem occur in the first place? The answer, here, is rather simple. Someone has typed the wrong passcode too many times.
It might’ve been an accident, or perhaps your memory is worse than you remember (uh, see the catch there?!). In any case, there is only one sensible thing that you can do at this point: stop mistyping at once, and fetch that secret post-it where you wrote down your essential codes. Now it’s the time!
Unless the ominous phrase “iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes” has appeared on your screen, you might still have a chance: as long as you retrieve the right code. The “disabled” status, in this case, would be only temporary, and after a certain amount of time (displayed on the screen) you will be allowed to type a new guess again.
If this guess is the right code, then ta-dah! Problem solved. Your iPhone magically unlocks.
(Sometimes it happens that the secret post-it can’t be found, or perhaps it didn’t exist at all. In that case, it might be useful to write down your attempts on paper. Followed by attempting to re-work those parts of the combination that trouble you the most. Luckily iOS is a rather smart system, and it won’t count as separate attempts the repeated typing of the same code. So, to really mess it up, you’ll have to enter different incorrect codes several times!)
But if the ominous phrase does appear on your screen, it means that things just got serious, and you need to prepare for some severe problem-solving, my friend.
2. The question that you were all too afraid to ask: “How many attempts do I get?”
Before abandoning all your hopes, though, we need to understand just how dangerous your situation is. Perhaps, you haven’t typed the wrong code ten times yet. Perhaps you have still got a chance to retrieve your data.
But how do I know?
Initially, your phone will become “disabled” after 5-incorrect guesses. But remember: this condition is not permanent! A new phase follows, in which you get five additional attempts to unlock your iPhone, with an, increasing delay between each attempt.
This is more or less how it goes:
Guess #1-5 No error message; you may keep typing if you feel brave enough.
Guess #6 A message appears on the screen: “iPhone is disabled, try again in 1 minute.”
Guess #7 Another message appears on the screen: “iPhone is disabled, try again in 5 minutes.”
Guess #8 Another message appears on the screen: “iPhone is disabled, try again in 15 minutes.”
Guess #9 Another message appears on the screen: “iPhone is disabled, try again in 60 minutes.”
Guess #10 Finally; you read the sentence “iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes.” If you had selected the option “erase data” from the Settings > Touch ID & Passcode section, your iPhone content will be erased.
If you didn’t, you’ll need to bypass the block and install your last backup. Or if you are like me, you like to live dangerously and didn’t invest your time in a backup. If that is you, you’ll have to erase your data and set up a new iPhone.
Whatever the case is, luckily you are not alone in this traumatic process, so follow my lead!
3. And now the real deal: “How do I fix the iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes” issue?
Ok, we’ve come to a point where there’s nothing else to do; we have to fix this, somehow.
In my experience, there is no perfect solution. Some options may work better depending on the particular issue detected or on the person who employs it. So other than presenting different strategies, I will try to analyze them briefly and state the PROS and CONS. After which, you can pick your favorite method without having to try them all.
Here are a few solutions, ordered from the most conventional way to the geekiest. If you happen to try them out, please tell us what you preferred in the comments section!
Because sometimes (very rarely) you still have the right passcode written down somewhere, and you haven’t reached that dreadful 10th guess. If that is the case, good for you! Just wait until you are sure to have the right passcode at hand, and type it in once you’re allowed by the system.
I do hope this is all it takes for you.
More likely, the above won’t happen, and we’ll need to bypass the “disabled” blocked screen.
The most conventional way to solve the issue is to use iTunes, at least according to the Apple’s Support website.
The good news is that using this software; you may still be able to restore your device with a previous back-up. Or create a new back-up on the spot and then use it straight away! Let’s see how.
(Just one premise before. To restore your phone, you need to sync with iTunes successfully. If you can’t, follow the instructions directly for the Recovery Mode below.)
If you already have a backup that you intend to use, you may skip the initial instructions and go directly to Step #4. Otherwise, let’s start here.
Step #1 You need to connect your iPhone to the computer you are synced with – via a USB cable.
Step #2 Start iTunes (make sure you have the latest version) and wait for it to sync with your iPhone and create a backup.
Step #3 Once the process is complete; you may click on “Restore.” From here, follow the guided steps from the Set Up screen that popped up on your device, until you reach the “Apps & Data” stage.
Step #4 On this page, select the option “Restore from iTunes backup.” Next, open iTunes, select your device (iPhone or iPad), select “Restore backup,” and ensure that you pick the right backup file if you have more than one – for safety, also look at the date and size.
Step #5 At last, wait for the process to end and then finish the remaining steps in the Set Up screen – after the “Apps & Data” section.
If everything worked fine: congratulations, you have restored your device with success!
Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan. If an error occurs during the process, or an unforeseen passcode request appears due to a synchronization issue, you might have to give up and just resolve to opt for a Recovery Mode solution.
No backup: Recovery Mode
This solution will ultimately bypass your passcode security, and allow you to access your device again, but at a cost. Your iPhone’s data will be erased in the process.
It should be, your last resort: something to go for only if you didn’t manage, in any way, to sync your iPhone to iTunes for backup. If this is the case, this is what you’ll have to do.
Step # 1 Connect your device to a computer (it can be any computer since we won’t use any backup or synced data here) and start iTunes.
Step #2 Now trigger the Recovery Mode on your device.
If you have an iPhone 8 or the later models you’ll have to: quickly press and release the volume button, first up and then down; then press and hold the button on the right side, and wait for the Recovery Mode to start.
If you have an iPhone 7 or 7 plus, you’ll have to: press and keep holding the volume down, and side buttons until the Recovery Mode is triggered.
If you have an iPhone 6 or earlier versions, iPad, or iPod touch you’ll have to: press and keep holding the home and side (or top) buttons until the Recovery Mode is triggered.
Step #3 As the Recovery Mode continues you will be asked to click on “Restore” or “Upload” buttons. Select “Restore” and wait for the new software to be installed on your phone. The whole process might take more than 15-minutes. Plus, you may be, automatically expelled from the Recovery Mode. If this happens just restart from the Step #2 and the installation will continue from where you left.
Step #4 Once the process is complete; you’ll only need to Set Up your device like you did when you first turned it on.
Congratulations! You have finally bypassed that “disabled” issue and you are now ready to use your phone again. Of course, we had to erase all your data in the meanwhile, but we couldn’t do better than this…
+ It’s the n.1 method suggested by Apple, and you don’t have to use third-party apps.
+ It will always work, as long as you follow every step correctly.
– This method is simple enough, but it isn’t the most straightforward. In some parts, it’s a bit convoluted and harder to follow without additional instructions.
This is another classic way recommended by Apple to solve the issue.
You may either, erase your device (and so bypass your passcode) and start from zero like it would happen with a Recovery Mode. Alternatively, (if you have one) you can also install a backup in a very similar fashion to what we did with iTunes.
Let’s see how.
Erase your device with iCloud
Once again, we need to start with a premise. To use this procedure, you need to: either be using an iPhone XS, XS Max or XR, or have previously managed your device settings on “Find my phone.” Else, you’ll need to use the Recovery Mode or one of the third-party apps that I will describe later.
If you are ready for this method, continue reading:
Step # 1 Go on the iCloud website (iCloud.com) and access with your Apple ID and Password.
Step #2 Find from the map the device that you want to erase or select it from the list of your devices at the top.
Step #3 Once you have tapped on the right phone, you will be presented with 3-options: “Play Sound,” “Lost Mode” and “Erase Phone.” Now, if the stressful process you have endured until now didn’t play tricks on your sanity, you may probably guess that “Erase Phone” is the way to go, here.
Step #4 Follow the easy on-screen instructions until the process ends.
Et voilà! Another easy way to restore your iPhone as new and solve the “disabled” impasse.
Install your backup with iCloud
Now, let’s take a few steps back. Remember when I explained how to upload your device content from iTunes? Well, this variant with iCloud isn’t that different.
Assumed that you resolved the “disabled” error in one way or another (I already showed two methods, but we are going to show more ideas after this section), you have now a restored device, and you are ready to go.
Subsequently, when you restart your phone, you’ll automatically activate the Set-Up screen. Like the Step #3 of the iTunes backup section, keep following the menu’s steps until you reach the “Apps & Data” page. (Just remember that you’ll have activated your Wi-fi a few steps before, as this time you will download the software from the iCloud website, not your computer.)
At this point, the process is quite straightforward.
Step #1 Select “Restore from iCloud backup” on the “Apps & Data” screen
Step #2 Access your account typing your Apple ID and Password.
Step #3 Once you’re in, select the right backup file (if you have more than one), being sure to double-check date and size.
Step #4 Be sure to remain connected until the end of the procedure. Then, just complete the remaining sections of the Set-Up screen menu, and you will be ready to use your restored version of iOS. Hopefully, leaving behind the traumatic “disabled” experience once and for all!
PROS & CONS: Same as iTunes, with the difference that you require an iPhone XS, XS Max or XR, or to have previously managed your device settings on “Find my phone.”
d. Other tools (dr.fone, iMyFone Lockwiper, 4uKey)
The last strategy that I will talk about involves the use of a certain kind of software designed explicitly for unlocking “disabled” smartphones. Sounds dreamy, uh? Indeed, there are definite advantages to this procedure. For instance, the whole process here is more straightforward and better guided than on iTunes.
It is true, though, that you would be using third-party software and that with this option no backup is available. So, in the end, it depends on what kind of person you are, do you feel comfortable only using Apple Inc. produced software?
The software I am referring to is that of unlocking tools like dr.fone, iMyFone Lockwiper or 4uKey. In my experience, they are all equally functional (I don’t recommend one in particular,) as they work precisely in the same way, so I will be talking of all three as if they were one.
Shall we begin?
Step #1 Obviously, you will need to download on your computer, install and then launch your chosen software (for practicality reasons, let’s just call it YCS from now on). Just, remember: if you’ve chosen dr.fone, you’ll also need to select the “unlock” function from the application’s menu.
Step #2 Connect your device to your computer with a USB cable and wait for YCS to detect it.
Step #3 If your phone is detected correctly, YCS should have prepared the download for the correspondent Firmware. Hence, you will be asked to trigger your device’s Recovery Mode so that the installation may proceed.
Step #4 You may confirm that the right Firmware has been associated with your device. If not, you can change it. Next, when ready, you can start the download and installation.
Step #5 Once the download is complete; the App will be ready to initiate the unlocking of your device. Remember, this won’t be just a literal “unlocking” of your screen, but your phone’s content will be erased just like in the previous “No backup” procedures. So, if you feel ready, authorize the software and wait for the process to end.
That’s it; now your phone is again “abled” and ready to go!
-More straightforward and user-friendly.
– Third-party software (not a problem for some).
– No backup options.
Finals Thoughts and Conclusion
This list helped me considerably when it was my time to deal with this painful “iPhone disabled connect to iTunes” issue. That is why I sincerely hope you appreciated this tutorial and, most of all, found it useful!
If that’s the case, why don’t you leave a comment below to let us know? Also, I would be very curious to know which solution worked better for you…
So, this would be all: I think I told you about all I could share on the topic. Hopefully, we’ll see you soon. In the meanwhile, may your iPhone have a long and prosperous life!
P.S. If you’re the kind of person who performs best under the influence of spoken instructions (plus, of course, the rather helpful feature of moving pictures), I am sharing below a few links to some YouTube tutorials that I found quite useful myself.
1. How to remove forgotten passcode of iPhone
2. iPhone disabled / Passcode forgotten iPhone fix
3. iPhone is disabled? How to unlock iPhone or iPad
4. How to unlock disabled iPhone X via iTunes