iPhone is Disabled? How to Fix it With or Without Connecting to Computer

Fix iPhone Disabled

“iPhone is disabled, try again in 1 minute.” This is the last message you would want to see when you pick up your iPhone. So, how did it happen? How can you fix it? Will you need a PC or Mac to bring back the iPhone in normal mode? The answer is more complicated than that. Let’s understand the situation in detail. First, let’s review the possible scenarios that may lead your iPhone being disabled.

Apple provides Touch ID and/or Face ID as biometric authentications for unlocking iPhones. One can also opt to add a password to unlock the device. So when someone steals your iPhone, it might take thieves around 4 hours or a computer about 6 min to crack the four-digit passcode combination on your device. To prevent the practice, Apple has added a security layer that disables the device after five unsuccessful attempts.

iPhone locked

Here is how for how long your iPhone will be disabled depending on the number of unsuccessful attempts at unlocking it:

  • 5 wrong password attempts in a row – iPhone gets disabled for 1 minute
  • 7 wrong password attempts in a row – iPhone gets disabled for 5 minutes
  • 8 wrong password attempts in a row – iPhone gets disabled for 15 minutes
  • 9 wrong password attempts in a row – iPhone gets disabled for 60 minutes
  • 10 wrong password attempts in a row – iPhone is disabled, connect to iTunes

The situation also arises when your kid accidentally messes around your iPhone. And if you are someone who puts their iPhone in a busy pocket, then you might get surprised with the iPhone disabled message.

How to Fix Disabled iPhone?

1. Look for the correct password

This one is quite obvious. After nine failed attempts at unlocking the device with a password, you are left with one lifeline to guess the correct password. Try to remember the password from a password manager or a physical diary. If you add another incorrect password then move to PC or Mac to recover the device.

2. Use Recovery Mode

First, you need to connect the iPhone to a computer using the USB cable. Now, enter the recovery mode on your iPhone. The trick varies from model to model.

For iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X and Newer models

Step 1: Press and hold the side button and one of the volume button until the power off menu shows up.

Step 2: Use the Slide to Power off the option to turn off the device.

Step 3: Connect the device to the computer and hold the side button until the recover menu shows up.

For iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Step 1: Press and hold the side button and wait for the power off slider to show up.

Step 2: Turn off the device.

Step 3: Connect the device to the computer and hold the side button until the recover menu shows up.

Restore Backup from Windows PC or a Mac running macOS Mojave or older

If you are running a Windows 10 PC or the Mac running macOS Mojave or older, you will need to use iTunes software to restore the backup.

Step 1: Open iTunes.

Step 2: Tap on the tiny phone button at the top.

phone button

Step 3: Click the Restore option from the following menu.

Step 4: It will erase all the data on your device while downloading new software.


Step 5: Now you can set up the iPhone from scratch. You can restore the old back up from iCloud to make the process smooth as ever.

For Mac running macOS Catalina

With macOS Catalina, Apple has removed iTunes from the Mac. Now, you can just connect the device to Mac and use the Finder menu to see the device details.

Step 1: Open the Finder menu on the Mac.

Step 2: Select your device and tap on the restore option from the following menu.


Step 3: It will wipe all the data from the device and allows the user to set up the iPhone as if it was new. While setting it up, use the restore backup option for a hassle-free restore process.

3. Restore iPhone With iCloud 

If you have a broken cable or somehow you are not able to connect the disabled iPhone to PC or Mac, then you can use the iCloud platform to wipe the data. There are a couple of conditions though.

1. Your iPhone needs to have an active data connection before it got disabled.

2. ‘Find my iPhone’ should be turned-on on your device.

Step 1: Navigate to iCloud.com on your browser.

Step 2: Sign in using Apple account credentials.

Step 3: Give authorization and select trust the computer.

Step 4: Select Find My iPhone from the iCloud services.

find my iPhone

Step 5: It will locate your iPhone from the map.

Step 6: Select your iPhone and tap on the erase the iPhone.

erase data

The process will wipe the iPhone and now you can set up the device from scratch. While setting up, you can restore the backup from iCloud or a PC.

How to Avoid iPhone from Getting Disabled

There are some settings that you can tweak to avoid your iPhone getting disabled.

Disable Tap to Wake and Raise to Wake Options

Your iPhone turns-on the screen when you tap on it or raise the device. You can disable these two settings from the device. So, you can’t accidentally switch on the device in the pocket.

tap to wake

Open iPhone Settings and navigate to Accessibility -> Touch -> and disable Tap to Wake option. Now, head to Display and Brightness and disable Raise to Wake option.

Reduce Auto-Lock Time

Reduce auto-lock time on your iPhone to 30 seconds to turn off the screen after an inactive time. Open the iPhone Settings and move to Display & Brightness -> Auto-Lock and move back the auto-lock time to 30 seconds.


Use Complex Passwords

You can use the complex password that is more than four digits to unlock the device. Opt for a longer password so that someone doesn’t accidentally mess up the device.

Fix the iPhone Disabled Error

As you can see from the list above, one can easily restore the iPhone using the PC or Mac. If you don’t want to mess with USB cables, then consider using ‘Find My Phone’ on the iCloud.com. Above all, invest in a password manager to never forget the passcode of the iPhone. Which trick did you use to bring back the iPhone from death? Sound off in the comments section below.


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