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If Your iPad Is Disabled or You Forgot Your Passcode

The problem? You can’t remember your iPad passcode. Or the wrong passcode was entered six times in a row and your device is now disabled. Really, it doesn’t matter exactly how it happened. What you want to know is how to access your iPad again.

The bad news? There’s no way to recover your passcode. There’s no option for emailing yourself your passcode or resetting it. If you can’t remember the passcode, it’s gone. And if your device has become disabled, there’s no way to enter the correct passcode, even if you do remember it. Not even the team at Apple can help you.

More bad news… Although you don’t remember your passcode, your iPad does. The current passcode must be wiped from your iPad’s memory, along with everything else, before you can assign a new passcode — one that you’ll probably write down in a safe place, this time.

And finally, some good news! You aren’t the first one to be locked out by your own iPad. There are solutions, some of which include the possibility of retrieving your saved data.

Let’s cut through the suspense. You won’t see the photographs, documents, or accounts from your iPad again except under the following circumstances: A) You have access to a computer which you’ve already used in the past for syncing your iPad with iTunes, or B) You’ve made a recent iTunes or iCloud backup, including automatically scheduled iCloud backups.

There are three ways to go about bringing your disabled iPad to life again. Choose the solution that best fits your situation and proceed with hope.

IF Your iPad Has Been Synced with iTunes Through Your Computer

You must connect your iPad to the same computer that you used in the past for syncing your iPad with iTunes. Otherwise, you will not be able to retrieve the data stored on your iPad.

  1. Connect your iPad to the computer using a USB cable (like the one you would normally use to charge your iPad).
  2. Open iTunes on your computer.
  3. The iPad will probably begin syncing automatically. If it doesn’t, select the appropriate icon for your iPad from the top left-hand corner of the iTunes screen and click the Sync button to begin the process of syncing and back up.
  4. After syncing, click the Restore button on the screen.
  5. Pay attention. During the setup process, you’ll need to choose to Restore from iTunes Backup. It’s important to restore from the most current backup possible in order to retrieve the data stored on your iPad.

IF Find My iPad was activated on your iPad

You can erase everything and reset your iPad using your computer or another device if you had Find My iPad activated on your iPad before it became disabled. You can even retrieve the data from your iPad if you’ve been using iCloud backup.

  1. Make sure your iPad is charged.
  1. Sign in to iCloud on your computer at www.icloud.com. You’ll need your Apple ID and password. Hopefully it wasn’t scribbled down in the same place as your iPad passcode.
  1. Click on Find My iPhone and choose your iPad from the list of All Devises.
  2. Click the Erase iPad button to restore your iPad to its original factory settings.
  3. If you’re asked to enter the passcode for your iPad at this point, don’t panic. If this happens, the erase is being delayed for security purposes because you’re not using a trusted computer or device. You may want to contact Apple support.
  4. You can retrieve your data by choosing Restore from iCloud during the iPad setup process if you already had an existing iCloud backup before your iPad was disabled.

If you have access to a Computer

You can connect your iPad to any computer and use Recovery Mode to start over with a clean slate, but please be aware that the slate will indeed be wiped clean. Unless you already have an iTunes or iCloud backup from which to restore during the setup process, you won’t be able to recover any of your saved data.

  1. Connect your iPad to the computer using a USB cable (like the one you would normally use to charge your iPad).
  2. Open iTunes on the computer. Download it if necessary.
  3. Hold down both the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons on your iPad until it enters Recovery Mode. This is signified by a picture of a USB cord and an iTunes icon.
  4. Tap the Restore button to erase that passcode from your iPad’s memory just as completely as it has disappeared from your own.
  5. Set up your iPad. It’s just like new.

Remember that however you choose to revive your iPad, you need to watch for the options to Restore from iTunes or iCloud during the setup process to rescue your data and settings. Alternatively, if nothing important to you was saved on your iPad, you might decide to give it a fresh start.

It could always be worse. When you’re setting up your new passcode, make sure the Erase Data setting isn’t enabled. If it is, and you put in the wrong passcode ten times, your iPad will self-destruct. It will automatically erase itself of all data, anyway, without your being put to the bother.

Make that next passcode easy to remember.


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