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I Forgot My iPhone Passcode. What Can I Do?

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Entering an iPhone passcode
Yagi Studio/Photodisc/Getty Images iPhone passcode

The iOS's built-in passcode feature is an important element of keeping prying eyes away from your device and personal data. Putting four digits (or more) between you and a stranger can be important. But what if you outsmart yourself and find yourself saying "I forgot my iPhone passcode"? What are your choices when it comes to bypassing a passcode that you don't have anymore on an iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad?

Restore iPhone or iPod touch

The very easiest thing to do in this circumstance isn't a lot of fun, but it solves the problem: restoring your device from backup. This technique erases all the content on your device--including the passcode--and replaces it with a backup of your choosing. At that point, you can choose to set a new passcode or forgo one and save yourself this trouble again.

This works best, of course, if you have access to the computer your regularly sync your iPhone or iPod touch with and have a recent backup of your data. If you don't, anything added to the device between when you last synced and when you restore it will be lost.

To do this, here's what you need to know:

 

With a RAM Disk

If you don't know what a RAM disk is, trust me, this is too complicated for you (and that's OK. I know what a RAM disk is and I don't want to try this technique!). If you do know what it is, this technique will allow you to substitute a custom RAM disk in place of the iOS's standard boot-up data, which will remove the passcode, and allow you to change it and reboot.

Get full instructions on this technique here.

 

For Content Restrictions Passcode

There's one other kind of passcode on iOS devices: the passcode that protects Content Restrictions. This passcode allows parents or IT administrators to block certain apps or features with a passcode and prevents anyone who doesn't know the passcode from changing those settings. But what if you're a parent or administrator and you forget the passcode?

In that case, restoring from backup (as detailed above) will work. If you don't want to do that, you can instead get the passcode using a program called iPhone Backup Extractor. This process will take you through a lot of files that may look complex or intimidating, but it shouldn't be too hard for the average user.

Get detailed instructions on this technique.

 

So, as you can see, the passcode feature is relatively strong (unless you're ready to hack your device). That's good for security, but bad if you forgot your passcode. That's another reason why it's important to use a passcode that will be easy for you to remember (but not too easy to guess!).

 

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