How to Open Locked iPads

by Aaron WeinUpdated September 28, 2017
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The iPad includes a passcode feature, designed to keep the device's data safe from would-be snoops. The security feature can, however, backfire on forgetful iPad owners, who accidentally set the passcode or forget it later. If this occurs, you can restore the iPad using your computer, and then recover your data using a backup file created prior to setting the passcode. If you cannot access the iPad's usual syncing computer, you must settle for a complete reset of all your data during the restoration process.

Connect the iPad to the computer that you originally synced the device to, using the iPad's included USB cable. If you do not have access to that computer, you can still unlock the iPad, but you will lose all your data.

Open iTunes on the computer, and select the iPad's name listed in the left pane under "Devices."

Click "Summary" from the tabs area near the top of iTunes.

Click "Restore" and select "Don't Back Up" when a message opens asking you to create a backup of the device's data on iTunes. Creating a backup file will create another file with your iPad's passcode, which you do not want.

Click "Restore" to initiate iTunes' restoration of the iPad. After the process, which can last several minutes to more than an hour, a prompt opens.

Click "OK." A first-time setup wizard opens for the iPad.

Click "Restore From the Backup of" and click the drop-down menu to choose a backup date prior to the passcode. If you are using a computer that you did not originally sync the iPad with, choose "Set Up As a New iPad." Click "Continue" and follow the rest of the prompts to finish setting up the iPad.


If a message appears stating that your iPad cannot be restored, you must place the device into recovery mode. Leave iTunes open and disconnect the USB cable from the iPad, but do not disconnect the cable from the computer. Hold down the "Sleep/Wake" key on your iPad, until a slider appears on the screen. Slide the slider with your finger, to power off the iPad. Hold down the "Home" key, and reconnect the USB cable to the iPad. Release "Home" after a "Connect to iTunes" message appears on the iPad's screen. Click "OK" when a message appears, and then click "Restore."


Photo Credits

  • Pool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

About the Author

Aaron Wein is a copy editor for Skagit Valley Publishing. He has been a writer and editor since 2004, contributing to Washington-based publications and clients such as the "Bellingham Herald," "Western Athletics," "GNAC Sports" and Microsoft. Wein obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism from Western Washington University.

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