How to Unlock an iPad Without a Passcode

by Brandy Alexander
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images

If you forget your passcode or enter the wrong one multiple times, you won't be able to access your iPad. When this happens, your device becomes disabled, and the only way to unlock it is to restore your iPad using iTunes. Restoring your device deletes all of your content and data, such as your songs and apps, as well as returns it to its original factory settings. How you perform the restoration process depends on whether you have previously synced your iPad with iTunes.

Restoring a Previously Synced iPad

Step 1

Connect your iPad and computer using the cable that came with your device, and then launch iTunes. If iTunes requires a passcode, try connecting your device to another computer to which you have previously synced to iTunes.

Step 2

Click your iPad name in iTunes, and then scroll to the Backups section. Click the "This Computer" option to specify that you want a full backup of your iPad stored on your computer.

Step 3

Click the "Back Up Now" option to start the backup process. This process may take a few minutes or more, depending on the amount of data on your iPad.

Step 4

Click the "Restore Backup" button that displays when the backup process finishes, and then click the most recent version of your backup in the pop-up window that launches.

Click the "Restore" button to finish. Your iPad will restart and prompt you to set it up.

Restoring an iPad That Has Never Been Synced

Step 1

Plug your iPad's USB cable into your computer. Leave the other end unplugged.

Step 2

Press and hold the "Sleep or Wake" button on your device until the red slider appears. Slide the slider, and wait for your iPad to turn off.

Step 3

Press and hold your iPad's "Home" button, and at the same time, plug the USB cable into your device. Your iPad will turn on.

Step 4

Continue to hold down the "Home" button, and then release it when you see the "Connect to iTunes" screen.

Wait for iTunes to display a message that states it has found a device in recovery mode. Click "OK," and then click "Restore" to activate the restoration process. After your iPad restarts, follow the prompts to set it up again.


  • Information in this article applies to iPad 4 iOS 6 and iTunes 11. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.


  • Regularly back up your iPad so that you can reinstall the backup to your device when you need to perform the restore process. You can use iCloud or iTunes to perform your backups (link in Resources).


Photo Credits

  • Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images

About the Author

Brandy Alexander has been writing professionally since 2001. She is a glass artist with a Web design and technical writing background. Alexander runs her own art-glass business and has been a contributor to "Glass Line Magazine" as well as various online publications.

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