Forgotten Passcode for Parental Restrictions
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: My five-year-old son managed to set a parental restriction passcode on my iPhone and turned off my Camera and Safari in the process. He doesn’t remember what passcode he set, so now I can’t browse the web or take pictures. I’m thinking there must be some way to override this passcode in situations like this, but I can’t find it. Or am I really left with an iPhone with no browser or camera? Please help.
A: Unfortunately, there’s no simple way around this—after all, parental restrictions would be pretty ineffective if kids could get around them all that easily.
The only way around this is to restore your iPhone from a backup made before the restrictions passcode was set. Unfortunately, while an iTunes backup doesn’t store the main device passcode, it does store the restrictions passcode, so if you were to restore your device to a more recent backup, you’d end up getting the passcode back along with it.
You can easily check the status of your backups by connecting your iPhone to your computer, selecting your device in iTunes, and looking at the Summary screen. This will show your default backup method and the date and time the last backup was made. You can also check the time and date of the last backup made to the other service simply by selecting that option under the “Automatically Back Up” heading.
If you normally back your device up to iTunes and the date and time of this backup is from before your son set the restrictions passcode, you can simply click the “Restore Backup” button to transfer this backup back onto your device. Note that you will lose any information on your iPhone since that backup was made unless that information is stored elsewhere; for example, if you’re using iCloud for Calendars and Contacts, these are stored separately from your backup and will be resented to your device after you’ve restored it, however items such as text messages, iMessages, and recent calls will only be current as of that previous backup. Similarly, for third-party apps this will depend upon whether they store data in their own online cloud service or only on your device.
If you’re backing up to iCloud, you will instead need to select the option to “Restore iPhone” in order to return it to factory settings before you will be able to restore the iCloud backup. iOS does not provide any way to restore an iCloud backup onto an already configured device. Note that even if you’re using iCloud for your backups, you’ll need to erase your device using iTunes first, as the Erase all Content and Settings option found on the iPhone will require you to enter the Restrictions passcode before it will allow you to erase the device.
If the backup date and time shown for iTunes and iCloud is more recent than the restrictions passcode, you may still be able to find an older backup; if you’re normally backing up to iCloud, Apple actually stores the most recent three backups, and you will be able to select from them during the restore process. If you normally backup to iTunes instead of iCloud and you regularly backup your PC or Mac, you may be able to find a pre-passcode iPhone backup among your computer backups.
For more information on the backup and restore process for iOS devices, see our Guide to Transferring your Content to a new iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Note that if you don’t have an appropriate backup, you’re going to have to restore your iPhone back to factory settings and then reconfigure it manually. Follow the guide above to ensure that any content that may exist only on your iPhone is transferred back to iTunes, and then you can transfer it back on from iTunes after you’ve erased your device. If you’re not syncing your contacts, calendars and bookmarks via iCloud, this would be a good time to start as it will provide a backup of this information that can be synced back onto your iPhone after you’ve wiped it. Configuration settings will be lost, however, as will all of your call history and text messages, as well as any data in third-party apps that isn’t otherwise stored in the cloud. Note that some third-party apps do provide their own backup or data export options, so you should explore these if you’re using any third-party apps with data that you need to preserve.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Papa John’s releases pizza-ordering app for Apple TV
- Apple call Australian banks’ request a ‘detriment to consumers’
- EU determines Apple should pay 13 billion euros in back taxes to Ireland; Apple plans appeal
- SIM tray photos hint at alleged ‘gloss black’ iPhone color
- Trademark filings hint at wireless EarPods, two new Apple Watch models
- Report: EU to rule against Apple-Ireland tax deals, recommend Apple pay 1B+ Euros
- Apple sued over unresponsive iPhone 6/6 Plus touchscreen issues
- Apple announces Sept. 7 event
- Philips introduces Hue Motion Sensor
- Photos hint at improved battery for new Apple Watch
- Belkin PowerHouse Charge Dock for Apple Watch and iPhone
- Western Digital My Cloud (OS 3)
- Distil Union Stanley Stand
- Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Bluetooth Toothbrush
- Audeze EL-8 Titanium Over-Ear Headphones
- Defined Corp Dome Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone
- Speck StyleFolio Pencil for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Audeze Sine On-Ear Headphone
- First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- Logitech Create 9.7” iPad Pro Keyboard Case
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app