Resetting a forgotten iPad passcode
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 daughter was playing with my iPad. Somehow, she figured out how to change my password (I already had a simple password installed) and now she doesn’t remember what that password was. Cardinal sin, I know. How do I reset? It’s set to my iOS password, so if I had to do a hard reset, I can use that, if that helps. I know this is the baseline defense against hacking/thievery. How can I help defend against stupidity? Or am I screwed?
A: Don’t worry—as fathers of iPad-savvy toddlers ourselves, we can completely relate. The problem is actually quite solvable as long as you have a current backup, but unfortunately you will need to erase your device completely and then restore that backup from either iTunes or iCloud.
The key here is that the passcode itself is actually not included in your backup, so when you restore your device, all of your data will be back, but you will no longer have a passcode on your device—you would simply need to set it again manually (to one that you actually know, of course).
If you have iCloud Backups enabled, these will still occur automatically once every 24 hours even when your device is locked with a passcode, as long as it is on a Wi-Fi connection and connected to a power source.
You can also still make a manual backup to your computer using iTunes from a locked iOS device, provided you have an iTunes library that you normally sync with; iTunes will only sync to a locked iOS device if it already has a pre-existing sync relationship with that device.
You can easily check the status of your backups and manually create a backup by connecting your iPad to your computer, selecting your device in iTunes, and looking at the Summary screen.
This will show you which method is selected for automatic backups and when the last backup was made using that method. You can also toggle between using iCloud and iTunes backups from here, and doing so will show you the last date and time for each. Clicking on Back Up Now will make a new, manual backup to your computer via iTunes regardless of which method you have selected for automatic backups.
Once you’re satisfied that you have an appropriate backup, you can erase your device and return it to factory settings by clicking the Restore iPad button found on the same screen.
This will erase everything on your device, returning it to basically the same configuration it was in when you took it out of the box. You can then go through the standard iOS setup wizard and use either iTunes or iCloud to restore your backup, which will restore all of your data and settings and resync your apps and media content. For more information check out our article on Transferring your Content to a new iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, which provides additional details the backup and restore procedures.
When all of this is finished, your iPad should be setup the same as it was before you restored it, except that it won’t have any device passcode set. At this point you can choose to set a new passcode or simply leave it without one.
- 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?
- Report: Apple’s Siri-based Amazon Echo competitor will be a new Apple TV
- Report: Apple SVP Eddy Cue proposed bid to buy Time Warner
- Beta testing for Pokémon GO begins in the U.S.
- Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag (Update: India’s finance minister ratifies ruling)
- Apple looking into charging stations for electric cars
- Apple hires hint at improvements in encryption, health monitoring
- Hyundai adds CarPlay support to more vehicles
- Plaintiffs file new motion to keep ‘Error 53’ Touch ID lawsuit alive
- Report: Apple developing Siri home speaker to rival Amazon’s Echo; will release Siri SDK at WWDC
- iOS Spotlight search now offers relevant results for some emoji
- OtterBox Symmetry Series Hybrid Case for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Logitech Logi BASE Charging Stand for iPad Pro
- Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- 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
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)