Resetting Screen Lock


Q: When i turn on my iPod nano a screen comes up asking me to enter a four-digit code. I do not know what this code is or who put the code on my iPod. How do i remove the code?

– Mary-Claire

A: This is the iPod “Screen Lock” feature that was introduced in the iPod nano and fifth-generation iPod. The screen lock is normally only activated once a code has been set and somebody has specifically locked the device.

Disabling the Screen Lock normally requires merely connecting the iPod to its “home” computer, at which point iTunes will unlock the iPod. However the “home” computer for this purpose is the computer that the iPod was first setup on, and may not necessarily be the same computer that you are now syncing the iPod to.

Further, although connecting the iPod to your home computer will unlock it, the actual lock code is not reset in this process. Although the Screen Lock feature does not activate automatically, if you or somebody else were to activate the Screen Lock feature, you would again find yourself in the same situation.

If you do not have access to your original iTunes computer, or you want to actually remove the lock code, the only solution is to “restore” your iPod from iTunes. This will erase everything on the iPod itself, returning it to its original “out-of-the-box” factory settings, so ensure that you have a backup of your music as you will have to reload it onto your iPod afterwards.

To perform the restore procedure simply connect the iPod to your computer, select it in iTunes, and choose the “Restore” button from the Summary screen that appears. As an added bonus, since restoring the iPod resets it to factory settings, the computer that you use to restore the iPod will become its new “home” computer for unlocking purposes.

Ideally, it is always best to set a lock code of your own on a new iPod, even if you do not plan to use the Screen Lock feature. Since the lock code cannot be changed without knowing the old code, this will prevent anybody else from setting their own code on your iPod and locking you out of it.

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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.