Apple iOS: How to factory reset a locked iPad or iPhone

If you forget your device passcode or PIN, there is no way to get into it again. You have to do a factory reset of the device. For that, you need iTunes and a USB cable to connect your device to your PC.

Find below the steps to recover your handheld:

Important: These steps will wipe (delete) all your data and settings from your device.

  1. Remove all cables from your device.
  2. Switch your device off by holding the Standby button and swiping to the right.
  3. Hold the home button and connect your handheld to a running iTunes. Keep holding the home button until the "Connect to iTunes" logo appears on the device.
  4. In iTunes, click "Restore".
  5. In iTunes, click "Restore and Update".
  6. If you are shown an iOS Update screen, click "Next".
  7. On the License Agreement, click "Agree".
  8. iTunes now downloads the latest iOS software and puts your device in "Recovery Mode".
  9. The update and factory reset can take up to an hour.

Update: This does not work for iPhone 7 (and later models) as the home button functionality has changed. On the iPhone 7 you have to press the Standby and Volume Down buttons at the same time.

Update 2: On newer devices with no Home button, the procedure has changed. Please see this blog post.

5 thoughts on “Apple iOS: How to factory reset a locked iPad or iPhone”

  1. What does it mean when you take an iPad in to get fixed and they replace it with a new one, once you turn the new one on it has an admin on it... but before it never had one one?

  2. I wanted to know how to restore an apple ipad that has IOS 8 that o bought from somebody on Kijiji. When I try to restore it it has the email address of the first user that had it. I would like tk know how I can get rid of it.

    Thasks in advance
    John Muhammed

    1. If the previous user has activated "Find my iPad" in the iCloud, you will not be able to activate the iPad. Ask the previous user to remove the iPad from his iCloud account.

        1. Contact police, file special document with evidence that person is dead and you have the right to take over the device, then take this info to an Apple store and they will unlock it for you.

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