Kids disabled my iPhone


Kids disabled my iPhone: a reader asks…

We have an old iphone6 left around the house after a previous upgrade. We use it to let the kids play music,  take pics and play some of their games. Some how, sometime in the last couple days a passcode has been entered and it is now saying it has been “disabled”. I’m assuming one of the kids has been trying to play. I know my active line just did an update but I wasn’t aware of this one going through the same process. -thinking again whoever picked it up after the update may have just “nexted” through the startup, inadvertently plugging in a random passcode. My kids are 8,6 and 3 so this code can literally be ANYthing If that is what got us to this point. I’ve read a bit about connecting to iTunes or iCloud but I’m worried that our pics may not have been backed up recently. Is there any way to reset passwords without “wiping” or resetting the device?? Any help or guidance will be greatly appreciated!


I previously wrote about the problem with iOS devices that are locked up (see and If one of your kids added a passcode and then made 10 attempts at unlocking with the wrong passcode, then you’ll see on the screen ” iPhone is disabled. Connect to iTunes”. Your only recourse is to plug the iPhone into your computer with iTunes running, wipe and restore your iPhone to the most recent backup.

Apple simply will not help you with this type of situation as it is exactly the same as if someone stole your iPhone and tried to reset the passcode. Apple’s official solution is for you to wipe the device and reset it up again with your Apple ID. You may have read about Apple’s security stance in news over the last few years, they won’t even help law enforcement break into an iPhone.


The only potential silver lining in this is if you had turned on iCloud Photos on the iPhone before this all happened, or even the older Photo Stream. With iCloud Photos turned on, all the photos on your iPhone are copied up to iCloud and you can log into with your Apple ID and all your photos will be safely stored there. The caveat is that Apple only gives you 5gb of storage space in iCloud without paying extra and if you didn’t and have a lot of photos, then the iCloud backup may not work (you’ll have gotten warning messages). With Photo Stream, copies of photos are sent to your other devices (iOS and computer). If you use a PC, you’d need to have installed and setup iCloud on the PC for Photo Stream to have deposited all the photos onto your PC’s hard drive.


Hopefully you had iCloud Photos turned on, because if your iPhone 6 is disabled, there’s no way to simply wipe out the passcode. You can only reset the device which erases everything on it. From there you can set it up as a new iPhone or restore it from a recent iCloud (or iTunes) backup. If all your photos are safely in iCloud Photos, then when your iPhone 6 is back up and running, be sure to turn that on (Settings > iCloud > Photos > turn iCloud Photo Library on). Then when you run the Photos app on the iPhone, all the photos will be there.


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