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How to Restore Disabled iPhone without Losing Data

I saw the message “iPhone is disabled, connect to iTunes” because I forgot my passcode on my iPhone and after too many wrong password attempts. Finally I realized I was locked out of my iPhone. Is there any possible way to unlock it without losing everything on it? I need my photos, contacts and more data. Could you please help me? – from Bob keiny(an internet user).

Looking for methods to unlock your disabled iPhone without losing data? Don’t panic, we are right here to help you when you see the “iPhone is disabled” or “iPhone Unavailable” without losing data, such as photos, contacts, messages, documents, and everything data with effective solutions.

In this article, we will show you how to unlock a disabled iPhone without losing data using different methods.

unlock disabled iphone without losing data

If my iPhone is disabled will I lose everything?

If you forgot your passcode, your data is almost gone. You will lose the existing data on the iPhone. Specifically speaking, you won’t get your data(on-device data) back unless you remember the passcode and enter the correct passcode before the ultimate lockout. After a reset and wipe of all data, you can restore all backup data from the previous backups. Till now, there is no way to retain the existing data on the phone.

When you have regular backups, you can recover everything from your iTunes backups, iCloud backups, other cloud backups, or third-party software backups on your iPhone or iPad.

The solutions below also work with the newly updated sayings “iPhone Unavailable”.

iPhone is Disabled, How to Unlock iPhone without Losing Data?

Steps Quick Overview:

Step 1: Figure out if your iPhone or iPad is Disabled permanently.

Step 2: Check if you have ever backed up your iPhone or iPad.

Step 3: Unlock Your Disabled iPhone or iPad with SD iPhone Unlocker(without iTunes).

Step 4. Restore and Recover your iPhone or iPad Data from Backups.

An alternative Way to Restore Disabled or Unavailable iPhone or iPad with iTunes

Step 1: Figure out if your iPhone is Disabled lockout permanently.

When you have too many failed passcode attempts, the iPhone/iPad will show the escalating longer waiting time for the next try.

If the screen shows no timer, your iPhone is disabled completely.

On iOS 16 or later, you will get the “try again in 1 minute” message since the 4th failed passcode attempt, then the 5th for 5 minutes, the 6th for 15 minutes, the 7th for 1 hour, the 8th for 3 hours, the 9th for 8 hours, and the 10th failed passcode attempts, iPhone should say “Security Lockout” with no timer.

Although the iOS software updates the waiting time to a longer timer, the total 10-time tries limit is not changed.

Step 2: Check if you have ever backed up your iPhone/iPad.

Option 1: Check if you have ever backed your iPhone via iTunes before.

There are many options to back up your iPhone data. iTunes or Finder can help you back up your iDevice when you set it properly. If you have done that before, you won’t lose your data after a factory reset to enable it.

You can refer to Apple’s guide to find your backup files if you can’t remember if there are any backups. Please Refer to locate your iPhone backups.

Option 2. Find out if you’ve backed up your iPhone/iPad data on iCloud.

Meanwhile, your data won’t be lost completely if you’ve backed your iPhone via iCloud. Go to to confirm the backup history of your iPhone.

If you have turned on your iCloud backup both on your iPhone and iPad, your data is synced on the devices with the same Apple ID, and the data is also stored on If either one of them is locked on your iDevice, the other one is equipped with another copy of your data.

Option 3. Check if you’ve backed up your iPhone/iPad with other cloud services or third-party software, or hard disk.

Many people like to store their iPhone data on cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive. Here we also recommend you to back up and restore iPhone data regularly using the third-party software-SD iPhone data recovery, which is easy and straight.

Step 3: Unlock Your Locked iPhone/iPad with SD iPhone Unlocker(without iTunes).

To use the SD iPhone Passcode Unlocker, you need to download and install it on your computer. Without exception, the app will reset it completely and wipe all data.

Launch the app and connect your disabled iPhone or iPad to the computer.

Head to Wipe Passcode.

Connect your iPhone to your computer. Check the app screen to see if you need to put your iPhone or iPad in Recovery Mode following the onscreen directions. If you see the “Device connected but not recognized” option, hit it to get the recovery mode pressing methods.

Click Download to begin the firmware downloading process.

Wait for the firmware to download completely.

When the firmware is downloaded successfully. Click Unlock. Key “0000” to confirm.

Video Tutorial:

Step 4. Restore and recover your disabled or unavailable iPhone/iPad data from backups.

Option 1. Set up your iPhone or iPad again via the Restore option.

When you have backups on iCloud or iTunes backup, set up your iPhone again and choose to restore from iTunes backup, or Restore from iCloud backup during the setup process on the Apps & Data screen.

Restore from icloud backup to set up a new ipadOption 2. Recover your iPhone/iPad data via SD iPhone data recovery.

SD iPhone data recovery is easy to use the app to recover data from your iPhone or iTunes and iCloud backup. When the iPhone is disabled, you can also apply it to recover your data from iTunes and iCloud. Here we take “Recover from iTunes backup” for example.

Download and install it on your computer.

1. Launch SD iPhone data recovery, Choose iPhone Data Recovery. And then head to “Recover from iTunes backup file”.

recover from itunes backup file

2. Choose one backup file from the right of the window.

recover from itunes backup -select3. This software will detect your iTunes backup file automatically and list them on the window. Pick the backup file you want, and enter the passcode if you have encrypted the iTunes backup to proceed. Wait for the app to scan the backup.

scan results to recover4. When the app completes scanning the files, select the file types that you are aiming to recover, such as contacts, messages, photos, call history, voice memos, notes, and more.

5. Click Recover.

If you pick Recover from iCloud backup file, the steps are a little different. Head to Recover from iCloud backup file on the start page. Then enter your iCloud credentials and select a backup. Then the software will start scanning your iCloud backup file. Afterward, when it is finished, choose several file types or select all to recover. You’re done.

The Alternative Way of Step 4:Restore Disabled or Unavailable/Security Lockout iPhone/iPad with iTunes.

Note that if you use this method to unlock your disabled device, you should have Find My turned off on your device before the lockout. The iTunes app will restore your iPhone/iPad, erasing everything on your iPhone/iPad. Later you can restore one of your most recent backups and recover your data without losing anything. If there is not any recent backup, you may lose the data between the date of your last backup to the disabled date. A user with regular backup habits, probably won’t lose data.

1. Launch iTunes on your Mac or PC, and connect your iPhone/iPad to your computer via a USB cable.

2. Put your iPhone or iPad into Recovery Mode (via pressing buttons). Do as the recovery mode button operation guide to accomplish it.

3. When iTunes prompted a message “There is a problem with the iPhone/iPad that requires to be updated or Restored.” Choose Restore. Then confirm Restore and update. Done. Then iTunes will download the latest iOS software for your iPhone or iPad. Wait for it.

restore disabled iPhone/iPad with iTunes
restore disabled iPhone/iPad with iTunes

4. When iTunes asks you to enter your Apple ID credentials to pass the activation lock. Please do it.

5. On the Welcome to your New iPhone/iPad Page, Choose Restore from this Backup and enter your encrypted password if needed.

6. Re-setup your iPhone when restore is completed.

Questions & Answers:

Q1: Is there any free way to fix “iPhone is disabled”, “iPhone Unavailable” and “Security Lockout” without losing data?

Yes. Absolutely is. Don’t forget to use iTunes or Finder(Mac Catalina or later) on your computer, or use iCloud Backup to retrieve data after unlocking and restoring it to factory settings. With third-party software SD iPhone Data Recovery, you can selectively restore your iTunes or iCloud backups without losing your essential data.

How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages from iCloud Backup.

Q2: What caused the iPhone/iPad to be Disabled, unavailable, or security lockout?

As we show in the above table, the iPhone is disabled for too many incorrect passcode attempts. This situation can be the result of your actions or the behavior of other people who have physical access to your iPhone. If you do not take care of your iPhone it may be accessed by your children and then locked unexpectedly. Or if you forgot your passcode, it will lead to the result that the iPhone is disabled. Move to this article on what to do if you forgot your passcode on the iPhone.

Q3: Can I access the photos when the iPhone is disabled?

No, you can’t. You are locked out of your iPhone and all your contents, such as contacts, and photos are unreachable.

Q4: Device is disabled lockout without any previous backup, how to save the data?

Unfortunately, you will lose all content on your device if your iPhone or iPad is disabled without one backup. There is seldom any tool to save the disabled iPhone data without backup. This is mainly because you need to unlock your iDevice to use it as the USB accessory of a computer. Or else, the computer won’t recognize your iPhone or iPad via data cable. A factory reset must be performed to re-enable the iPhone by erasing everything.

Q5: Which is the best software to back up the iPhone to avoid data loss

Use SD iPhone data recovery. Move to this article about How to back up your iPhone iPad with or without iTunes.

You May Also Want to Read:

Amanda Lee

I am the chief editor of I have been engaged in software and computer gadgets fields for over 10 years, offering proven guides, tips, and software solutions in data recovery, and multimedia field.

This Post Has 8 Comments

    1. Hi,Julia,when your iPhone is Disabled, you have to restore it to factory settings (wiping all data) to undisable it, and then restore from any of the backups without losing data if you have one. It is a bit convoluted. Backing up regularly is a good habit to avoid data loss.

  1. There must be some way including something unofficial to get back your data without any sort of back up, remember everything is on the phone its only blocked

  2. Is it possible to save your data when you need to restore your disabled iphone? I have contacts and pictures which I don’t want to lose. If I have to lose them, i might as well get a new iphone!

    1. Hi Pauline, If you never backed up your iPhone before you forgot your passcode(your iPhone is disabled), you won’t be able to save the data(including contacts and pictures) on your iPhone. Have you backed up your iPhone with iCloud or with Finder or iTunes on your computer? If you have a recent backup, usually the backup includes the contacts and more, or if you have turned on the photos on the iCloud page of your iPhone, they will be there. You can unlock your disabled iPhone to factory settings and then restore from the latest backup. Although someone claimed that they could back up a disabled iPhone with iTunes, it never reappeared through our tests. iTunes won’t back up a disabled iPhone. FYI.

      1. I didnt have icloud back up for my photos witch contain all my kids memories and more i m about to die , i m crying all the day please help

  3. I have iphone 7 and is being disabled but i didn’t take a backup of the data on my phone i have all important pictures and other data which i dont want to lose please help me please please

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