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iPhone Unavailable vs. iPhone is Disabled: What are the Similarities and Differences

iPhone Unavailable and iPhone is disabled, their similarities and differences. And why it matters.

Do you want to know what "iPhone Unavailable" means? Is it the same thing as "iPhone is disabled"?

iPhone unavailable and the iPhone is disabled are similar things but not the same thing. It’s essential for you to know these important things about how they differ and share the same features before solving the problems.

iPhone is disabled and iPhone Unavailable are two similar iPhone inner lockout functionality. The most obvious difference between the two is that iPhone Unavailable emerged on relatively recent iOS software, iOS 15 or later including iOS 16. On the other hand, the iPhone is disabled feature appeared on software versions prior to iOS 15.

The Similarities.


iPhone Unavailable and iPhone is disabled have similar meanings; they indicate that you cannot access your iPhone at the moment. In other words, even if you are the owner of the iPhone, once you see either the "iPhone is disabled" or "iPhone Unavailable" screen, your device is not available for use due to Apple's security lockout.

In short, if your iPhone displays the message "iPhone is disabled" or "iPhone Unavailable", you are locked out of your device. Additionally, the screen may show a timer or no timer depending on the situation.

In both cases, the user must enter the correct passcode to regain access to their device. If the user enters too many incorrect passcodes, the device may become permanently locked and require a complete restore.

Read More about what iPhone Unavailable means on iOS 16: What Does iPhone Unavailable Mean.

iPhone Unavailable and iPhone is disabled, both caused by many failed passcode attempts.

When a user enters too many incorrect passcodes, Apple's iPhone activates its internal security measures to lock the user out of the device. The more incorrect attempts are made, the longer the user will have to wait until they can try again.

The same limit times to try the passcode: 10 times before the final lockout.

10 times in total to try to unlock the screen. That is to say, you should never see the interface that asks you for entering the passcode after 10 wrong passcode tries again.

iPhone is disabled and iPhone unavailable both show you no timer on the ultimate lockout screen.

Learn more about What Happens After 10 Failed Passcode Attempts on iPhone.

In the below parts, we mainly talk about the differences between the two and the solutions.  There's an important thing to know that iPhone is disabled screen can turn into iPhone unavailable error.

Transformational Relation: "iPhone is disabled" turns to "iPhone Unavailable" after an update to iOS 15 or later.

In the beginning, we mentioned that the iPhone unavailable appears on iOS 15 or later. Thus, when you saw the iPhone is the disabled screen before, you should see the iPhone unavailable when entering the wrong passcode instead if you update your iPhone to iOS 15 or later.

iPhone Unavailable functionality replaced iPhone is disabled functionality after iOS 15.

iPhone is Disabled went to iPhone Unavailable with iOS software update.

It's a fact that the iPhone went from "iPhone is disabled" to "iPhone unavailable" screen along with the users updating the iOS software.

When iPhone went from disabled to unavailable, do you know that it became better to deal with or worse to fix? We'll tell you that through many tests by us, the "iPhone unavailable" is in a more complicated stage. That is to say, it's relatively harder to fix the iPhone unavailable that to fix the iPhone is disabled in most situations.

Related: iPhone Went from Disabled to Unavailable How to Fix It

iPhone unavailable Vs. iPhone is disabled. The Differences.

They come with different message content patterns.

iPhone Unavailable message groups, before iOS 16.

  • iPhone Unavailable/Security Lockout, try again in 1 minute. – 5 failed passcode attempts.
  • iPhone Unavailable/Security Lockout, try again in 5 minutes. – 7 failed passcode attempts.
  • iPhone Unavailable/Security Lockout, try again in 15 minutes. – 8 failed passcode attempts.
  • iPhone Unavailable/Security Lockout, try again in 1 hour. – 9 failed passcode attempts.
  • iPhone Unavailable/Security Lockout. – 10 failed passcode attempts.

iPhone Unavailable message groups, iOS 16 or later.

iPhone is disabled message groups:

  • iPhone is disabled, try again in 1 minute. – 5 failed passcode attempts.
  • iPhone is disabled, try again in 5 minutes. – 7 failed passcode attempts.
  • iPhone is disabled, try again in 15 minutes. – 8 failed passcode attempts.
  • iPhone is disabled, try again in 1 hour. – 9 failed passcode attempts.
  • iPhone is disabled, connect to iTunes. – 10 failed passcode attempts.

Important! Read before you solve the iPhone unavailable or iPhone is disabled error.

Specifically, if you remember your passcode, just enter the correct passcode after waiting for the timer to be up, your iPhone should work fine and all data is intact.

When you forgot the passcode and your iPhone is disabled or iPhone Unavailable.

  • iPhone is disabled and iPhone Unavailable with a forgotten passcode both need a factory reset to deal with.
  • Your data on the device should be wiped.
  • You can restore your backup data after resetting it if there are any. Or else, you will lose everything on the device.
  • Don't upgrade the iPhone is disabled issue to the iPhone Unavailable error. Rather, you should know that the latter is knottier to fix.

Why the newer "iPhone Unavailable" is harder to fix than the older "iPhone is disabled" issue?

Don't update your iOS software to fix the "iPhone is disabled" issue, you should restore it firmly. Your iPhone is disabled screen should go to the iPhone Unavailable if you update it with a forgotten passcode.

Because iPhone Unavailable is new. Solving it requires the latest software support.

If your iPhone shows iPhone is disabled, the problems are not new. You may don't necessarily need to update your computer, Finder, iTunes, or third-party software to deal with the issue.

While iPhone Unavailable problem emerged on relatively newer iOS software, with tighter security measures, it's supremely important for you to update the related tools on your computer to fix it.

iPhone Unavailable comes with Apple's new Erase option on the Device.

When your iPhone is disabled, you finally got the message "iPhone is disabled connect to iTunes". While you may fix iPhone unavailable with Apple's new functionality – the Erase iPhone option on the device screen.

It's a significant difference.

However, people need several prerequisites to have the Erase iPhone feature. Read our tutorial if you have no erase iPhone option when iPhone is unavailable.

How to Erase Unavailable iPhone with the Erase iPhone Option

iPhone Unavailable No Erase Option.

Solutions for iPhone is Disabled or iPhone Unavailable and Comparisons.

We've composed a detailed guide on how to fix an unavailable iPhone, please check: How to Fix iPhone Unavailable Lock Screen.

And if your iPhone shows iPhone is disabled, follow this tutorial: How to Fix iPhone is Disabled.

Computer solutions and comparisons.

To let your computer detect the locked-out disabled or Unavailable iPhone, you should learn the basic manual operation skills to put it in Recovery Mode.

Recovery Mode.

Recovery Mode comes with an URL address on the top:, and the connecting to iTunes graphic in the middle of the screen.  Recovery mode is an important status of the iPhone for repairing it.


If your Mac is running macOS Catalina or later, you can reset it to factory default by the Restore option on Finder.


If you have a PC or Mac running before macOS Catalina, you can open iTunes to deal with it.

Third-Party Software.

SD iPhone Passcode Unlocker is perfectly capable of dealing with iPhone Unavailable or iPhone is disabled problems. It both has a PC and a Mac version.

SD iOS Screen Unlocker is also proven by us to be a great tool to unlock a disabled or unavailable iPhone.

You can choose either one of them to wipe your locked iPhone to factory settings.

For without computer solutions.

Even if you can fix the iPhone is disabled or iPhone unavailable problem without a computer by the Erase option or erase it on iCloud Find My feature, you should meet the strict prerequisites.

Erase Option.


Your iPhone should be on iOS 15.2 or later.

Your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi or Cellular before the lockout.

You need your Apple ID and password that signed into your iPhone before the lockout.



You enabled Find My iPhone before the lockout.

Your device is connected to Wi-Fi or Cellular.

You know your Apple ID and password.

You can bypass the two-factor authentication if you enabled it.

Comparison between solutions with computers or not.

Our expert experiences show that the solutions with a computer mostly have a higher success rate than those without computers. While many people may not have access to a computer to fix a disabled or unavailable iPhone, there are still many who lack the prerequisites to address these issues without a computer.

That is to say, you'd better get or borrow a computer to fix the iPhone is disabled or iPhone unavailable issue. I'd also argue that you can try the solutions without a computer first. If failed, you should be determined to use a reset solution with a computer.

If failed, fix it with a computer firmly. You don’t necessarily need to buy a new computer, unlock it with your family or friends' computer if possible. Or you can go to the local Apple Store to unlock it.

Related Tutorial:

How to Fix Unavailable iPhone Without a Computer.

Don't restart your iPhone when it's disabled or unavailable.

A restart or force restart won't help to fix these problems. What's more, on some occasions, it makes things worse. For some devices, if there is no SIM card in it when you turn off the lockout device and then turn it on, it should lose the Wi-Fi connection after a restart. Worse for a fix, then you can't use the solutions without a computer, neither Erase option nor reset it online via iCloud.

Avoid iPhone is disabled or iPhone unavailable in future.

It's important to know how to avoid iPhone is disabled or iPhone unavailable errors in the future. In addition to the potential loss of data, both issues can cost you time and money to restore your iPhone to its normal status.

The key point is to manage and remember your password, especially when you have multiple handsets. You can manage your passwords with your pen and paper, or store the passwords on your computer or documents, email or software.

Other than passwords, keep your device safe when you go out. Avoid touching the screen inadvertently. Keep the iPhone out of the reach of toddlers when you are at home.

Indeed, there are also some unforeseen circumstances that lock the iPhone, such as iPhone unavailable after an update or restore. Do always back up your data regularly if you value your precious data on the iPhone.

Most people can fix the iPhone is disabled or iPhone unavailable problems following the right way, but there are also a few people has knotty problems or weird new problems that make them frustrated.

It's really annoying for non-tech savvy people to fix the trouble. Even some people have to take it to the repair shop for a fix.

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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.

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